I’m happy to report that my absence from posting the last 10 months has been due to an excess of excellent experiences with my wife.
In March we went to Death Valley for several days, simplified by flying to Vegas and renting a car.
At the end of August/beginning of September we hit Sitka & Juneau, AK for 6 nights each. Highly recommended, especially if you’re into the temperate rainforest vibe.
Then, in honor of our son’s 30th birthday, we took both of the ‘kids’ to a Paris B&B for two weeks and all got to know each other as adults.
The “Paris to Poughkeepsie” tour continued through Basking Ridge, NJ (jamming with old band mates) and Warwick, NY to the fabled Hudson River town of Poughkeepsie. That was home base for the out-of-town relatives attending a wedding across the river
Now I’m home & recovering from all the excitement.
Next: the cancer situation (not bad!)
P.S.: I do read comments, but am too paranoid to open the site to outside accounts. Keep those cards and letters coming!
In case anyone actually does read this, I offer a brief report on 2018:
I got to celebrate my mom’s 90th birthday with all my sibs.
Not so great on the lung cancer front: This year brought metastases to both lungs and slow tumor growth that has me aiming to start chemo as late as possible, but before the cancer causes me any signifiant breathing problems (or ???). I’m hoping to make it through 2019 before firing the chemo starting gun, but anything unexpected could change that in a flash.
Musically, I’ve got a tune idea or two percolating, as well as stuff from two of my brothers that’s ripe for development.
Field recordings can be interesting all by themselves, or even useful (e.g., bird calls), but my main interest is in using them in musical compositions (FYI, my definition of ‘musical’ is quite inclusive).
Chemo Dream No. 1 is an example of a musical use that I first had the idea for more than a year ago, but I’ve only recently acquired & sorted enough field recordings to get the effect I was looking for:
Some interesting sounds aren’t natural at all, and trains are so loud that you don’t have to crank the gain (and emphasize the wind), so this was a productive outing. Figuring out how I want to use the sounds I collect will come a little later.
Friday was my last day at Logitech, after 32.85 years.
It was a great run, filled with good people and a wide variety of products to develop. Whenever I got bored or antsy I would get the opportunity to work on a whole new product line or technology, and diving into the unknown was always revitalizing (and stressful!).
I’ll miss those opportunities a little bit, but now it’s time to choose my own challenges…
Starting this week I’m semi-retired (2 days/week) — I go completely free-range in mid-May.
I’ve already been obsessed for two weeks with finally building a tremolo effect idea I had back in 2003 (tentatively named “The Tremotron”), and this week I’ve been checking out all the old favorite DIY sites (Ampage, AX84) and finally setting up a useful home media server.
The Tremotron will be a hybrid analog/digital project, so I’m also spending time learning the necessary microcontroller development tools.
Also, they had a retirement party for me at Logitech and my co-workers gave me a huge gift certificate to Sweetwater, so I’m looking into a little shopping spree. Top choices right now are a solid keyboard stand (for my Hammond Sk1) and a Tascam DR-100mkIII. I’d buy the Roland Rubix 44, but even though it was announced at NAMM it still hasn’t shipped…
A month after my last post I had an MRI & xray that revealed a need for major surgery & chemotherapy (bummer!). I’m still recovering from both, and this health episode has made retirement in 2017 a much higher priority. Having a lot of ‘disabled’ time to do more music was definitely also a factor.
During my convalescence I’ve put some time into all of the things I mentioned in the last post, and I’ve recently decided to focus on learning & arranging new tunes, as well as playing acoustic baritone guitar (the target of the arranging). The transposing part of the baritone has come more easily than I expected, but the scale length is still a challenge.
My amp building has been on hold for the last 9 years in deference to mentally exhausting day gig work (and the loss of a good space for electric playing, and back trouble, and . . . ), so I’ve been playing instead of building.
I’m lucky to have a circle of musician friends that get together in various acoustic groupings about twice a month, but about half of them only ever play 6-string guitar. The music starts to get crowded when more than 4-5 players show up, so some of us have picked up alternate instruments.
Brer Stevo has always had the mandolin & banjo covered, and he and Spock are both better bass players than I am, so I’ve mostly settled on 8-string squareneck reso (in G6) and melodica. I recently picked up a baritone acoustic guitar that I’m also trying to work into the mix.
Alone at home, I’ve been playing with SONAR and some soft synths to feed my electronic music and recording interest. I also have both tenor and soprano saxes, but they get the least use of all these days (too loud for acoustic jams!).
So I’ve been busy enough, but not in any focused way.
I don’t expect to get very focused until I can finally get off the full time work treadmill (some time in the next two years), but I’m looking forward to getting serious about songwriting/composition when I do. I should also have plenty of time to work on my ideal studio amp, too.