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Posts tagged as “Audio”

A Brief List of Goals for 2022

While I’ve gone over my primary goal of staying away from social media for the year previously, I’ve also been thinking about some things I’d like to accomplish for the year. It’s not a bad idea to add a positive thread to a year about avoiding things, even if the things I’m avoiding are crazy-making.

These aren’t just personal or professional goals, but a mix of the two. In this era of working from home in the midst of being a stay-at-home parent, the lines between the two types of goals are often hazy, so why not mix them together in this list and let it fly? They’re already mixed together in my head. Besides, work is essentially personal since, for me at least, I work to support my life rather than live to work.

I share these with you as a commitment device. If you, faceless reader, know that I am striving to accomplish these things, then I will more easily be able to pressure myself out of slacking.

In no particular order, here we go.

  • Record some TBLR episodes: I dabbled with The Black Laser Reads many years ago and then sort of let it drop. However, I’ve been thinking about The Black Laser Reads non-stop since then. A dig through the post archive reveals that only two episodes were released, both in the in summer of 2011. That means it’s been bouncing around in my head for ten and a half years with little public action. I’ve finally got an acceptably imperfect VO booth set up here in my office and an ever-deepening list of public domain works that I am interested in. It’s just a matter now of doing the recording.
  • Make more photos: Sarah and I have this crazy idea of owning a photo studio one day, but, as a photographer, I feel like I still need lots of practice. I’m getting the dust out and I shoot and process very deliberately, but there are so many aspects I need to improve on before I’d be comfortable charging for the work. Practice practice!
  • Improve my photo compositing skills: I am like a B-minus level photo compositor. The problem is that I don’t really know what I need to do to improve. I enjoy the work, definitely, but I am at a bit of an impasse where I need some structured education in the matter. I really just want our holiday cards to be better than everyone else’s. Simple.
  • Write more on The Black Laser: I’ve already started doing this. I’d like to keep it up. At the beginning, I wrote here all the time about anything that interested me. A lot of it is very bad, but that is the price we pay to get better at a skill. Then, for many years—let’s call them “The Quiet Years”—I worried that no one cared at all about what I wrote here. That is the result of my skill and taste levels increasing at different rates. Significantly better taste with moderately better skill. Many ideas were hatched and all were killed by the “Why bother?”s. Much silence ensued. Now, while I am still unconvinced that people are too interested in what I have to write, the whole purpose is the bother. That is, the work is the reason to do the work. And I’m enjoying it again!
  • Write some more stories: During the class at Cabrillo I was on a streak. Sure, it was for the class, but I was in the mindset and the barrier to the work was low. Then we had COVID hit the world, the cross-country move, the triplets pregnancy, the temporary move to Maryland, the birth of the girls, the unending hospital misery, the loss of Olive, the move back to Delaware, and the struggle to figure out how to be parents who work. Somewhere along the way, the needle just sort of popped out of the groove. I’d like to flip it over and start the B side.
  • Make a local friend: It’s crazy what social distancing and two little girls who can’t walk yet will do to prevent you from making friends. No one’s fault, of course. As much of an introvert as I am, having a friend within driving distance would probably not be such a bad idea. How to make that friend is a totally different proposition.
  • Continue to practice my penmanship: My handwriting is not bad, by any means, but it is a funny mix of half-remembered cursive and printing. You will often see both a cursive S and a printing S in the same word. I purchased the Spencerian Penmanship book set a few months ago and was steadily practicing while doing overnights just after we brought Penelope and Beatrice home. After the move back to Delaware, I have not been keeping up with it so well. There’s something about not having 8 hours of forced quiet time every single night to make you lose sight of the learning you were doing. Of course, my penmanship doesn’t matter at all, but it’s something I’d like to improve so I am going to.

That’s kind of a lot of stuff, I guess. But there is kind of a lot of time in a year and it is important to have goals. Keep up with me and see how far I get! Commitment devices!

Also, you might have noticed an audio file embedded in the top of this post. Click it! That’s me reading to you on my website for your enjoyment. I thought that adding audio versions of these posts would be a fun way to add a little value to the site and give me a chance to hone my monologue editing skills. You get all the benefit; I do all the work. Win-win.

Photo by Erfan Afshari on Unsplash

The Black Laser Reads… Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart”

Welcome to inaugural edition of “The Black Laser Reads”! A few days ago a call went out to Twitter and Facebook asking for suggestions for short stories that people liked. I got a lot of really good suggestions from people and have a running list on my Google Docs. I’m thinking Lovecraft, Bukowski, Carver, O’Connor, and so many more. The whole point behind this project is to build a body of audiobook work so that maybe somewhere down the line I can make it a professional pursuit. But, for now, it’s just fun to share stories with folks.

For this first one I picked Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart” because it was my mom’s suggestion and it is Mother’s Day. Pretty perfect if you ask me. Happy Mother’s Day, mom. The story is also nice and short for this first outing. No reason to start with “Bartleby The Scrivener,” right?

[audio:|artists=Edgar Allen Poe|titles=The Tell-Tale Heart]
Download here.

I hope you guys enjoyed this. I had fun reading it and tweaking the audio all to hell. I’m thinking that I’ll try and do one of these once or twice a month. This was about 3 hours of work, but I imagine that I’ll get faster as I go along. And next time, I won’t have the mic pointing towards the fridge. Oops. Rookie mistake. I nearly re-recorded the whole thing when I heard it in the background.

Serendipity and the remembering of things.

Last night I was at The Belmont Lounge for my friend Dumaine’s birthday party. We arrived just a little after 8 right in the middle of some sort of unsigned R&B/hip hop artist showcase which sounded like an open mic, but wasn’t. Dumaine and his fye-ance Erika had reserved a table in anticipation of the friends who would eventually show up. A smart move, I think. We spoke to the hostess and got her to seat us at the table. Apparently, the woman running the showcase had placed some record company folks, whatever the HELL that means, at the table with the delicately lettered “Reserved” sign on it. When the hostess did her job and moved the record company folks to seat us, this woman raised a hell of a stink.

Instead of doing the right thing and saying, “Hey, you know, I know you have this table reserved and everything, but I would love for these folks to be able to see the rest of the show from here since I’d love for my performers to make some sort of deal with them. Would you mind if they stayed here?”

You know what we would have said? We’d have said, “Of course! No problem. There’s only three of us right now and we’d be happy to share the table for the remainder of the show.”

But, no. She had to pull the passive aggressive card and give us stink eye all night and bitch to the staff and call us out on the microphone. We were polite and didn’t let her bother us, because, really, what’s worse for people who are passive aggressive than to reply to them with straight positivity and politeness?

We sat and listened to the second half of the show. After 2 or 3 7 dollar Brooklyn Lager bottles (I know, right, what the fuck), I’m getting lost in my own head a little as all this not-very-good R&B blares through the bar. Conversation was impossible with the volume, so all I had was my own brain. Luckily, at this point, we’re friends.

I recognized that every song we heard was about how much the singer loved someone and how they either wanted to spend their lives with the other person or how they were the most beautiful in the world or how they wanted to take them home and sleep with them or whatever. You get it, I think. It was all hyperbole and adolescent descriptions of love and relationships. Kind of silly, really. Not realistic at all.

I got to thinking that it would be really awesome to do a song in the same style where the guy basically told the woman that she was all right, maybe a little annoying, but that he liked fucking her. That he didn’t want it to get too serious since he really couldn’t see them in a relationship. That he thought she was ok, but not really that great and, in the end, he didn’t care too much about her and that she’d probably be better off with someone who respected her. All of it sung in that “I can’t just hold a single note” style of modern R&B singers that I dislike so much. It’s like constant vocal gymnastics that seems to me more often cover up the fact that the singer’s not really hitting the note they’re trying to hit. Instead of just singing, they’re masking that they can’t sing. But whatever.

On the way in to work this morning I was thinking about the song still when I realized that I already KNEW a song like that. Funny, right? It took me 12 hours to process that the song I thought would be so funny pretty much exists. Here it is.

[audio:|artists=Dag|titles=Our Love Would Be Much Better (If I Gave a Damn About You)]

Now, the Dag track isn’t quite exactly perfect, but it’s pretty close. Do any of you brilliant people out there have any songs like this? Let’s start a collection!