Yay! It's A Blog! 2006-2010 - NaSoAlMo 2009 Archives


Recent entries from the NaSoAlMo 2009 Category

NaSoAlMo - Day Thirty

November 30, 2009

After much tweaking, I uploaded all my new songs to Bandcamp. Enjoy!

I like Bandcamp. In the stats area (where you can see how many times people started to play your songs and aborted tongue) it has a Defender game. I wasn't ever very good at Defender, but it's still fun to play for a little while.

I'm pleased with my NaSoAlMo songs this year. Just some stuff about them:

  • I used the tambourine I got last Christmas on Valentino's.
  • I got over my fear (not really fear, but let's go with it) of playing electric guitar. Thanks to my BGFF Shann for challenging me to use it.
  • For the first time ever, I think, I recorded a song that I didn't sing on. It makes me laugh a lot every time I hear it. Probably inside joke style, though. I Just Ate A Carrot features my Lunch with Brian buddy, Brian.
  • I'm tired of NaSoAlMo and I don't know what else to say about it anyway, so bye.

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NaSoAlMo - Day Twenty-Eight

November 28, 2009

I've completed the National Solo Album Month (NaSoAlMo) challenge again this year. Just before the Thanksgiving holiday, an idea came to me to put together a track with my keyboard using one of its pre-programmed beats, creating a melody line and adding sound clips from a Happy Hour with my friend Brian where I took video. The sound quality isn't good on the sound clips, but I think that makes it sound authentic instead of planned.

Boris the Spider is postponed until later.

I put the new track, "I Just Ate A Carrot", together this afternoon. I'll still probably monkey around with the other tracks to try to fix some things that make me cringe, but as far as writing and recording 29:09 minutes worth of music, I've done that. I'm at 30:01 right now.

Progress:

  • NaSoAlMo 1: The Things I Have Left (Done 4:21)
  • NaSoAlMo 2: Orbit (Done 5:07)
  • NaSoAlMo 3: Staycation (Done 4:18)
  • NaSoAlMo 4: When I Awake (Done 3:54)
  • NaSoAlMo 5: Valentino's (Done 4:55)
  • NaSoAlMo 6: Sandman Stories (Done 3:30)
  • NaSoAlMo 7: Q-Tips, Tissues and Tampons (Done 1:42)
  • NaSoAlMo 8: I Just Ate A Carrot (Done 2:14)

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NaSoAlMo - Day Twenty-Three

November 23, 2009

I finished mixing my ode to college days, "Valentino's", so I've just got one more song of 1:22 or more to go. That's for after Thanksgiving, I think.

I started listening through the other tracks to see what I might do to them. I made some adjustments to fix the muddy guitar or "Orbit," although I'm not sure I was successful. My ears aren't great, and I don't know what I'm doing. heh

I also added cymbal and gong to "Sandman Stories." I don't have a cymbal or a gong, but I have cymbal and gong sounds on my iPod Touch. The app is called Cowbell Plus. Yee Haw!

I uploaded the first song I recorded, so if you're ready to start listening, here's The Things I Have Left. It was my first crack at using electric guitar as the main instrument.

Progress:

  • NaSoAlMo 1: The Things I Have Left (Done 4:21)
  • NaSoAlMo 2: Orbit (Done 5:07)
  • NaSoAlMo 3: Staycation (Done 4:18)
  • NaSoAlMo 4: When I Awake (Done 3:54)
  • NaSoAlMo 5: Valentino's (Done 4:55)
  • NaSoAlMo 6: Sandman Stories (Done 3:30)
  • NaSoAlMo 7: Q-Tips, Tissues and Tampons (Done 1:42)
  • NaSoAlMo 8: Boris the Spider (Maybe!)

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NaSoAlMo - Day Twenty-Two

November 22, 2009

Yesterday, I recorded the vocals for "When I Awake." It's got piano, a keyboard bell solo and layered vocals. At one point, there are six vocal tracks... lush.

Today, I recorded all the tracks for "Valentino's." It has two-tracked acoustic guitar strumming start to finish, up to four vocal tracks at any one time, a keyboard accordion solo, tambourine and bass. I got the tambourine for Christmas last year, so I'm glad I wrote a song that it fits in.

I'm bummed that I've run out of time tonight to mix, but it's probably good to let my ears take a break. Hopefully, it won't sound like garbage tomorrow after the ear break.

"Valentino's" became a 5:00 song, so I'm only lacking 1:17 minutes to finish the challenge. "Boris the Spider" will be longer than that.

The plan is to finish mixing Valentino's before Thanksgiving (if I can muster the energy after the workdays). Then I'll have Saturday, Sunday and Monday to record "Boris the Spider" and do final touches to the rest of the songs. There are things that are nagging me about some of the songs I've already "finished". I suppose if I run out of time, I can do more to them after NaSoAlMo. Yeah... like that'll happen.

I hope to sleep well tonight because I have a java programming learning curve to climb tomorrow at work.

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NaSoAlMo - Day Twenty

November 20, 2009

I had a long day at work wrestling with Java programming. I'm trying to do something that should be so simple, but there doesn't seem to be a mechanism in Java to do it. I even kept researching it when I got home. I finally found someone asking a similar question on a forum, and someone else telling him that he needs to stop thinking like a Fortran programmer with columns and rows, and start thinking in terms of everything as an object. That's my problem... I think of everything like it's a spreadsheet. But, I think I know how to solve my problem now, and I have a whole weekend to forget about it before I go back to work.

On the music front, I listened to the keyboard accompaniment I recorded last night for "When I Awake," and I'm pleased with it. I tried to find a different tinkly bell sound for the instrumental part, but I couldn't find one I liked better.

Tomorrow, I'll record vocals. I revisited the lyrics and made some adjustments. If all goes well, I'll have this song finished by tomorrow evening.

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NaSoAlMo - Day Nineteen

November 19, 2009

I didn't do a NaSoAlMo update that last couple of days because I took a break from writing and recording. The only thing I did yesterday was think about cover songs, and I'm thinking about doing The Who's "Boris the Spider." Bass heavy and fun!

Tonight, I recorded the keyboard parts for "When I Awake." It was slow going at first, but I finally almost memorized the stupid chords, so I wouldn't have to look from the keyboard to the music stand constantly. I think it sounds pretty good.

Most of the day, I sat at my computer and played Bejeweled. What a waste of time. I can't stop. I was home from work because a crew came out to remove an ash tree and prune two more. Here are the before and after:

Two shaggy low-hanging trees and one dead one.

Two nice trees and a space where the dead one used to be.

NaSoAlMo Progress:

  • NaSoAlMo 1: The Things I Have Left (Done 4:21)
  • NaSoAlMo 2: Orbit (Done 5:07)
  • NaSoAlMo 3: Staycation (Done 4:18)
  • NaSoAlMo 4: When I Awake (Written, partially recorded ~ 4:00)
  • NaSoAlMo 5: Valentino's (Written ~ 4:30)
  • NaSoAlMo 6: Sandman Stories (Done 3:30)
  • NaSoAlMo 7: Q-Tips, Tissues and Tampons (Done 1:42)
  • NaSoAlMo 8: Boris the Spider (Maybe!)

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NaSoAlMo - Day Sixteen

November 16, 2009

I stayed home from work sick today. No really... allergies. Egads.

I started feeling better this evening, so I mixed "Sandman Stories." Then I listened to all but one of the songs I've done so far. Then I worked on the mixes of all four of the songs I listened to. That is the hazard of listening... I'll always find something wrong. It's also the reason I like to get a good start, so I have time to fix some of the things before the month is over. I was able to fix some sound issues with adjustments to EQ, and that makes me happy.

Sandman is done now, and it turned into a 3:30 song. That's another 15 minute gain, so that leaves about 1:45 to write or cover. My BGFF Shann says she wants me to do a cover. heh She said if I didn't, I could do one after NaSoAlMo, but I never want to do music again after NaSoAlMo. (Just kidding about not wanting to do music... I'm merely feeling the NaSoAlMo burn out).

Progress:

  • NaSoAlMo 1: The Things I Have Left (Done 4:21)
  • NaSoAlMo 2: Orbit (Done ~ 5:07)
  • NaSoAlMo 3: Staycation (Done 4:18)
  • NaSoAlMo 4: When I Awake (Written ~ 3:50)
  • NaSoAlMo 5: Valentino's (Written ~ 4:30)
  • NaSoAlMo 6: Sandman Stories (Done 3:30)
  • NaSoAlMo 7: Q-Tips, Tissues and Tampons (Done 1:42)

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NaSoAlMo - Day Fifteen

November 15, 2009

It's the last day of the first half of National Solo Album Month, and I spent the day in the recording room. I finished mixing "Orbit" and started recording "Sandman Stories."

Sandman is one of those songs I'm either going to walk away hating or loving. It turned out different from what I was going for. I wanted drums and distorted lead guitar wanking, but neither are in my repertoire at this point. As is, it's got a repetitive bass line, a cute little guitar riff solo (that took FOREVER to get close to right. harrumph), and lots of effects on the vocals. And spacey noises. I like spacey noises.

I'm tired. I've already stayed up past my bedtime working on music. I hope I feel like working on it tomorrow evening, but maybe I need a break. Sandman is going to be about 3:15, which means I only have a couple of minutes to account for.

Progress:

  • NaSoAlMo 1: The Things I Have Left (Done 4:21)
  • NaSoAlMo 2: Orbit (Done ~ 5:07)
  • NaSoAlMo 3: Staycation (Done 4:18)
  • NaSoAlMo 4: When I Awake (Written ~ 3:50)
  • NaSoAlMo 5: Valentino's (Written ~ 4:30)
  • NaSoAlMo 6: Sandman Stories (Needs mixing ~ 3:15)
  • NaSoAlMo 7: Q-Tips, Tissues and Tampons (Done 1:42)

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NaSoAlMo - Day Fourteen

November 14, 2009

Today I recorded one spoken word piece (Q-Tips, Tissues and Tampons) and most of a song (Orbit). This is super progress.

I worked on the words for the spoken word piece at Madam Mam's over lunch and some more when I got home. On the way home from Mam's, I figured out what I was going to put underneath the words. A simple G-major scale on the bass over and over in 4/4 time. I also added a surprise singing part at the end. I think it took less than two hours to record start to finish. It got me 1:42 closer to the goal of 29:09.

Then I started recording Orbit, which has taken me from about 3:30 p.m. to half past midnight. It's got rhythm guitar, bass, lead guitar, lead vocals and harmony. The rhythm guitar was kicking my butt because I was trying to do bar chords. Still can't do bar chords. Once I decided to do simpler chords, that part was recorded pretty quickly. The bass was easy and the vocals were mostly easy. The lead guitar was frustrating! I think I probably recorded it 50 times. Then I accidentally deleted part of it, and exclaimed "Crap in a basket!"

After all that, I decided it needed a spacey sounding intro and outro, so I found some sounds on my keyboard and recorded those.

I've mixed everything now except the lead guitar. I'll leave that for tomorrow. With all that, this song has turned into a 5:07 song. Woo-Hoo! That leaves around 2:30 minutes I need to write or cover.

Progress:

  • NaSoAlMo 1: The Things I Have Left (Done 4:21)
  • NaSoAlMo 2: Orbit (Almost Done ~ 5:07)
  • NaSoAlMo 3: Staycation (Done 4:18)
  • NaSoAlMo 4: When I Awake (Written ~ 3:50)
  • NaSoAlMo 5: Valentino's (Written ~ 4:30)
  • NaSoAlMo 6: Sandman Stories (Mostly written ~ 3:00)
  • NaSoAlMo 7: Q-Tips, Tissues and Tampons (Done 1:42)

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NaSoAlMo - Day Thirteen

November 13, 2009

Friday the 13th, Y'all! Woooo

This morning I stopped at Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf like I do most every morning. They have their holiday stuff out, and I've been eyeing the Peppermint bark, one of my favorite holiday treats. I bought a small package to have for afternoon snack.

I was feeling pretty good because I went to bed at a decent hour last night and had a good sleep. I was glad because I needed to do some recording this evening.

At lunch, I went to Moonshine, as I was craving their broiled trout with cornbread sage dressing. It's the only fish I ever crave, but I think it's because of that cornbread sage dressing on top.

As I waited for my lunch, I focused on lyrics for a song I started writing on day two of NaSoAlMo. The topic is the ring that my ex-boyfriend gave me when he said he wanted to be with me forever and what I did with it after he dumped me. I've been thinking about those lyrics throughout the last two weeks, so I didn't go back to my notes. I just wrote two verses straight out.

They aren't very lyrical, meaning the phrasing isn't melodic and the rhyming isn't there. I think it would work as spoken word, so I'm going to come up with some light music for the background and speak it.

Mid-afternoon, I had some of that peppermint bark. It was good, but the dark chocolate layer on the bottom was thinner than I like, and the sugar white layer was thicker. After eating almost two pieces, all I wanted to do was sleep. I thought I might go home from work as soon as I finished the current task because I was feeling so sleepy, but that task lasted all the way until quittin' time. At home, I didn't feel up to recording, so I lay on the couch watching Grey's Anatomy and Private Practice. I'm glad Addison is a cat lady now. Cat ladies rock.

Anyway... I'm glad I got some writing done at lunch, or it would be another day with no accomplishments. Now for the weekend!!

Progress:

  • NaSoAlMo 1: The Things I Have Left (Done 4:21)
  • NaSoAlMo 2: Orbit (Written ~ 3:45)
  • NaSoAlMo 3: Staycation (Done ~ 4:18)
  • NaSoAlMo 4: When I Awake (Written ~ 3:50)
  • NaSoAlMo 5: Valentino's (Written ~ 4:30)
  • NaSoAlMo 6: Sandman Stories (Mostly written ~ 3:00)
  • NaSoAlMo 7: Q-Tips, Tissues and Tampons (lyrics written ~ ??)

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NaSoAlMo - Day Twelve

November 12, 2009

Too tired for NaSoAlMo. I spent all my energy writing a bullet list for Lunch with Brian at Cantina Laredo. Going to bed. *snore*

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NaSoAlMo - Day Eleven

November 11, 2009

First I'd like to express my appreciation for veterans and all those who are still in the fight. Thank you.

Today's NaSoAlMo activities focused on recording "Staycation". I recorded the acoustic rhythm guitar first using my Johnson J-Station (an effects box). I like the sound of the guitar through the J-Station. Then I sang the lead vocal and harmonies. Then I had to figure out what to play during the three instrumental breaks.

I had my acoustic guitar plugged into the J-station still, so I played with the effects for a while until I found a fun wah wah sound. I used that for the first instrumental break.

The second was kazoo. Whoot!

The third was a distorted electric guitar lead with feedback! Since distorted electric guitar doesn't really fit with the song, I decided to change the lyric right before it to introduce it. The song is about things that happened on my Staycation, so I sang that I got to wank on my electric guitar [then it starts playing].

After I recorded that, I listened to the first song I recorded last week (The Things I Have Left) and decided to add bass to it. It filled it out nicely.

"Staycation" ended up longer than I anticipated, so that added another 18 seconds to the album. I think the last song I wrote is going to be longer than I originally anticipated, too. So I now estimate that I have 23:44 worth of music written. That leaves 5:25 to meet the challenge, and I still haven't picked out a cover song.

That means I have to record 5 or 6 more songs. It takes a day or more to record a song. I need to focus to make sure I get this done!

Progress:

  • NaSoAlMo 1: The Things I Have Left (Done 4:21)
  • NaSoAlMo 2: Orbit (Written ~ 3:45)
  • NaSoAlMo 3: Staycation (Done ~ 4:18)
  • NaSoAlMo 4: When I Awake (Written ~ 3:50)
  • NaSoAlMo 5: Valentino's (Written ~ 4:30)
  • NaSoAlMo 6: Sandman Stories (Mostly written ~ 3:00)

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NaSoAlMo - Day Ten

November 10, 2009

I continued working on "Sandman Stories" today at lunch and this evening. At lunch, I went to Cherrywood Coffeehouse to eat and write. That's how artful life should be. I really liked their mocha latte today. Usually, it's just okay. I think because she put whipped cream on it. I need to remember to ask for whip cream every time. I also had a Terra Taco (egg, potato strings, fried tofu, avocado, tomato [I think]) and fries.

This evening, I finished up the writing. Unless I want to change it again tomorrow. This song seems to evolve.

I also decided to add a spoken dedication to the Valentino's song. Might as well mention the folks who made Valentino's *the* place to hang out in San Marcos.

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NaSoAlMo - Day Nine

November 9, 2009

I went back to work today after a week off, and I was glad to be back. It was good to switch my focus to database maintenance and java programming. I think I needed to clear my creativity palette.

At lunch, I went to Kerbey Lane for breakfast food. While there, I thought a lot about the song I wrote last night and switched the direction. I threw out two of the three verses and all of the chorus. The title was "One Way Street." Now it's "Sandman Stories." Much better. I have two verses written and need one or two more.

I was too tired to do music tonight, though. I think I'm getting a cold. frown I hope it's just allergies. I've been loading up on zinc, and I'll use my nose squirt bottle before I go to bed to clean out the schnoz. If I get sick, it's going to make singing my album difficult. tongue

I suspect I'll be even more tired tomorrow night, but then I have Wednesday off for Veteran's Day. Yay!

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NaSoAlMo - Day Eight

November 8, 2009

I am so not feeling it. But I'm still writing. It's like when you're reading a book you don't like, but you keep making yourself read it. I've learned to let books like that go. Close them and pick up another. But NaSoAlMo is a challenge, and I'll keep at it.

It was rainy and gloomy today which made me realize how wonderful the weather was for my week off work. I'm grateful for that.

I spent time studying Google Maps for more places I thought of from my college days. Two in particular. My first boyfriend lived a couple of different places while we were together. I remembered where the first place was and saw it on my first trip down to San Marcos this week. The second place eluded my memory. All I could remember was the inside of the apartment and how I used to put liquid dish soap in the floor of the dishwasher so bubbles would come out of it when they washed dishes. Not very nice. *snicker*

I was feeling distressed that I couldn't even remember the general vicinity of the apartment. Argh. So I went street by street on Google Maps, hoping a street name would ignite a memory. It did! I found the apartment complex. Another ghost down.

Then I remembered a place on a river we used to drive to. It was near Canyon Lake, and I thought I remembered driving on Devil's Backbone to get there. Devil's Backbone is a curvy stretch of highway up on a ridge that's beautiful and scary. I found Devil's Backbone, and I found a place on the Guadalupe River where the satellite view looks exactly like where we'd go, but it seems like there are far more intersections than I remember having to navigate. I'll take it as a win, though. Maybe I'll travel to that spot again someday.

I sat down to write lyrics a few times this evening. It wasn't fun. If I'd had something else more fun to do, I would have done it. I tried to watch some of The Contract with Morgan Freeman and John Cusack, but it's not drawing me in. Seems pretty awful so far. I played a lot of Bejeweled, too, and that's starting to feel like a chore, but I'm addicted. One thing that was fun, though, was watching a live video broadcast of the Hometown Tales podcast on UStream.

I managed to get a song mostly written. I got inspired listening to Jane Jensen. I'm not sure I can pull it off. I don't care... I just want to finish this challenge, and there's nothing that says things have to sound good. The thought that next year is going to be a bye year for NaSoAlMo keeps running through my head.

Progress:

  • NaSoAlMo 1: The Things I Have Left (Done 4:21)
  • NaSoAlMo 2: Orbit (Written ~ 3:45)
  • NaSoAlMo 3: Staycation (Written ~ 4:00)
  • NaSoAlMo 4: When I Awake (Written ~ 3:50)
  • NaSoAlMo 5: Valentino's (Written ~ 4:30)
  • NaSoAlMo 6: One Way Street (Mostly written ~ 2:30)

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NaSoAlMo - Day Seven

November 7, 2009

Today was a better day for songwriting. I was still haunted by the ghosts I picked up in San Marcos on Thursday. I woke up early and thought about the house that some of the Valentino's pizza boys lived in on Ranch Road 12. The apartment I lived in that I couldn't find on Thursday was around the corner and down the way from that house. I looked on Google Maps. Some of the street names have changed, but I found the apartment I lived in. Funny, though, I couldn't find the pizza boys' house that started that memory.

After lunch, I took another roadtrip down to San Marcos to see it for myself. As I approached the city, other memories flooded in and something told me to take a left where I was going to take a right. That lead me to River Road where, on auto-pilot, I found another apartment that had a special meaning to me.

I stopped at Jo on the Go for a Milky Way (chocolate and caramel espresso) and drove around the city some more. I found that apartment I lived in that I couldn't find the other day and a townhouse where a boy lived that I visited about a class project once.

I also found the apartment where I stood outside the window and called out for my recently broken up ex-boyfriend. Everything looked exactly the same about that apartment. Oddly, I didn't *feel* the memories, but somehow it made them seem common instead of how they seemed before: special and weird.

When I got home, I sat down to write. It was a struggle, but I finally finished the song about San Marcos — specifically Valentino's Pizza, things that happened there and the people who worked (and work) there. I think the trip today helped me get through that.

With that one under my belt, I decided to tackle the song that I had already written music for, but no lyrics. It ended up having an astronomy theme. The words are sparse. I hope I can give it the feeling it deserves.

My progress is 20:26 written with 4:21 of that recorded. That leaves 8:43 of music unaccounted for. I haven't chosen a cover song yet, so I only have to write 1 or 2 more songs. That's a relief.

  • NaSoAlMo 1: The Things I Have Left (Done 4:21)
  • NaSoAlMo 2: Orbit (Written ~ 3:45)
  • NaSoAlMo 3: Staycation (Written ~ 4:00)
  • NaSoAlMo 4: When I Awake (Written ~ 3:50)
  • NaSoAlMo 5: Valentino's (Written ~ 4:30)

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NaSoAlMo - Day Six

November 6, 2009

I didn't do much writing and no recording today. I think the trip to San Marcos yesterday stirred up some ghosts. Not good ghosts or bad ghosts, just unwanted neutral ghosts. It bothers me that I couldn't find one of the places I lived. It's been 20 years, but still. Seems like you should be able to drive to someplace you lived without really thinking too much about it.

I think the ghosts are actually my memories trying to reform. I remembered that one or more of the Valentino's boys I hung out with lived in a house on Ranch Road 12. I remember a New Year's Eve party there, and I remember a fireplace. I think they didn't open the flue all the way because the house got very smokey. The smoke settled in my fancy sweater and I could smell it the next day. I remember driving around the corner from that house to go home during the party. Maybe to change my sweater. I took a couple of people with me and one of them, Penny, told me my boyfriend was trying to get with her. I didn't believe her and other people said Penny was a liar anyway.

I also remember sitting in my car in a parking lot at another boyfriend's apartment and breaking up with him (our second break-up). I also remember an earlier episode after our first break-up where I'd had too much to drink, and I went to his apartment and stood outside his window calling out to him in stalker fashion. The window was open but too high to see directly in. I could see his shirt hanging over the top of his closet door. I've never exhibited stalker behavior before or since, and that event still freaks me out. He didn't come out that night, and I never found out if he was home and ignoring me or away. I'm glad I didn't get arrested. Anyway... I had forgotten about that apartment while I was in San Marcos, and I've been driving the streets in my mind trying to remember where it was.

These are the types of memories that are stirring.

As for NaSoAlMo, I started working on lyrics at almost 10:00 p.m. I'd jotted a lot of San Marcos stuff down, but I think I have enough material to write a song just about Valentino's Pizza and some of my experiences with the people who worked there. I sat and over-edited one verse about the lady who served me pizza on my visit Thursday. I'm not supposed to over-edit because of the short timeframe for NaSoAlMo, but I couldn't help myself.

I think I've been away from work too long. That's my main source of face-to-face social interaction with people, and it's getting somewhat lonely being home. I don't look forward to getting up early on Monday, but I do look forward to the change of scenery and routine.

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NaSoAlMo - Day Five

November 5, 2009

I took a trip to San Marcos today. I went to school there back in the late '80s. I wanted to eat at my favorite pizza joint, Valentino's, and I wanted to buy a Texas State University jersey.

Of course, the faces have changed, but Valentino's is just the same. I ordered enough to bring some food home with me. While I sat waiting for my pizza, I brainstormed material for lyrics. I suppose I'll be writing a song about San Marcos. There are lots of places with lyrical names like Valentino's, Five Mile Dam, Gil's Broiler and Colloquium Square (to name a few).

They didn't have coffee shops on every corner back when I was in college. I would have been too poor to go to them as a college student, though. I found Jo on the Go and sat there for a while drinking a Butterfinger (dark chocolate and butterscotch latte) and writing in my notebook.

Colloquium Bookstore had jerseys, but they were $55. I settled for a t-shirt for $12.95. It's XXL, but I think when they added the extra "X" they forgot to actually make it bigger. It fits, but I'm afraid it will shrink in the dryer.

I tried to find some of the places that my friends and I lived. I found some, but I couldn't find one apartment I lived in. Things felt so familiar and foreign at the same time.

I got a lot of material for lyrics jotted down, but I didn't do any actual writing today. I practiced the two songs I've written that I haven't recorded yet. Some good news is that my fingers don't hurt so bad playing the acoustic guitar. My callouses are developing nicely. Yay!

During my trip to San Marcos, I was on a traveling high. I really do love to travel, and wish I could do more of it. When I got home, though, I fell into a post-travel depression that's common after a trip. I wasn't motivated to do anything. Later, my BGFF Shann called, and that made me feel better.

I have three days left before I have to go back to work. The week has gone by so fast. I'm not sure what I'll be doing tomorrow. I hope I get some motivation to work through the phrases I wrote in my notebook today and form them into a song. Or two.

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NaSoAlMo - Day Four

November 4, 2009

It was a good day here at Casa NaSoAlMo. I got up kind of early for Chick-Fil-A breakfast. Man... I love being able to get a bacon, egg and cheese biscuit and not have to go to work after.

I had two songs working throughout the day. One is the heart-wrenching piano piece and the other is the whimsical guitar piece that yearns for kazoo.

I had written two verses for the guitar piece yesterday, but I still didn't have the theme worked out. As I was playing it through this morning, though, it became a song about my staycation. Something in the vein of "Lunch with Brian" or "Saturday." With that in mind, I went to Waterloo Ice House for tacos where more stuff happened that went into the song. Once I had the theme, the verses wrote themselves. I left the choruses for later.

After lunch, I ran errands (post office and grocery store). I stocked up on far too many snacks including pork rinds! Pork rinds are good for when I'm on a low carb diet, but I'm not on a low carb diet, so they are very bad. I also got two small containers of ice cream (Ben and Jerry's Chocolate Fudge Brownie and Haagan Das Peanut Butter Chocolate). Very, very bad. Maybe the two heads of cauliflower and two bunches of celery will make up for it. (NOT)

Then I went into the music room to see if a lyric idea would come out of the heart-wrenching piano piece. The thought "If you could dream on demand, what would you dream?" came into my head. That was the spark.

I wrote a couple of verses and then went to Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf for iced tea and a chocolate chip scone. I sat for a while at a table and worked out the rest of the lyrics. I have one or two lines I want to change, but I'm very pleased with this one. I timed it, and it came out to around 3:50.

My experience at Coffee Bean also needed to be added to the Staycation song, so I did that when I got home. I also finished writing the choruses late this evening. I'm not sure how long that song is. Hopefully, it'll stretch to 4:00 which leaves about 17:00 to go.

Progress:

  • NaSoAlMo 1: The Things I Have Left (Done 4:21)
  • NaSoAlMo 2: untitled (music partially sketched)
  • NaSoAlMo 3: Staycation (Written ~ 4:00)
  • NaSoAlMo 4: When I Awake (Written ~ 3:50)

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NaSoAlMo - Day Three

November 3, 2009

Today was horrendous headache day in NaSoAlMo land. I got up at 10:00 a.m., which surprised me, but I guess my body is still on the "spring forward" time, so that would seem like 11:00 a.m. I think I already had a small headache, but things are a blur.

I read that my friend Sarah got an article published in a local magazine called "Toto" that's available in Hyde Park coffeehouses. I decided that would be my adventure for today. I got in the car and plugged in the iPod and started listening to the guitar track I recorded yesterday to see if any lyrics would emerge. It sounded awful. I've been playing with a J-Station effects box, and I'm still at the stage where I haven't learned that just because you can use an effect, doesn't mean you should. Too much tremelo. Yuck.

On the way to Hyde Park, I stopped at La Posada for lunch, but they were closed for a family funeral. While I sat in the parking lot, lyric ideas for a different song started going through my head. I got my notebook out and jotted things down.

Then I drove to Fuddruckers. I usually like Fuddruckers, but today it was not good. I think they put garlic on the hamburger patty because after I ate my burger, I tasted garlic for hours.

By the time I left Fuddruckers, my head was starting to pound. I pressed on to Hyde Park for my adventure, though.

I landed at Dolce Vita for a mocha latte and a slice of chocolate mousse cake. The guy from whom I ordered told a girl "When you go back in your hole far away from me, will you bring out a slice of chocolate mousse cake?" Then he smiled at another guy. I don't know what that was about, but she brought me my cake. Yum. I liked the mocha latte, too. It was served in a tall, clear glass mug. I looked for Toto magazine, but didn't see it.

I jotted down a lot of other thoughts. Nothing that came together into a song, but hopefully will later. Sometimes the song is there, but it needs some music to make it gel. Topics include things I've dreamed about recently, a lyrical street name and how the heater makes my nose bleed.

By this time, my head was splitting, and my belly was full. I bought some Topo Chico water and headed for home with the intention of putting NaSoAlMo on hold and laying down for a nap. I wasn't convinced it would help because lately my headaches haven't be relieved by sleep, but at least I wouldn't be hurting while I was sleeping.

Orion cat napped with me. I think I slept for a couple of hours before the doorbell rang. I thought it might be my next door neighbor who I've been wanting to talk to about my trees being pruned soon, but it was a kid — kid in relative terms — selling AT&T U-verse. I sent him away.

I was in a post-nap zombie-like state (sans brain cravings), so I sat at my computer doing non-productive things for a while. Then I got productive. I washed the dishes, swept the front porch, cleaned the front door and porch railing, and started writing a song. It's a song that needs a kazoo solo. It's also a song that has easier chords than the one I was working on last night, so my fingers don't hurt so bad when I play it on the acoustic guitar. It has the word "wookie" in it, too. I wrote two verses, but that's all I could wring out of it today.

This evening, I turned on my keyboard, and came up with a heart-wrenching chord structure for another song. It's nothing terribly original and kinda sounds like a Pink Floyd song off of "The Final Cut" in one place, but it'll do.

I think my progress is good, but I still don't feel confident that things will come together. I did feel confident earlier today, though, when the lyric ideas were flowing. I will press on.

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NaSoAlMo - Day Two

November 2, 2009

I started the day very early for a day off. Lily Dawg got me up at 6:00 a.m. for breakfast. I had intended on going back to sleep on the couch while watching TV. I had just settled in under the warm blankie, when I heard the distinctive sound of a cat projectile vomiting.

Orion got sick on my bed. Right where I sleep. And I had just changed the sheets two nights ago. He also got a fair amount of sickup on the floor, so I had to clean the carpet as well as change the sheets on the bed.

After that ordeal, I was wide awake, so I went to Chick-Fil-A for breakfast. After that, I sat at the kitchen table and brainstormed lyrics. If that song gets done, it'll be another "I hate my ex-boyfriend so much that I'm going to write one hateful song after another about him" type song.

After that and showering and watching some Grey's Anatomy, it was time for lunch, so I took my iPod to Madam Mam's and listened to the music I recorded last night. The lyrics that emerged were about the night my Dad died how I can sense that he's still around sometimes. I added a bridge, too, and the song ended up being 4:21 minutes. Oh man... I should extend it to 4:28 because he died on 4/28. I might do that, but it's already sufficiently introed and outroed, so I don't know what I could add.

I also worked on the chords for another song. I started writing that one on my acoustic guitar, and that makes my fingers hurt (no callouses yet). The electric guitar seems to be more forgiving with the fingertips, so I'm turning it into an electric guitar song like the first one.

I recorded the chords twice through, and put that in my iPod for tomorrow's lyric session. I'm considering going to Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf.

Progress so far:

  • NaSoAlMo 1: The Things I Have Left (Done 4:21)
  • NaSoAlMo 2: untitled (music partially sketched)

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NaSoAlMo - Day One

November 1, 2009

My success with National Solo Album Month (NaSoAlMo) is being threatened by a computer game (Bejeweled). Argh. I need to turn the computer completely off for a long stretch tomorrow.

I did manage to get a guitar part written and recorded and transferred to my iPod. It's the first time I've recorded electric guitar. I like the sound of it. Tomorrow, I'll take the iPod on an adventure and see if repeated listens will make lyrics magically form in my head.

I feel like I'm behind already, but that's just silly. It's only day one!! Now it's time for bed.

Last year, music came to me while I slept. I hope Mr. Sandman brings me some chords this year.

Goodnight!

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Today is four things

October 31, 2009

  1. Today is Halloween. Happy Halloween!
  2. Today is the first day of my week-long staycation (meaning I'm staying home from work for a whole week).
  3. Today is NaSoAlMo eve (meaning the day before National Solo Album Month starts). That's why I'm taking a staycation.
  4. Today is UT vs. Okla State. Hook 'em 'horns!

I started the day by getting out of bed relatively early for a weekend (10:00 a.m.) and going to Chick-Fil-A for a chicken biscuit. To prepare for the rest of my staycation and NaSoAlMo, I'm going to spend today doing errands and chores. I need to buy toilet paper because no one wants to run out of toilet paper on staycation. I need to buy pet supplies, too.

I cleaned the shower while I was taking a shower. I plan to clear the old food out the refrigerator and attend to the paper clutter that's lying about. Attending to the paper clutter probably means I'll diligently file papers away for about 20 minutes and then put the rest in a box out of sight for later. I'll be doing this because I want a clean and uncluttered environment to be creative in.

What is today to you?

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