Out With The Old

Haven’t been sleeping great… a couple hours here, a couple hours there, but I did manage to wake up at a normal time today and get some of my errands done. Not sure if my attorney will be calling tomorrow or not, but at least all of that stuff is in motion and more work will be done on it soon. Was gonna stop in and see Dad on my way home, but it was a little too warm today for a visit outside, so hopefully we’ll find a cooler, nicer day sometime this week. I’m actually looking forward to when we can take a ride up to Millersport to check out all the old haunts. But yeah, over 90 degrees is not anyone’s idea of a good time for sittin’ out talking.

So I headed home and decided to go ahead and start the process of setting up my new phone. I got a normal iPhone 11… the new SE is just too small, plus I wanted to get something decent at a decent price instead of being tempted by the iPhone 12 Pro Max with it’s LIDAR camera setup. ๐Ÿ˜ฏ๐Ÿ˜ƒ Want? Yes. Need? No. ๐Ÿ˜ I barely leave the house these days, let alone do anything that resembles photography, so no sense in blowing money on a fancy camera phone that I’d probably only use to scan dumb shit around my house. ๐Ÿ™„๐Ÿ˜’

But I think I’m gonna be happy with this phone. It’s basically like my old one, just with a bigger screen, better dual cameras, faster everything… and even though I could have just had the battery replaced on my old one, they’re only gonna update iOS on those old models for so long. With this one I’ll be set for another four years or so. The more that I think about it, I actually did pretty good in keeping the old one as long as I did. ๐Ÿ™‚

But that’s when the afternoon turned tedious. The race got rained out… or at least it got rained on for long enough that I forgot to even check back in to see if they got going… but part of that was because I was dealing with customer support from Boost for the better part of two hours. ๐Ÿ˜ฃ The phones themselvesthey knew what was up… the new phone asked for the old phone to be placed next to it, then the old phone started sending over all my apps and data – so the new phone looks almost exactly the same as the old one. That process went fine… but the new phone still wasn’t working as a phone.

I tried to use the portal on their site to “swap phones” as they put it… and, at least on the dashboard, it looked like it worked. Had the exact model number, serial number, etc… even a picture of the phone… but calls no longer worked on either phone. ๐Ÿ˜’ After chatting with three different support techs, the last one finally realized that the previous two were entering the wrong sim card information into the system… something that he handled in about three minutes. ๐Ÿ™„๐Ÿ˜‘ You know how you get when something is supposed to just work, but then you spend hours effing with it? Yeah… it was one of those evenings.

But it’s all good now. There’s still gonna be lots of little “this and that” that I’ll need to do to make it just like the old phone, but it’s more the fun type of fiddling. I’ve already got all 1600+ of my “liked” songs on Spotify downloaded for offline play, and tomorrow I’ll get to carefully attempt to put the tempered glass screen protector on and get it seated in its case so I don’t feel like I’m gonna snap it in half every time I handle it. ๐Ÿ˜ Meh… I’m just rambling now since it got me all wound up… I’m happy. New phone, new stuff to play with, so I’ve got nothing to complain about. Just wish I felt even a little bit sleepy… ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ

Oh, and I’m finally catching up with Dad… heh… he’s been using online ordering for a couple months now when it comes to grocery shopping. And tonight I finally finished setting up my own account so I can avoid all the dirty asses in the grocery store as well. ๐Ÿ˜… Will probably place my first order tomorrow. ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป

Get A Hobby

Bad dreams ended up waking me last night around 3am, and I’ve been up ever since. Kinda doesn’t matter what sleep schedule I keep these days, given that I’m not going anywhere and I didn’t even realize what day it was today. Not meaning April Fools Day, just meaning that I didn’t realize it was Wednesday. ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿ˜ Point being, anxiety filled sleep, waking up early… it didn’t lead to much of a day for me. I did text with Dad and Genesee a bit, and she got me thinking about playing the keyboard again. ๐Ÿค”๐ŸŽน๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ

I forget what she said, but it reminded me that thanks to the YouTube Music app searching my own videos for music to add… I ran across this old video of me playing Don’t Wake Me by Skillet. ๐Ÿ˜Ž And when I did, I realized that if you put that keyboard in front of me now I’d have no idea how to play it. Elton John made a comment on his Melbourne Symphony album, that he was playing some songs that were so old that he had to re-learn them as well for that concert. ๐Ÿ™‚ So that’s one thing I’m gonna try to make time for… “keyboard dickin’ around time” every now and then.

And then thanks to NASCAR and iRacing running these virtual races on the weekend… and apparently a dirt track / winged-car race tonight… that’s got my mind back on video games. ๐Ÿค“๐ŸŽฎ๐Ÿ“บ I’ve got an XBOX One and a Playstation 4, yet it’s probably been at least six months since I’ve even turned either of them on. ๐Ÿ˜• Once I got into a funk a while back, my brain just never seemed interested in reminding me that I’ve got kewl shit that I could play. So I’m gonna go through my games tonight and figure out which system I’ve got the best racing games for, and I’ll probably try to re-familiarize myself with all that. ๐Ÿค” I used to be good. Years ago I was really layin’ ’em down at the road courses, or at least it felt that way. (Wow, that was from 2013…)

I don’t wanna get ahead of myself, since I’ve already got a couple options there, but I’m probably gonna play around with time-lapse and long-exposure phone photography like I usually do each spring… plus I’ve got a couple new photogrammetry apps for creating 3D models from a series of regular digital photos, so that might keep my attention as well. Meh… we’ll see, I guess.

Don’t mind me… just doing a little more “talking out loud” to hopefully burn these ideas into my brain a little more effectively. ๐Ÿคฏ It’s not like I’m making valuable use of my time otherwise, so I might as well be doing something that I used to consider fun, eh? ๐Ÿ˜ All this time stuck in the house might help me figure out where “old me” went. ๐Ÿ™‚๐Ÿคž๐Ÿป

Phones: Everything’s Easier

Speaking of the holidays… over the past couple of days I’ve been trying to get my phone loaded up with all of our familiar family Christmas songs. Most of them are everyone else’s family songs as well, sung by old favorites, and those are pretty easily found on Spotify. ๐Ÿ˜‹๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽถ So I just pick the ones that I want and add them to a playlist. The good cheezy 70s sounding ones though, the ones on obscure albums or even records that Firestone and Goodyear would give away each year… those are a bit more difficult to come by.

Terry Baxter and His Orchestra… I had to go on Amazon a few years ago and buy one particular album in MP3 format, which I now have to actually copy over to my phone – rather than just streaming them like the others on Spotify. And it’s funny, there are a few albums that were released under that artist’s name – but upon googling to find out what he looked like, or just more about him in general… it turns out that it was likely just a name that the record company put on albums of similar sound, when they were really just performed by a house band or even different folks. ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ

(In the upper right corner of this video you can select from 42 songs in the playlist for this album.)

Doesn’t make any difference to me… but still, that’s an interesting thing to find out about 40 years later. But now I’ve got all the happy ones, some sad ones, 8-bit / chiptune Christmas covers, and even a few from the South Park / Mr Hankey Christmas episode ready to go. ๐Ÿ˜‹ I’m doing all this now, while I’m in a decent mood, because I wanna try a little harder this year to not let the whole season just blow by me. For various reasons over the past several years, the “holiday mood” has been harder to come by – but being able to play these songs as I fart around the house or drive in town for food or whatever… it’ll help.

I still need to find a good version of “Christmas Chimes are Calling” from one of my favorite specials:

Now I have to look in the basement at some point and see if I still have a tree. ๐Ÿค”๐Ÿง

The “Subjectively Positive” One

This is gonna be another really long one… it’s more fun for me this way. ๐Ÿ˜ Settle in and enjoy.

Now, this is something that’s almost impossible to explain to someone who doesn’t or hasn’t experienced severe social anxiety. ๐Ÿค” But last Saturday, after spending about a week and a half without even leaving my house, while trying (and failing) to adjust to a new medication, and still tending to my gimpy knee… I had to go to a concert in Columbus. ๐Ÿ˜ At the Schottenstein Center, which holds about 18,000 people. 18,000 loud, screaming, drinking, super enthusiastic, having an awesome time, concert-goin’ people. ๐Ÿ˜ย (God bless ’em… heh) Oh, and we had “Meet and Greet” VIP passes for Debbie Gibson and Tiffany after the show.

The story begins last year, when my friend Jim got us tickets to see Phil Collins at Nationwide Arena. I had seen Genesis before, but never Phil on his own… so it was a bucket list thing. We had a great time, so in the fall of last year when “The Mixtape Tour” tickets came available – I went ahead and got our tickets, sort of as a birthday gift / way to pay back his generosity re: the Phil Collins tickets.

Flash forward to last Saturday… and it took every ounce of oomph that I had to make myself get up, get ready, and go to the venue to meet Jim. ๐Ÿฅบ My anxiety was so bad that up until the minute I was finally able to make myself get in the car, I wasn’t even sure I was gonna be able to do it. ๐Ÿ˜ฌ But I had already cancelled on Jim on a few other things, and I would feel like a giant shit if I bailed on him again, and he ended up just going by himself. So I honestly went more because of Jim, rather than a desire to actually go. Well, no… that isn’t entirely accurate… because I absolutely wanted to go… heh… like I said, it’s hard to explain how anxiety can overrule anything that you think you might want or be able to do. ๐Ÿ™„๐Ÿคฆ๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ

Heh… I’m realizing that this isn’t gonna sound like a positive experience, so let me go ahead and interject here to say that I did have a good time while I was there, and was glad that I went. ๐Ÿ™‚ It was the getting there and getting home that were the biggest hurdles for my uncooperative brain. And of course there had to be construction all along the freeway on the way there, which is always fun – anxiety or not. And then when I got there, because I left so late, I ended up having to walk… *consulting google maps* … I had to walk “Total distance:ย 2,885.24 ftย (879.42 m)from the parking lot to the venue. ๐Ÿ˜ง But I had my cane, I took my time, and didn’t die too much. ๐Ÿ˜ In fact, not only did it help me to unwind from the traffic, but it continued my DIY physical therapy that I’m trying – to avoid the costly, painful, inconvenient, time consuming, real thing.

The thing that probably saved the night for me, once we found our way to our seats, was that we were at the absolute top of the seats. Literally everyone in front of us, with the backs of our chairs being against the wall. ๐Ÿ˜Š Plus the seat next to me was empty. ๐Ÿ˜ I can’t stress enough how much of a difference it makes to be “outside” of the humans rather than surrounded by a sea of them in every direction. So for the duration of the actual show, I was golden. ๐Ÿ™‚ Me and Jim, catching up on shit, no assholes around to be a nuisance, a decent view of everything due to the big LED screens, despite being in the very definition of “the nosebleed seats” for the concert… and it was awesome. I was glad that I “made” myself go.

Then the show ended. ๐Ÿ˜ณ At which point we had to navigate through the herd of exiting humans, trying to figure out where we had to be to do the Meet and Greet part of our experience. ๐Ÿ˜ฌ Buttloads of people, slight confusion of where to go, the prospect of meeting a couple of celebrity singers… so, again, I found myself *this close* to just walking out one of the nearby doors and just waiting for Jim to go and do that part on his own. But he said the right things I needed to hear, I took a few woosah moments, and once a lot of the people were gone we found our way to what was essentially the basement under all of the seating. ๐Ÿ˜ฏ

Sorry, I’ll try to tighten this up a bit. ๐Ÿ˜ There were different M&G packages, some with just Debbie, some with just Tiffany, some with both – so thankfully, even though they had us all crammed into a relatively small waiting space, we got to do our thing pretty quickly since we had the dual package. Got a hug from Tiffany, they both autographed my lanyard, and while there was a little confusion with the official person taking the photos – it gave me some time to actually talk with Debbie while we had a short wait.

She asked if I had a good time and I told her “Oh, absolutely…” with a smile, but since other people were distracted I was able to lean over to her and kinda quietly say “… but man is my social anxiety kickin’ right about now.” Heh… probably a little weird, but it would have been awkward just standing there silently as we waited for the photographer to get ready. ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ But she just smiled back at me and said she actually knows what I mean, and that before each show she usually stays in her dressing room with her piano and just plays some random jazz or classical to help her get rid of herย pre-show anxiety. ๐Ÿ™‚ And that was a comforting thing to hear… since rather than her thinking I was a weirdo, she could actually relate. Then we got the pic, I got a hug from her as well, and that was that.

Well, that was it for me I mean. ๐Ÿ˜ Jim still had to get his picture with them… but keep in mind, Jim wasn’t Jim for the night… he went as Squirtman. ๐Ÿ˜ณ๐Ÿ˜„ The orange body suit, the cape, the Squirtman puppet, flashing LED glasses, the cowboy hat… heh… the whole deal. That was actually another good thing throughout the night – because when you’re next to Squirtman, you’re essentially invisible – which was perfect. ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป

He got there an hour before the doors even opened, so he was parked right in the first lot and was able to give me a ride out to my car – since all of the walking and stairs and such did finally take its toll on me. ๐Ÿ˜•ย I did have the typical “I need to be home”ย voice repeating in my head as I was driving, but the goody feeling from the concert buzz made the long drive home much more bearable than some drives I’ve made in the past. ๐Ÿ™‚

So yeah… yay me. ๐Ÿ˜Š I did a thing. ๐Ÿ˜

If you remember any of these bands or singers and wanna check out some clips, here ya go:

Alrighty, that’s about it. Congrats if you made it through all of my (hopefully) descriptive weirdo rambling. ๐Ÿ˜‰

By The Numbers? Not So Quick…

I can’t remember the last movie that I saw in a theater. ๐Ÿค” I mean, I still haven’t even seen Avengers Endgame… even though a bunch of us had a plan to basically reserve an entire rowย of our own for that movie, but then Bri had to go and delivery a baby… ๐Ÿ˜ย I guess that’s a sufficient excuse.

So I’ll be anxiously awaiting for Rocketman to come to Redbox or available through Video-on-Demand or whatever. It’s not fair though… Mom has loved Elton forever. Like, really… for as long as he’s been Elton, Mom has loved him and his music – and of course by musical osmosis during by baby / toddler / kid / teen years, he became one of my favorite artists as well. ๐Ÿ™‚ But man, what I would give for me and Mom and Dad to all be able to go and watch this movie together on one of the big, loud screens. ๐Ÿฅบ

To be honest, it’s still difficult to listen to any of his songs when they pop up at random while I’m driving. Some days it makes me feel good and smile, but most days it’s just too much and I skip to whatever song gets served up next… heh… which is sometimes another Elton song. ๐Ÿ™„๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿ˜ But this guy’s review… I almost always agree with the things he says about movies that I have seen, so to hear him give such a glowing review makes me feel that if it’s that good for the “normal” folks, then it’ll probably be something special for those of us who’ve had him as part of the soundtrack of our lives for the better part of five decades. ๐Ÿ˜Š

Phil Collins: Not Dead Yet

Last night was concert night in Columbus, seeing Phil Collins with my friends Jim and Adam at Nationwide Arena.ย ๐Ÿ˜Š I was already nervous the day before, thinking of the handful of things that could make my day difficult, and despite doing my best to screw it up from the start – waking up at 4am and not being able to fall back to sleep – everything ended up alright and the show was great.

For anyone that’s a fan, it’s common knowledge that Phil is pretty gimped up from a failed back surgery and a “fucked foot” as he put it, so I really wasn’t sure what to expect.ย ๐Ÿ˜ณ But despite remaining seated for almost all of the performance, he seemed to get along reasonably well with a cane, so it didn’t feel as… um… I guess I was just worried that it would feel a little “Wheel the old man out and make him sing.” but that wasn’t the case at all.ย ๐ŸŽค๐Ÿ‘ดย It was a relatively long show too, playing his stuff and some Genesis songs, and he seemed to be enjoying it all. (And another “bucket list” concert checked off for me.)

Since he’s unable to play the drums, his son Nic filled in for him.ย ๐Ÿฅ๐Ÿ˜Ž The kid is pretty amazing… he’s 17 now, he was 16 when the tour started in the UK, which means he was probably learning and perfecting all of his dad’s songs by the time he was 14 years old… knowing that he’d eventually be going on a huge tour like this.ย ๐Ÿ˜ฏย (Oh, and he plays piano too ๐Ÿ™„) It was all the way back in May of 1992 that I saw Genesisย in The Shoe at OSUย (26 years ago… holy shitballs)ย but I never thought that I’d get to see him perform his own songs solo, since he swore quite a while ago that he’d never tour again.

Jim’s an awesome friend, surprising me and Adam both by getting us all tickets.ย ๐Ÿ˜ƒย (Five years ago this month we were in Kansas thanks to him as well) And like I told him, I have enough “concerns” about myself that I wouldn’t have even thought about buying a ticket for myself if he hadn’t. The neck and shoulder pain, the thyroid stuff, the random back stuff, the anxiety that comes in times and ways of its own choosing… I don’t think I would have trusted myself to be able to go – but when a friend makes not going not an option, you just put your head down and keep moving forward.

Oh, there were moments that I still wasn’t sure… even up until the point that I was standing in line, waiting to get in…ย ๐Ÿ˜ณ๐Ÿ˜ฌ๐Ÿ‘ซ๐Ÿ‘ฌ๐Ÿ‘ซ๐Ÿ‘ญ๐Ÿ‘ซ๐Ÿ‘ซ๐Ÿ‘ฌ๐Ÿ‘ซ๐Ÿ‘ญย … but I’m absolutely glad that I went.

I’ve been a mess since getting home last night around midnight though.ย ๐Ÿ˜• The “post-concert buzz” ended up keeping me awake until about 5am, and man did I hurt.ย ๐Ÿ˜ฃ๐Ÿ˜ข It’s mostly better now, but between the cold, the sitting, the standing, the singing, the recording of video, the crowds, the traffic… as usual, my body and brain eventually weren’t having any of that nonsense, and they let me know as soon as the show ended.ย ๐Ÿ˜Ÿ I think Jim and Adam could see it in me once the lights came up, so we all sat for a bit and let the crowd clear. After we left the arena they walked along at my pace until we parted ways at the parking garage. Luckily Jim gets me though, so he knows that all of that “beat-up old man” stuff doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t do it all over again.ย ๐Ÿ™‚

Saranghae, Naleul Tteonaji Mala

Cassi is starting to become a fan of South Korean pop music, of all things… heh… and every now and then she’ll suggest a song or video that she thinks I should check out, to see if she can get me to share in some of her excitement. ๐Ÿ˜ Normally it’s something okay but ultimately forgettable – but with this video and song, she found a winner. ๐Ÿ˜ƒ I can’t understand a damn word of what they’re saying… but thanks to the story of this video, and the 90s pop-rock sound, I love it.

I was confused during the first part of this video, so I’ll give you a hint as to what I think’s going on… ๐Ÿค”๐Ÿคจ He’s attending the funeral of a girl that he had gotten involved with about a week prior to her passing, and at some point during that time she had gotten him a watch. At the funeral, the watch causes him to jump back in time to a point right before they originally met. See what you think…

This band… and they are a band, unlike a lot of K-Pop groups… they cover nearly every genre that you can think of throughout their discography. Their lead singer has a voice that lets him handle anything he’d want to sing, from ballads, to pop songs, to actual rock/metal tunes. FTIsland doesn’t have a cult following since they don’t stick to a single genre, but I can respect a group much more when they play what they want to play, and because they can play any instruments in the first place. ๐Ÿ˜†๐Ÿค˜๐Ÿป

It’s nice to find new music that gives you the feels ๐Ÿ˜… even if it’s in a language you can’t understand. I like these guys, and I’ve added some of their tracks to my Spotify playlist, but it’s also encouraging me to try and find some new music like this in my native language. ๐Ÿ˜‹ Sure, I’ve got a couple thousand songs on my car’s USB drive, but there’s just something about experiencing new music…

Roberto’s Amigatized Tunes

That’s what I called my music back then… so that way when they were sold in “public domain” disk collections, they could be called “RAT” disks. I’m not sure how much they ended up spreading, but I know they ended up in at least three catalogs back then – when you still had to get things like this by ordering and receiving physical floppy disks in the mail. ๐Ÿ˜

The videos that I uploaded to YouTube yesterday show my original tracker songs being played by Modizer, an app for the iPhone. But if you view the videos full screen, you’ll still be able to see how the whole thing works. You’ll see which track is playing the drums, which one does the vocal, etc… and that’s what got me interested in creating music this way in the first place. ๐Ÿค“ When I can see how something works, I can almost always then use it for my own means.

Okay, so let’s pick my favorites from the songs I’ve done…

  • Keep Feelin’ Fascination – I’m probably biased towards this song because it was one of my favorite songs from the time back then. That and it’s fairly simple, so it didn’t require much extra work to get it to sound similar to the original song.
  • Pyro! – This was a song that I created for the guy who ran the Pyro! BBS in Canal Winchester. It uses samples from other songs, to go with the pyro theme, plus it was basically just a “jam” song where I sat and came up with a few different beats, a few stolen bits of songs that I recreated… I dunno… I guess I like that it allowed me four or five musical varieties in a single songs. No rules.
  • Howard the Duck – I’m one of the few dozen people who actually liked this movie back then, and still like it today. You might have read here in the blog a few entries ago about how I gave props to Lea Thompson (on Twitter) for her musical performance in that movie and she actually replied and thanked me.
  • Obsession – This is another track that I did because is was rather simple and easy to emulate, plus it was one of my mom’s favorite bands of the moment back then – Army of Lovers. A very visual band, but the music was still good as well.
  • Mu – This is another “jam” song, where I didn’t have an idea when I started, but just sat down and started banging things out and ripping off bits of other songs to throw into this amalgamation. Experimenting with songs like this was as much about learning the software and methods as it was about creating a song.
  • Man on The Corner – Since Phil Collins and Genesis were two of my favorite artists back then, of course I had to make some attempts at covering their music. I think I actually did four of their songs in total… and I think this is my favorite mostly because of the odd beats and percussion sounds. (See also: I Don’t Care Anymore)
  • Myself – This was a track that I did after I bought my own sampling device for the Amiga 500. I wish I could remember the name of it… but imagine, back then, being able to sample my own voice and then use it to create a song. It was almost unheard of… heh… but yeah, every sample you hear in this one was created with my mouf.
  • The Best is Yet to Come – Samantha Fox was another artist I loved back then (and still do) so I actually did covers of a few of her songs. This one was simple, but it had some harmonies and I hadn’t done any slow songs, so I gave it a shot. (See also: True Devotion)

You can click here if you wanna see the entire playlist of 21 songs that I uploaded. I probably have about ten more that I didn’t upload, as they were basically my earliest practice songs or almost exclusively looped samples. But yeah, working on these songs back then, it actually helped my ear become more trained to isolate individual instruments in every song that I hear to this day. To build a song you lay down the drums, then sit and listen to just the bass in the original, then just the melody, etc. You literally dissect the original and reassemble it via the program, unintentionally learning how to identify and recreate chords, “slide” bass notes up and down, etc. In one way it could seem like a pointless exercise, but I’m glad that I did it.

I’ve got a Windows 10 tracker program, which I think can have up to 64 tracks to use, and there have been times when I’ve thought about trying to build a few more songs… but man is it hard to jump back in to something that you haven’t done for decades, and having to learn a different program to do it on top of that. (Despite the basics still being quite similar to how it was done back in the day.) Never say never, I guess.