It's the second time this year it came on. Only this time I was able to drive home without any issue. It didn't just all of a sudden crap out on the road. I did notice a slight RPM drop when the light came on and then it went back to normal. On my drive home of just a few miles it all seemed to be running fine. I didn't hear anything odd and the car ran ok.
I always like to get things checked out as soon as they break. I think my car still has some life in it... so I'll take it in for repair tomorrow. I was googling around about common causes of check engine lights and how the system works...
Found this article which is rather comforting... http://www.autotrader.com/research/article/maintenance-new-research/82511/top-5-reasons-your-%22check-engine%22-light-is-on.jsp
It's from last year. Apparently most causes of check engine light are stupid little easy fixes. I tightened my gas cap... yesterday when I got home. I'll try starting up my car today to drive it to the dealer and if the light goes off... it was the gas cap. I've had that once before. About 4 years ago... I had to replace the gas cap with one from pep boys... The old cap wasn't sealing correctly and that's why the check engine light came on. If the light stays on... it's something else.
Soooooo we'll see. I really want to get 10 years out of my car before getting a new one. I've had it for 8. I think cars should generally last 10 years or longer if they are well maintained.
Or at least 100k miles. It's at about 83k ish.
Actually I don't mind keeping things that I own for a long while and getting good use out of them. I actually prefer things that are worn in and have the me feel to it. The only exception is my laptop, software, and phone. I always like to have the latest and greatest of that.
So we'll see. I'll take my car down to the place tonight and take the train back. I'll fill out the little overnight drop box slip thing and take the train to work tomorrow and see what they say it is and how quick they can fix it. Hopefully they will have whatever part is needed if a part is needed and can get it all fixed up tomorrow. Meanwhile today I'm just organizing things, doing laundry, drinking coffee, cutting out shapes for my next video, and doing more tweaks to my next song.
It's totally corny. But it's true! I've doubted myself a lot on my ability to actually produce any kind of real income from my music... or any of my creative ventures. I always thought in my head... I'm not "legit" as far as a musician or creative person goes. I used to go to shows and watch people on stage and go well see THEY are real. I'm just a dude that makes music for fun.
But you know, at some point they were just people that did what they did for fun too! I think it's all about really just believing that you do have the ability to take things to the next level. I mean everyone started somewhere. Made something out of very little resources. I have this dream to basically just be able to produce all kinds of media... music, videos, books, tv shows, movies... you name it. I kinda just want to fuel my creativity with more creativity. Like... try to just keep reinvesting almost all of what I make back into itself... and grow my creative production abilities more and as they grow I can grow them more!
I don't really care about a lavish lifestyle. Even if I were making millions of dollars a year. I'd live pretty scaled back compared to the income. I'd rather use that money to produce more things... to put back into communities... to put back into helping people...
I mean you're talking to a guy that just ditched a 15 inch computer for a 13 inch. I was going to buy this big massive monitor... I still might... but... more and more I'm thinking... this is fine! I mean there are sooooo many people that don't even have a computer! I should be lucky just to have this. And I am very lucky.
But any who yea... I've got this whole plan drawn up as far as posting things online and building a global fan base. And just trying to build a creative production lab of sorts... then I can just scale it up and up and up and away. I just have to believe that any thing is possible. I think it definitely is.
Part of my plan is to just keep doing what I've been doing lately and come home after work... to... get to work! Tonight I'm pretty sure I finished up my new song. I just have to take a little break and listen to it again tomorrow. I also started work on cutting out some construction paper things... or continued cutting out what I had started. I played around with the new premier CS6... it's not too different from CS4.
So yes all efforts are currently going to work and then creative... I might take 1 or maybe 2 nights a week to just relax maybe order a pizza and watch some Netflix things.
I think that's part of my current motivation high I'm on... that professor talked in the course about how he came to Harvard as a freshman and didn't have any background in computer science related stuff at all... he took an intro course and picked it up and went all the way through with it and now he's like one of the main professor guys there! Sooooo all it takes is a little passion and a little patience.
And just have to believe... it can all happen.
That's what I'm learning from working on my newest song. I'm REALLY glad I didn't just post the song when I said I was going to. Honestly, the work I've done to it in the last month or so has actually changed the song sooooooo much more for the better!
I keep thinking as well that if I HAD put it up a while back... I'd be sooooo unhappy with it because I would have just wished I could have changed all these things on it. So really taking my time with it was just the best decision ever.
So I've been working on this song for a about a year... maybe a little bit more than that. It started off as just a stupid filler song because I didn't have anything big that I wanted to work on.
Then I really got going with the wish upon a hero song last summer early fall and I've kinda worked on some other songs here and there. I also have this other fun little song that's really jazzy and uses some 7th chords and such which I actually wanted to finish before this song... I'll work on that after this song though... and I'm going to be collaborating on a song that I wrote 2 weeks ago... almost wrote, I still have a second verse to write...
But any-who back to this song... yea... I mean I was just going to post it as is a while ago, like months ago... but I wasn't happy with the sound. I decided to keep working on it. I'm glad that I did. But as I was saying it was just this stupid filler song... I really didn't think much of the song when I finished writing it. And as I've worked on it... I just think it's got a fun sound. It's ridiculously catchy and got a catchy chorus to sing along to.
I'm really thinking it could be pretty popular. When I say popular, I mean compared to the normal couple hundred plays I normally get. I mean I'm thinking this thing could get a few thousand plays! We'll see. It's no "call me maybe". But it's got a good hot beat to it.
Usually I just kind of post things because I'm ready to work on something new. Like I just kinda get to the point where I just want to be done with it and start working on my next project. I've been really sticking with this song though and really taking it WAY past when I normally edit songs. I don't think I've ever worked on a song as long as I have this one. I'm fairly confident that it's nearly done now... I mean REALLY REALLY done. I won't be posting it right away though. I'm going to upload it to CDBaby first so it posts on my website to stream for free at the same time it posts for pay. So people don't have to buy it if they don't care to, but this way there's a whole "release date" type of thing. I always see people doing these hyped up release dates for things...
I figured... I'll give that a try! Why not? I think this is the perfect song to do that with. It's just catchy and kinda silly and stupid. I'm pretty sure I'm at the thousands of hours mark worked on this song... it's just crazy talk. But I've come this far so I'm going to see it through.
But I think the takeaway is definitely that some things can be finished quickly on a deadline... but other things... well they just take time... And sometimes there isn't a rhyme or reason to it...
Like when I start a song I can never predict which ones will actually be popular, or which ones will actually take me a long time to finish, or which ones I may never actually finish and just put in the scrap heap folder. Sometimes I think a song sucks... and then years later it turns into a great song! Sometimes I think a song is amazing when I first write the very first hook... and nothing ever comes of it.
This is one of those songs I didn't think much of while writing it... but now I'm kind of actually pretty excited to finally finish it and post it online!
So yea I'm sooooooooo seriously anxious/excited to post this thing like NOW... but I just want to do it right. So it will be up soon... just have to make sure it's all perfect.
Sometimes certain things just aren't ready until they are ready... sometimes that means taking a lot of time to finish it. I think that's what I'm trying to say.
Spent my just at home. Nothing super special going on. My mom texted me and said she just couldn't put her cat down today. So she spent the day with it just holding it and petting it and making sure it wasn't in pain with the little cat meds they gave her to give to the cat. She said tomorrow she's going to try and take it into the vet. It's hard to let go.
When I was visiting the cat yesterday she seemed not too good, but she was still purring when I was petting her so I don't think she's in a ton of pain.
From what I understand you can keep the cat comfortable and let them pass on their own... or you can have them put to sleep to make sure that they don't suffer any pain. My mom wanted to just try and keep the cat comfortable and let her pass on her own... but lots of people are saying that even with the pain meds the cat can still have pain and so it's better to put it to sleep.
I just kinda spent my evening here at my place. Worked on random things. I'm back to still making mixes of my new song since I have a new setup and it's allowing me to do things I couldn't do with the other one. But I'm definitely about to just finish it.
I was notified today that my adobe cs6 shipped. Currently my cs4 doesn't work. So no photoshop or dreamweaver or premier. Once I get cs6 installed I can start working on videos too. My new macbook pro has a 720p camera built in so when I start my next video blog that will be in 720p widescreen instead of the 640x480 format that most of the shots in my last video blog had.
What else.... let's see ok... So I did some thinking...
For me to play the open mic every thursday at Steel City it costs me: 3 dollars in gas, 3 dollars to park, 3 dollars to get in, 3 dollars for a drink... and then maybe another 3 or 5 to go out and get a beer after if I do that.
So that's 15 or 17 bucks. From all the open mics I played there... I didn't get asked to play a show... that was goal number 1. Number 2 was to get more fans. I got zero new likes on my Facebook page even though I gave it out every time. And I had little cards and such.
So really I didn't accomplish anything playing there. Although I did have fun... but... I think my efforts will be more fruitful if I apply them to another area of music marketing...
So what else costs 15 dollars?
Uploading a track to CD baby. So the money I WOULD spend every week on open mic... I could instead upload a track to CD baby... maybe not once a week. But I could save 60 dollars a month and upload 1 track a month and also pay for the copyright of a new track and also still have 10 dollars left over to put into a new music gear fund. And since the 2 tracks I've uploaded to CD baby are starting to get real plays on the various music sites... that means it's actually working! That's like hard data that shows... I'm getting a better return on my investment by uploading recordings than I am playing open mic.
I'll still probably play an open mic here or there just for fun. But it's going to be maybe once every few months instead. Just when I feel like playing out to brush up on practicing. I know I said this before and the I keep going back to open mics or playing live...
But I just seriously think there is WAY more potential online for my music. I think by using youtube and uploading tracks to CDBaby I can reach way more people than I can by playing local.
So most of my evenings now are just going to be plain stay at home evenings and work on things. It's funny because that's mostly what I like to do anyways. I'm not really all that big on going out a lot. I don't mind every now and then... but I've definitely been going out a super ton. I'm really a stay home and watch movies and order pizza kinda person. If I do go out... it's a brewery restaurant place for a good craft beer and a good burger. that's definitely my style.
So the goal is to just start pushing lots of content of the online type since I think that's where my greatest potential is.
So I bought my new laptop on Friday. The fan for the other laptop just completely stopped working. It was making no so nice grinding noises and such. I got the 13 inch laptop. It's neat and fun and compact. I've pretty much finally got it all setup except for adobe creative suite. I'm waiting for that order to come in.
This laptop is a good bit faster than the other one. It's nice and I really love it. I'm going to eventually order the bigger second monitor and then also order the replacement fan for the old laptop so I can sell that and get back some money.
I just went over to the KOP mall to buy it. Nothing super fancy. Got my educational discount on the machine itself and then got a discount on the apple care as well. So it's protected for 3 years incase anything happens to the hardware... such as a fan blow out like I just had on the other one. I also got a little case for it because I like having it all wrapped up in a case. It's just a no frills all black case.
I also had to buy an updated backup drive because one of my old drives didn't work with this machine. But I've decided to use that for PC troubleshooting repair. AND I had to get a USB 3.0 hub because I now have USB 3.0. That's pretty sweet. Let's me move things around and work off external drives and such much faster.
So all my software for the music stuff is also working... AND it's now working in full 64 bit. It wasn't before because I didn't have the latest and greatest. And now I do.
So I plan to get back to work on finishing up my new song.
Hmmmm so today I went to church and they did I think what was the final sermon in a series of the holy spirit. The one scene that I thought was a great illustration was that they had 2 people each with a screw and a piece of wood. They said... ok... so one person gets a regular screw driver... the other person gets a power drill...
The person with the regular screw driver had all kinds of hard times trying to drill the thing into the wood. Even though they were using all their might... Meanwhile the person with the power of the power drill just pressed the trigger and it was in like a hot knife through melted butter...
The idea was that... if you try and use your own might... you'll get it... eventually... but if you just let the power of the holy spirit help... like letting the power of the power drill help...
It's SOOOOO much easier. Makes sense.
Hmmm ok the final part of today's post is that one of the four of my mom's cats isn't doing too great. She's got cancer. They found a tumor. She was kind of acting very odd lately. She wouldn't come out of the basement and was only eating up in a small crawlspace in the basement and we were bringing food to her. So my mom took her over to the vet and they found that she had a tumor. She took her to a specialist and they really just don't think that it's operable. It's near her liver and so they said they could probably try chemo but the outcome doesn't look promising. So I'm not sure exactly what's going on. So my mom is all kinds of upset about it... it's sad and it's hard to know you might have to say goodbye to a pet. So she's at the specialist now still and I think they might do some kind of blood tests and ultrasounds to figure out more and know for sure if there is or isn't anything they can do. Just have to wait and see I guess. She's a cute little cat too... super long nifty looking furry hair and always very affectionate.
Well... Hmm... yea. I'm just hanging out here at home for the rest of my Sunday. Working on creative things and in addition to that doing laundry and dishes and other things of that nature.
I've always wanted to try out this way of mixing that I've read about. I always mean to do it but then I usually just end up getting sucked into the song and finishing it by just listening to the song over and over and over again.
Apparently it's better to make a playlist of songs you want your song to sound like. Then take your mix and listen to your song every 2 or 3 songs... so basically put that mix on shuffle... then make a mix... then listen to your song... then listen to like 2 or 3 or 4 professional and popular songs that you WANT your song to sound like. Listen to how those are mixed and similarities and differences.
Then go back and mix some. Then just keep repeating that. I've decided to try that tonight.
I made a couple more changes that I REALLY think make the song sound a little better than it had been sounding! I'm digging this way of mixing. I think I'm going to do 1 more mix session with this method.
So I'm going to say the song will most likely be up this weekend at some point.
I think I'm going to use tomorrow as the one more mix session. So I'm most likely not going to go to open mic. I'll just stay in again. It's ok because I haven't actually practiced my songs enough for this week.
Let see what else... oh so today I was looking around at replacing the fan on my macbook pro... turns out it's fairly easy to do! SO I'm going to order the parts and replace that. I'm still going to buy the 13 inch macbook pro... but then I'll be able to sell this one as fully functioning and all that goodstuff instead of as... the fan makes loud noises sometimes... that's generally not a good selling point.
There's the walkthrough and the parts can be ordered from that page too! That's for the left fan. I'm guessing it's the left fan... you know... since it's coming from the left side and all.
So that's the latest and greatest. And I told myself I wasn't going to mix anymore on the song the other night... so I'm telling myself right now that I get one more mixing session and that will be it. Any more mistakes or oddities in the song will have to stay there forever and ever. Then I'll release this song to the world. I'll post a little blog about the song when I finally finish it. It's always fun to know the backstory and behinds the scenes on creative things. So I'll post that up and then everyone can know what the dealio is.
So... I'm fairly sure the fan is on it's way out on my laptop. I'm kind of using it as an excuse to purchase a replacement. It's also important though for me to have a top notch working laptop because it's my trade. I'm a computer dude! I was planning on buying one for the last 6 months or so anyway...
Here's the thing... I wanted to wait because I spent super all kinds of money last month between the car stuff and traveling and all that. Buuuuuuut... I think I'm just going to go and take the plunge. Then I'll cut back on spending for the next several months to make the money back.
So the problem is... I can't just buy a new laptop. See, I currently have Snow Leopard for my OS and I have Adobe CS4. All the new laptops come with Lion as the OS. Adobe CS4 doesn't play well with the big cat... aka Lion. So I have to purchase the upgrade to CS6. I'm going to be doing that tonight. That's pretty pricey in itself. Then I have to update my music software... but that's only 50 bucks... THEN I can go buy the laptop.
I've been looking up the specs of all the Macbook Pro's that they have listed on Apple's site and the little cheaper 13 inch macbook pro of the i7 model is about the same specs as the one I have now. The one I have now is 2 years old and it was the beefiest one they had at the time. Two years ago I lived at home and had very little expenses so I could afford to just kinda buy whatever and not have to worry about it. I live on my own now in my own place and such so I have rent and electric bills and insurance and such. So I've decided instead of buying the super big crazy one I'm going to get the 13 inch little one.
Then I'm going to get a cheaper but big 24 ish inch monitor. That way I can just plug the little guy in and still enjoy the same processing power I have now but also have portability on the go. It's also a good deal cheaper than the really expensive one as I said.
I may wait to buy the big monitor until maybe next month just so I'm not spending ALL this money at once. I use this equipment to do what I love and make music so it's very important to me. As well it's not like I'm just booking a vacation to hawaii and the money is bye bye forever... the idea is that I am using this equipment to one day start making money in return. So I'm trying to make it more of a business investment than just buying it because I have to have it because it looks all pretty and cool. There's always times and places for that too though. Sometimes it's just fun to buy something because it looks cool! Or hop a flight to Hawaii... But... for now I'm trying to make a return on this... Hopefully though I can start getting more YouTube videos up and monetized and then as well get more songs uploaded to CDBaby and hopefully start making money to put towards buying equipment. My current dream is just to make it sustainable and be able to just make making music and videos sustainable in that it pays for itself buuuuut...
Making money from music isn't very easy. I've only made 26 dollars so far and it cost me 30 dollars to upload the 2 songs I have up. So I still have another 4 dollars to go before I even start breaking even from uploading the music. There's also the 70 dollars it cost to copyright the songs... then obviously the thousands of dollars it cost in hardware and software and guitars and mics and all the time and effort to make the music in the first place.
I have a long way to go before I can even make my first penny of actual profit.
And my goal one day is to live off making music and youtube videos and maybe even writing...
WOW! I feel like i'm a little tiny ant staring up at the Rocky Mountains!
Just gotta keep walking one step at a time to climb up.
I'll get there eventually. Even if it's just 1 or two pennies at a time. They will add up and as long as I never stop and just keep going... I say consistence and persistence wins out.
Just have to keep doing what I'm doing and never give up and try and try and try again... and one day it will pay off.
So while I was at camp someone came to me and asked a question about photoshop. I had to bring up my own version of photoshop and figure it out again. I said to myself "I knew this stuff last summer when I was trying to do band photography". Eventually I figured it out for that person. I then kinda started looking at the photos I never finished and the ones I did finish from last summer. I thought you know that was really fun! I should follow through with that.
Anywho it re-sparked my interest in the whole band photo thing. I probably won't do it as a for real deal but if friend asks at an open mic or it happens to come up in conversation I'll definitely do some promo photos for like posters for shows or a CD cover or a facebook page.
Well today I started re-edtiing the photos I never finished from the fall that I did for my previous boss and his folk band. I gave them the raw edits because they really just kinda wanted those and not the flashy snazzy spruced up ones. But I figured I'll finish them and give them to them anyways. Then I'll upload a small sample to my facebook page or something with their permission of course.
I think I'm going to try and build up my facebook fan page with band photography stuff but just do small gigs of like 5 or 10 pictures. Nothing major. Again, if someone asks me or it comes up... I'll do them. It's just something fun to do.
But I've been playing around with photoshop actions and they are pretty sweet! So instead of hand doing all the curves and brightness contrast filter settings... I can go on google and type in "free photoshop actions" then using the history and actions buttons I can sit and click through various actions on a specific photo to see how it looks. I can make my own too! I can also change actions and combine them to get new cool effects.
It makes the editing processing that much more fun! Also it makes it even quicker and easier than before.
I'm a big fan of automation and increasing efficiency and time use. Using photoshop actions will definitely let me do more editing in a quicker time period and make it actually possibly for me to do photo shoots for open mic friends on the side along with all the other things that I do. I just need to buy one of those really low F-stop prime lenses like the camp dude bought. He was showing me what kind of pictures it takes... it makes for some seriously awesome portrait pictures. Which is the exact kind that promo band photos are!
Well it's the 4th of July... Happy 4th! I'm sure you've heard it a lot today. I didn't really hear it too much because I stayed in all day. Just kinda didn't feel like being all uncomfortable and sweaty and gross next to a thousand other people all sweaty and gross as well. Actually I just took a shower and I've got the AC on and I'm in my PJ's... it's glorious. I even had some ice cream. Today is top of the pops.
Ok well I've been thinking since 4th of July is like the official summer holiday that iconifies everything summer it's made me think back to my summer post about all the things I wanted to do this summer. I actually did a good deal of things on there. One of the things I did was go to the little jazz fest down the street... although I've been thinking about other summer music festivals. The only super duper actual summer music fest I've ever gone to was Mountain Jam at Hunter Mountain in NY. THAT'S a music festival... there's camping and crazyness and of course...
Drinking and drugs.
That was the part I just didn't really like very much. In fact I didn't like it so much that I never went back. IN FACT... I've never gone back to ANY music festival of that sort. There was beer at the festival down the street but it was just expensive craft beer and people only had like 2 or 3... no one was REALLY wasted.
So for many years I've been thinking... I REALLY want to do a music festival with camping again! But I just can't do the people around me doing drugs and drinking to the point where they need to be med-e-vac-ed out of there. Over the 3 days I was at Mountain Jam, there were about half a dozen ambulances taking drug related incident people to the hospital... and one person was helicoptered out because of drugs and alcohol.
That just takes the fun out of it! That makes it just plain scary.
Well... recently I've found out of a festival that has no drugs or alcohol.
Here is the official FAQ from the festival website on the topic of Alcohol and Drugs:
"These are absolutely not permitted on the festival grounds and those found under the influence of, or in possession of such will be escorted off the property, and or, turned over to the law enforcement officials."
My response to that is... Yes.
ANNNNNNND... some pretty awesome bands play the festival too! Two of my favorite bands just played the festival that was last weekend... Switchfoot and The Rocket Summer.
So what is this AWESOME festival that has camping and goes on for a few days and doesn't have drinking or drugs?????
It's called: Creation
Here's the link: http://www.creationfest.com
I've decided next summer I'm gonna go! Actually there are two of them. One is in the north west and another is here in PA. The north west one is actually in 2 weeks. In theory I could still go to that. But I'm going to wait until next year and go to the PA one.
I was kind of browsing the website a couple nights ago and looking up the history of it and what they have that goes on during it. I liked it all.
It's probably one of the best music festivals out there as well I think because rather than just going to camp/blow your mind with drugs and drinking/listen to loud music...
There's a real and great purpose to this music festival.
Another thing I think is cool is they have an "Indie" stage where they allow people to sign up and enter to play the festival! How sweet is that? I think it's pretty neat.
So yea... next summer... I'm sooooo there.... and it's cheaper if you book a group ticket! Who else wants to go?
I mean the alternative is you can always go to one of the other music festivals and get your face eaten off by a guy high on bath salts...
Or you can spend an amazing few days with lots of other amazing people being as the website for Creation states in its purpose statement "...changed, restored, and challenged to serve the Lord and to make a difference in this world."
I vote for salt of the earth... not bath salts.
Yesterday was the final show for the comedy improv class. It was SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO much fun. Seriously though, I was actually kinda nervous about it. I don't know why I was nervous. It was definitely nothing to be nervous about! Actually the final thing that was said before we went on stage by us all was... "I will support you". That's the idea, that no matter what happens we try to keep going with whatever is happening and try to help each other out.
We started by getting there slightly early. We checked out the stage and space. I'd seen the venue once before because I was there to see a show for class with some of my classmates. It kind of reminded me of the theater at camp so that gave me a level of familiarity and made me a little more comfortable. We did warm up exercises and then hung out down in the green room.
When it was finally show time, we all were held just behind the stage in a little area behind the back curtain. Then we came out into a line across the back. One of us asked for a suggestion to start the show. Actually, before the suggestion was given we were introduced and all that good stuff by our class teacher. THEN we just started off with the suggestion. The suggestion was about it being sooooooooo hot out. So most of the early on little scenes/skits had to do with heat and ice cream eating and napkins being lost and people having ice cream on their face and people having to reach in other peoples pockets to get napkins for ice cream on their faces... it probably got slightly sexual inuendo-y yep...
Then somehow the skits just went all over the place from there. There were random office cubicle jokes and skits about being stuck in a tiny office cubicles and skits about how to and how not to exercise. We all ended up even getting in on some giant stretching thing where we were all flapping our arms about like giant birds. Let's see... and skits about girls in the mens bathroom and men in the girls bathroom, and haircutters that can't really cut hair and just mess up every time... and all kinds of other random things.
A few times I was caught cracking up at things the other classmates were doing. The audience was laughing a TON. Everyone was just really be into it. The show just RACED by. I mean it was a good 25 minutes I think... but it felt like 2 minutes.
Everyone got a chance to hop in and do something several times over. I think we ALL just had a blast.
After the show a bunch of us went to get some food and drink. It was just perfect. I couldn't have asked for a better ending to a really awesome class. I'm considering signing up for the next class... but... for now I REALLY do need a break for a little while to just sleep in on Sundays super late. I also want to put more effort into music and youtube videos. So for the rest of the summer I'm going to focus on youtube videos and music recording/writing/playing open mics.
I think what I might do though is go and see an improv show every once in a while. It's just as fun to watch as it is to be in it.