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The latest installment in the KITCHENROCK series. Rise to the Occasion is a simple song, musically, but I love that lick.

There were good takes of other songs last night but I haven't had time to pull them down from the cam correctly yet. Did you know they charge better when the power strip is plugged in?

Last night this didn't get fully encoded on YouTube for about an hour, so only two people were able to watch.
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An acceptable rendition of "Rise to the Occasion." Getting a little more comfortable with the camera. Have realized the vocal/guitar imbalance is now due to the camera, rather than me: the tripod is shorter than the vocalist. It's at guitar height. Duh.

(Just uploaded this, so if you are reading my every post within milliseconds you might hit it before YouTube is ready to let you watch.)
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Ever since I took up practicing in the kitchen every night I'm making vastly more progress. It is SERIOUSLY BAD NEWS to stare at a karaoke screen or lyric sheet all the time.

I'm building gradually building up a set I'm off-book with, adding another song every few nights.

So far that's:

The Zeitgeist Flows From You
Rise to the Occasion
Thursdays When It Rains
Comic Book Man
Let's Get It Wrong
Snow White
Good Thing
Leave the Gun, Take the Cannoli

Zeitgeist is building my strength for barré chords right up. Totally ought to be played on an electric but it sounds less ridiculous every day. Comic Book Man is still tough to remember bits of, I screw up the B section a lot. The most recently added is Rise to the Occasion, which is one of my least musically sophisticated songs but has a nice little bridge. Speaking of simple songs that are growing on me, I think it's time to add Juanita Denouement to the list.

I'm inclined to try a "live on the intarwebs: Tom in his kitchen" thing prior to attempting an actual open mike, mainly because I don't own an acoustic-electric yet, which is pretty much essential for playing out.

I could just record it, do my best not to edit it, and upload it.

I could do that at a specific time, immediately after performing it, do it as video, and put a clock in the shot so's you know I didn't have TIME to edit it before uploading it.

Or I could blow a bunch of time and energy I don't have setting up a real live webcast.

Not sure there would be any difference in listenership between options two and three, as long as I promise this show will appear at a specific time.

Speaking of which, dear reader, what time and night of the week would you be most likely to actually click on such an embedded video in a post of mine?
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Fun: hopping around the kitchen with a guitar, pretending anybody gives a shit. (*)

Freekin' hard: playing The Zeitgeist Flows From You on an acoustic. Especially in an unfamiliar standing position.

I love my guitar but it was never meant for pounding the crap out of barre chords. Trouble is, it's one of my best and certainly most entertaining tunes and it should be part of the "if I ever manage to get free when there's an open mic" set. I gotta find an electric. And an acoustic-electric, for that matter. I gather you can't really play out at random open mics without a pickup.

I've discovered something about memorization: I need to put my cheat sheet where it's inconvenient to look at it. Playing in the kitchen with the lyrics and chords waaaay over on the computer in the living room is about right. Suddenly I'm discovering a capacity for recall.

(*) Eleanor fled upstairs. Everyone's a critic
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Listen to The Zeitgeist Flows from You. As ordered by [ profile] besideserato.

Also available and downloadable on the Songs to Order page. Yes, the player there will work for those who have trouble with direct MP3 links.

Object: McMansion
Character: Miss Flox, international woman of mystery
Catchphrase: "the zeitgeist blows from you, darling!" (yeah, I changed it a little)
Genre: pop

My first Song to Order in quite a while, but that doesn't mean I've abandoned the project. I have just two or three songs to go. And then... I'll write more, of course. Haven't decided if I'll try the "songs to order" format again.

Edit: you can also find this song on my myspace band profile.
Lyrics and chords. )
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Eleanor and I made a movie! It has frickin' ponies with frickin' wood screws glued to their frickin' heads! It is a tribute to Charlie the Unicorn, featuring an original song by me. And ponies. With frickin' wood screws glued to their frickin' heads.

I have a favor to ask: please rate it on YouTube. That helps to put it in front of more people.

Watch our movie on YouTube

Watch the original Charlie the Unicorn

Charlie the Unisong: lyrics and chords. )


Aug. 17th, 2007 05:44 pm
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I just stopped my guitar lessons. For two weeks I haven't managed to get there. Just because I am self-employed and "can" take a guitar lesson on a Friday afternoon doesn't mean it isn't a giant bullethole in my workday.

You know what I did today? Excepting a few leg-stretching breaks to look after the garden?

I worked on things that bear a direct relationship to my livelihood. Which I enjoy and am good at. Like duh. It was so 100% A+.

New professional side projects will need to be things that fit into my primary goals, particularly expanding the FAQ. If I can write great stuff about the pieces of whatever I'm building, and my audience cares... it's work! Go for it!

If not... not so much.

My schedule is too much, my commitments too many. I've reached a point where I can keep improving quite a bit on the guitar on my own. I'm also pondering whether to re-up for private salsa lessons the next time that comes due, although salsa fits into my schedule much better (Wednesday evening, shortly before I go to Brasils and do the real thing).

My actual salsa nights are another story— those I can easily afford, and I can't imagine my life without them. There's fat, and then there's bone marrow.

* * *

This doesn't mean I won't be doing song challenges and stuff. I'll definitely be doing that. It happens when I want to, when I need a break, after my kid's in bed, etc.
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Eleanor and I caught the Girls Rock Philly showcase.

We had a great time and Eleanor is excited about attending when she's old enough. All of the kids worked hard and they put on a great show.

That having been said, I did notice a few things. yes, I am a semi-clueless n00b of the adult variety, but I'm going to share them anyway because these are the Internets. If you're listening, GRP, please don't take this as negative feedback, I'm just curious:

1. A six-piece vocal band in the beginning. Huh! Did they get a lot of girls who didn't want to learn to play gee-tar? Or did they have a limited supply of equipment?

The vocal band did sound great.

2. Real rock star melodrama! One of the bands was missing its lead singer. She was in the program, she wasn't on the stage... we kept waiting for vocals... there were no vocals. At the end the band members talked about how Jackie had really been there for them, gooo Jackie! (*) It was difficult to tell from the tone of voice if they were being sarcastic or not. I wanna know what happened! A+ drama.

3. I got the feeling they taught the girls to play a few notes of lead rather than a few chords. Was this someone's preferred teaching method, I wonder? Or a small-hands big-guitar issue?

If they wanted to sound coolass in a week, G C E Em and whatever else they had time for might have served them better. If the girl in question had the wingspan for it, that is. But you can play all of those with just the bottom four strings and two fingers if need be.

That is, unless Sanrio can be convinced to donate a gross of Hello Kitty 2/3 scale stratocasters. In which case Eleanor would like to be behind the truck when one of them happens to fall off.

4. Eleanor and I agreed that "DEKAFANATED" is the band most likely to go on to be awesome. "Bug Killer" is a great song.

5. The selfless, generous, strong women who organized and volunteered for this event are all smoking hot all selfless and generous and strong all smoking hot, selfless, generous and strong.

(*) Names have been changed to protect the innocent.
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[ profile] scarcrest unreasonably demands:

Object: a chocolate rose
Genre: blues
Catchphrase: sick and twisted, evil and wrong
Character: a horror writer

Listen to Fail the Blues!

Also available on the Songs to Order page.

Lyrics and chords. )
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First a quick note about [ profile] smegma17's challenge, which I am hereby skipping for now: I haven't skipped a challenge before. However, in this case I just don't have ready access to the necessary research materials (i.e. songs by Snakefinger). I'll see what I can do in future.

Now, on to the guy in the cape:

[ profile] alfvaen demands...

Object: wand
Character: Dracula
Catchphrase: "I'll be back"
Subgenre: Trip-hop

Listen to Not Dracula!

Lyrics. )

Also available on the Songs to Order Page.
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1. My handheld digital camera, a Fuji Finepix A345, is about to die. The lens refuses to zoom out and uncover itself about 50% of the time. Soon enough that will be 100%.

Any recommendations on my next affordable handheld camera (sub-$300 at most)? I want it to do two jobs: take good stills, and shoot good-enough-for-YouTube video. A wide field of view is also a big plus.

I've noticed that Jill's Exilim EX-Z50 shoots video that's plenty good enough for YouTube, with a very wide field of view. Saves a lot of trouble compared to fussing with my mini-DV, which has a very narrow field of view. Although the sound recorded by Jill's camera was pretty rough, even when we remembered to turn off the air conditioner. Heh. Of course, it would be nice to have the luxury of several weekends in which to make a movie sometime and properly dub the audio, rather than using the raw audio recorded by the camera.

2a. Something disgusting happened to my guitar case. I'm not prepared to discuss it. You can probably get it out of Eleanor if you give her enough chocolate.

2b. Eleanor's guitar wall mount, which was a flimsy wooden thing, split down the middle.

2c. I would order replacements for both from Musician's Friend, which always has killer prices, but they are moving their distribution center and won't ship for another two weeks. In other words, they are broken. Can anyone recommend an alternative low-cost musician's supply site that they trust?

3. As mentioned, my cell phone's ringer has died, and I must wait until 9/11/07 to get a free replacement. I'm checking for messages a lot.

4. After weeks of missed appointments, the dishwasher repairman finally came out to look at my Kenmore, which obviously has a logic board problem. He looked at it for three seconds and said "yep it has a logic board problem." The logic board will be shipped to me. The appointment to actually install it will take place in... I don't know, February I'm guessing. Yes, I paid good money for this service plan.

5. The plan was to get a little pergo-ing done this morning. My jigsaw blade broke. I didn't make it to the hardware store because my motivation-izer broke.

6. Instead I worked on burning Nine More Minutes to an SVCD. I tried to burn it with Nero, which has completely forgotten that I paid for it. I was unable to immediately locate any documentation of this fact, though I am sure it is on a credit card statement somewhere. Then I tried ffmpeg and cdrtools. cdrtools broke on the first try, but mysteriously worked after a reboot.

Strangely enough, I'm more amused by all this than anything else.
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I'm back. My guitar is back. You're doomed. Pleasantly, musically doomed.

At the behest of [ profile] frenzywench, who found out I have a Steve Martin drinking problem this past Friday:

Object: Silly Putty
Character: Universal stinky guy in comic store
Catchphrase: Is it live, or is it Memorex?
Genre: "I'm not good with genres, but do it like the Stray Cats"

Listen to Comic Book Man!
Lyrics and chords. )
Also available on the Songs to Order page. If you have any trouble with the song link on this page, the player and download links on that page will probably work better for you.

"Whuzza? Did I miss a meeting? What is this songwriting challenge thing all about?"
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Hauling baked beans to [ profile] vrax:

Object: frying pan
Character: vigilante superhero
Catchphrase: "that's what she said"
Genre: Boston Hardcore

Listen to Shari Moved to Boston!

Lyrics and chords. )
Also available on the Songs to Order page. If you have any trouble with the song link on this page, the player and download links on that page will probably work better for you.

Snow White

Jul. 8th, 2007 03:01 pm
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Red meat for [ profile] mystic_savage:

Object: candle
Character: Snow White
Catchphrase: "Boys will be boys"
Genre: alterna-folk

Listen to Snow White!

And, because this song cries out to be sung by someone of the female persuasion...

Snow White karaoke!

A plate of cookies to the first female lady type person of the opposite sex to send me their own rendition of Snow White (with my karaoke track or your own guitar). Technical assistance provided upon request.
Lyrics and chords. )
Also available on the Songs to Order page.
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For honorable Wal-Mart customer [ profile] warmbodyreally:

Object: a Hendrix T-shirt
Character: a commie fag junkie
Catchphrase: "Workers of the World Unite"
Genre: Progressive Metal

Progressive metal: heavy metal in a smartypants time signature. Well, there's more, but close enough.

Listen to Chiang Made Your Pants!

Or visit the Songs to Order page. Some may find it easier to use the player on that page. Permanent downloads are also available there.

Lyrics. )
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I dumped my old MySpace account and created a musician account instead. Goode Trouble is officially audible.

Unfortunately, you can't convert your existing account to a band account anymore. And while I have a copy of my friendslist, it seems most of you don't accept incoming friend requests from (endlessly self-promoting) bands.

So if you can find it in your heart to do so, please re-friend me on myspace in my new, six-string incarnation.


P.S. If you have no idea what this is about, try listening to the songs on that page. All four were written since Friday. There are more. There will be more. La la la.

Edit: I fixed the problem with "Zap Pow" and "Old School" not playing. Thanks for the confirmation, [ profile] jwgh.

Old School

Jul. 2nd, 2007 10:35 pm
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Depressing and irritating [ profile] ronebofh beyond all belief:

Object: a mag-lite
Character: ð (yeah that's what he said he's emo)
Catchphrase: "I hit your mom with a catchphrase"
Genre: shoegaze post-rock

Shoegaze involves wall-of-sound with fuzzed-up electric guitars, a withering disregard for clear vocals and a total lack of stage presence. That last will have to wait for the video.

Listen to Old School!

Or just visit the Songs to Order page. Some may find it easier to use the player on that page. Permanent downloads are also available there.
Lyrics and chords. )
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(Little Rolling Stones ref there, you like?)

I had a very musical weekend.

Friday I offered to compose and record songs in any genre, featuring a specified object, character, and catchphrase. And people stepped up to the plate with their requests. Hoo boy, did they ever. Since Friday afternoon, I've recorded five original songs:

1. Zap Pow, a folksy lesbian murder mystery, at the request of [ profile] caudelac.

2. Take the Cannoli, an earnest rock ballad about dating a polyamorous violinist, on behalf of [ profile] in_this_guise.

3. Captain Obvious, a Wall of Sound spectacular for [ profile] florafloraflora.

4. Captain Cannonball, a sea shantey for the historic reenactment set, requested by [ profile] merde.

5. Baby You Can't Drive My Car, an inside-the-beltway salsa for [ profile] lxbean.

Or just hear 'em all on one convenient page! Hey, I aim to please.

I am by no means finished.
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In completion of my community service to [ profile] lxbean:

Object: Cilantro
Character: W
Catchphrase: "All shit aside"
Genre: Salsa

There are a couple NSFW bits (no 4-letter words apart from the catchphrase... let's just say "adult situations"). And it might offend your boss— If you work in DC.

Listen to Baby You Can't Drive My Car!

Holy crap! This took all damn day. I like the end result but it's really quite slow for a salsa, not very satisfying to dance to.

Guess what? Improvising a rhythm ensemble from your guitar body, several partially filled water glasses and a bottle of under-$20 wine doesn't automatically result in brilliance!

Nor does one hour of "musicality for salsa dancers" equate to a rich understanding of the instrumentation!

Dude! Who knew?
Lyrics. )
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At the iron whim of [ profile] merde:

Object: a flugelhorn
Character: a pinkerton agent
Catchphrase: "But that's just the tip of the iceberg!"
Genre: Sea Shantey

Listen to Captain Cannonball!

Simplest. Genre. Ever. So why did I spend so much time dicking around with this? Censored Ale... refined sugar... tired fingers.

A proper sea shantey provides a steady rhythm for laborers rigging sails in tandem. I get that general idea across, then I play with it a little. The subject matter is a wee bit modernized.

Lyrics and chords. )

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