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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Arrangements of Todd Songs by Leslie G.

I recorded these songs over the course of several years. The earliest seems to be around 1991. I still have my Roland U-20 that I used and this week (July, 2014) I am using the same equipment to recreate the originals. My sequencer back then was a Yamaha QX-5 and I had an Alesis HR-16 drum machine.

I took a lot of care with the mixes through that equipment, which were all done on the devices themselves, including reverb, etc. There was no home version of Pro Tools back then! I did some guitar parts to a Fostex (I think) 8 track reel to reel recorder, which I sold a long time ago.

Last week I had to buy a replacement floppy disk drive ($10.00) just to get all the arrangements loaded back in from my Alesis DataDisk. And yes, I even powered up my Power Mac 9600.  (OS 9.2)

The songs from 1991:
  • Secret Society
  • Mated (incomplete)
  • Take it Home
  • Maybe I Could Change
  • Lost Horizon
  • If I Didn't Try

I never knew what I'd do with these arrangements, but they were a lot of fun to make and sing along with. One thing for sure: trying to recreate a song gives you a ton of appreciation for the craftsmanship, love, talent, genius behind these works. It's a full-time job. It's - pardon the expression - not something that you can just pull out of your ass.

This year, I tried to modernize the sounds using Pro Tools and Reason. I even have Ableton at the ready for "Smoke". However, my setup was not ready for this work: trying to get PT 10 / PT 11 to talk to Abelton and Reason is a total pain in the backside. Also, I was playing with a few new MIDI controllers, opening Max/MSP, etc. If only I had more time!

I did a tribute concert for Todd in 2013 with the amazing faculty in the department where I serve as chair. The individual tracks were recorded to disk. I am going to try to use Pro Tools to eliminate all vocals (maybe keeping backups). The tracks are:
  • International Feel
  • Never Never Land
  • Tic Tic Tic (It wears Off)
  • You Need your Head
  • Rock and Roll Pussy
  • Zen Archer
  • I don't Want to Tie you Down
  • Is it My name
  • Just One Victory
  • Another Life
  • Hello It's Me
  • Can We Still Be Friends
  • If I have to be alone
  • Lost Horizon
  • Only Human
  • Smoke
  • Love is the Answer
I'm trying my best to create tracks that you can sing along with. And it should probably be said that I'm not here to make money, just to share. Which brings me to...

Being really careful about protecting Todd/Utopia's music. I learned a lot in a short amount of time about karaoke, mechanical licenses, fair use, "public performance".  I bought a license for "Secret Society" for $16.00 ($15.00 processing fee, $1.00 for the song.)  But rather than do this for 22 tunes, I think it will be safer and smarter to just share these with the folks going to the retreat and not post them to SoundCloud. 

So there you have it. One day a song shows up in your NewsFeed, but there's a 23-year history to these tunes. Thought you might like to know!

Friday, June 06, 2014

Poop happens.

Kira is 2 years and 5 months old. She has been toilet training since last September, so about 10 months.

10. Months.

So far, she goes first thing in the morning. She doesn't bring home many soiled articles from school now, so we are feeling pretty good about her daytime toileting habits. She wears a pull up at night.

At home, we have one training potty upstairs but bought a second one (a "princess potty", complete with sounds that go off at random times and also when she pees) for downstairs so that we could get to her quickly if she started to have an accident.

Today's trip to Target was an experience, though.  So, if you're squeamish, you might want to return to Facebook and read about something a little more tame, like the couple that got struck by lightning and rescued by a passing cop. Sorry for the morbid humor, but some people actually get more grossed out by poop stories!

So here's what happened: Kira has a day off from school today, but Zachary doesn't. So I took the day off to stay home with her. We went to Target to get some new undies (ironically). Before we left, she used the toilet. ("Hurray!" said the 8-bit audio chip through the tiny speaker under the seat).

We had a wonderful time at Target, she behaved well and we finished our shopping. I should have come home then, but nooooooooo...

I decided to take her to Snooze for brunch. It was just me and my little girl, and she deserves pancakes. And so do I.  So we go to the restaurant.  As you know, Snooze is a popular hang, so we were on a 30 minute waiting list.

Lesson #1: Kira does not like public restrooms.
It's odd, but she has gone to public restrooms in the past with success. For some reason, the last couple of times we've gone out she refuses to sit on the toilet.  But I thought, "It's only been 90 minutes since her last trip to the potty. She'll be fine".  We went to the bathroom anyway but she refused to sit.  Maybe it's the loud toilets and super-loud hand dryer (Excellerator (sp?)). 

Finally, we get seats at the restaurant.

We ordered our pancakes and about 5 minutes later, she said, "Poop".

"Okay let's go", I said, sweeping her off of the padded bench seat. We got to the toilet and she refused to sit.  "DAT ONE,", she said, point at the Koala Care® pull-out table.

"Those are for babies who wear diapers," I said.

"DAT ONE!!!!" She insisted. So I put her up there and sure enough, she had a tiny poop stain in her undies.

"No problem", I assured her. I cleaned her up and we went back to our booth.  On the way back, we passed some booster chairs.  "Dat one?" she asked.  I sighed. "Sure, you can have a booster seat".  So I took her back to our table and put the booster on the padded bench.  We colored the children's menu together.

Lesson #2: "Butt hurts" means what you think it means, especially after your kid says "poop". You have t-minus 0 seconds to get your kid to a toilet.

After a while, Kira said, "Butt hurts."

"Let's go," I said, and we hurried back to the restroom. The waiter was bringing our food so I gave him the thumbs up to leave it for us.

She didn't even want to go in this time.  I started thinking it was time to go home.  So we head back to our seats and she sees some high chairs.

"Dat one?"  she asked.
"Kira, you already have a booster..." I started.

"DAT ONNNNNNEEEEEE", she insisted. Not screaming, but I wanted to avoid a scene so I picked it up and carried it over to our table.

I was just getting it set up and moving the booster, when oops! I spilled the orange juice.  All over her pancake.  The waiters were very nice and offered to bring us a new pancake. The couple next to us was very nice while the waiters mopped the floor.  Despite the niceties, all I'm thinking is, "ya'll better hurry up with this damn new pancake, I've got t-minus..."

So we dig into our scrambled eggs. Kira's doing well.  Actually, everything was very nice at mealtime.  The pancake arrived in a short amount of time.  I was shoving food down my face.  But it was delicious and we enjoyed it. And then...

Lesson #3: You did not heed the warnings. It is too late.

So we head to the car, and I open the door, and Kira stands in the door, and cacas all over the doorway into the car.  There we are, in the Southglenn mall parking lot with the car door wide open, and I am using every thing in the car that resembles paper to get this mess cleaned up. Paper towels, Kleenex, some Windex wipes (not on her, of course!) ...  UGGGGHHHHHHHH.

Lesson #4: It's a good thing to have paper and plastic bags in the car.

Fortunately, I had spare pants for her and home is just 5 minutes away. So we came home.  She still had to poop, so she sat on her princess potty and finished what I hope is the summer's most epic pooping session.

Lesson #5: I love my parents more than ever.

Thanks mom and dad, I'm sure I did the same thing to you. And I turned out okay.  Anyway, after reading 5 books to her (very fast and every other page), she lay down for her nap.

Peace out, and props to all the moms and dads out there.  Poop happens, you just have to be ready for it.