I’m turning into a complete WHACK-JOB!

I must be losing it today. I feel like everything is just falling apart around me.

First, I couldn’t authorize a gasoline purchase because the card was telling me that I had insufficient credit. First of all, this was a debit card! As well, there was more than enough to cover the gas purchase and as expensive as gasoline is these days, it sure as heck didn’t put me over my daily spending limit! So, here I am thinking that there is a problem now with my bank.

Next, because of the stupid bank machine delays from getting gas, I had to take the 407 to get in on time today because I was late getting into the Mississauga rush, which would make me late for sure. Getting off the 407, my transponder doesn’t give me the acknowledging beep when I passed under the exit checkpoint. Now, I’m really starting to think that the computers are against me.

Next, I try to get online with my bank to see if there’s a problem. The bank’s site doesn’t respond, and it doesn’t even bother to tell me that I’m logging in with the wrong protocol. Even worse is that it doesn’t even bother to redirect me to the proper protocol. How totally lame… and we’re talking about one of Canada’s major banks. So, now I do get on and it asks me a security question. I had the answer right and yet it kept telling me that I was wrong. How totally frustrating. At least it was kind enough to ask me another question that I had no problems answering. Sure enough, no problem with is shown with the bank. Joelle confirms this by talking to the bank.

Finally, I’m trying to integrate some files for a project, and they are INCOMPLETE! So, now I have to harp on my project co-ordinator and get him to light some fires. However, it doesn’t get the project done any quicker!!

So, in all of this… if God has a plan for His own glory to show through my complete and utter insanity, I can’t wait to see this! It ought be to as good or better than I am crazy!

Submitting to His call…

After one of the most trying weekends doing a wedding photo shoot in Wasaga Beach, bringing me to a crossroads as to whether I ever want to shoot weddings with Joelle anymore, I came home all worn, tired and in a rather bitchy mood altogether. As a result, I was considering postponing Natalie Pifer, a member of our church and one of the most brilliant vocalists I have ever heard, for a while until I could get myself sorted out. Funny how I had asked Joelle, who I am still very much at odds with right now, to do this and she refused and said if I want to do have this done, I need to do it myself. Basically, I told Joelle to forget it and I will handle it because I didn’t need any further hassles from her.

Thinking of how I was going do to tell Natalie on my way home, guess who steps in… God! Wouldn’t you know it, He whispered to my heart going “Why? Why should she have to suffer for this? Record her and leave the rest to Me!”. Suddenly, I got in the door of the house all motivated and went straight to the basement and fired up the computer and the audio interfaces. I got the drums and bass tracks all ready just in time for Natalie’s arrival to do vocals.

Boy, am I glad I listened to God. Natalie did the absolute best vocals that I have ever recorded from her and I was excited. The song was really pulling together and her vocals not only made me feel better, but her words assured me, and it felt like she was carrying a message from God, Himself. It was an amazing experience just listening to her song.

We had a few happy accidents along the way and discovered how much we really liked these parts. There was one part where her guitar playing stopped on one of the parts and all that was left was her voice and she kept singing and all I could say was “I don’t know about you, but I loved it…”. Fortunately for me, she agreed. We then built on that part and I felt the emotions of the song just rise up even more. It was fantastic. It was just as fantastic waking up early this morning and editing the guitar parts and listening to this over and over again.

And to think, all I did was listen and submitted to His will. I should do that more often.

My baby… restored!

Last night, I was at my local Long & McQuade ordering a case for my 30-year old Ibanez Artist (that I’ve been through hell and back, as life would describe it) because that guitar is really like my baby. It’s like it has been my best friend during my worst times. I had already taken steps to revive it, as mentioned in one of my previous blogs. This time, I wanted to take it a bit further. I remembered Steve at L&M telling about the Fender Restoration Kit, and after getting an enthusiastic response from Doug last night over there, I decided to plunk my $30 down on it to see what it could do for my baby.

In short, I was amazed…

I applied the Mist & Wipe first and things started looking good. Afterwards, I applied the Swirl & Haze Remover with their supplied foam applicator and that’s when the magic happened. The entire finish came back to life and a lot of the surface marks disappeared. I felt like I got a new guitar from it. It simply looked amazing. I then applied the Fretboard Deep Conditioner and it just lifted all of the dirt off of the fretboard. That ebony fretboard was a black as could be. If anything, I really wanted to play it last night, but it was time to go to bed.

Just to make sure that I wasn’t dreaming, I had a look at the guitar this morning before I went to work. It still had the same WOW! factor on it as it had last night. It made me realize just how beautiful my baby looked back then, even though I never really appreciated it that much then. I sure do appreciate it now!

Control Surface Revelations

I was going to write about my gripes with Kaki King over her remarks she made about Rush, but after searching her out on MySpace and listening to her music, I discovered that she just wasn’t that interesting enough as a musician to write about.

So, moving forward…

I got an email to a tech support ticket that I made with Mark Of The Unicorn that opened up a whole new world to me. I got so jazzed about this, that I spent half the night just playing to see that it was true. They helped me set up my Mackie board so that I was able to control the CueMix software that speaks to my audio interface. If anything, I just didn’t realize how much control it gave me. I discovered at the press of a button, I was able to control all of the routings within the studio from the one board. This in itself is amazing because I can control my monitors and my headphones amp right from the board itself. Don’t have to fumble with my mouse. To me, that is totally freakin’ cool and a lot more interesting because it totally removes the awkwardness that I have been putting up with for 3 years. As soon as I saw my faders shoot up to their audio positions, I was in a whole new world.

One more reason that ditching my M-Audio Project Mix for the Mackie was one of the best moves I ever made.

Croquet? I Don’t Think So…

Joelle decided that she would buy a croquet game because it was on sale? Of course, my curious nature got the best of me and caused me to ask, why she would buy this. Her response was that of “I thought this way, we could do something together as a family?”

I don’t think so…

Not that I don’t do family things… we just don’t need to do this. What is the family into? Let’s see… music! I love to play guitar; Jack loves to play guitar; Josh would love to play and instrument, but he does sing; heck, Joelle even has more percussion that makes more noise than cookware! Not to mention that I love to record. I’d say that this one is a no-brainer! Joelle seems to not want to have anything to do with music, despite of everything she says. My life is built on music. If it doesn’t have music, it doesn’t have life to me. I have been wanting to do music stuff with Joelle for the longest of time and it seems torturous that she doesn’t want to do so! We used to play guitar, keys and record all night when we were younger. She used to sing on various songs. Now, she doesn’t do anything musical, short of turning on CMT… and hardly during the times it plays music. Where has the music gone?

And then she springs this stupid croquet game? Right now, I would like nothing more than to smash the game with its own mallets!

She even seems to be deluded into the thought that we are doing photography together. Hell no! We are doing a job together… which I may add is very unsatisfying considering that I really get nothing out of this company. But, as usual, she doesn’t get it. Maybe she needs a good hit in the head with the croquet mallet to knock some sense into her.

If Joelle wants to do something together, then maybe she should look around and see what everyone else is doing and join in, rather than try to make her party and strong arm people to join in.

Thus I will put it clearly and openly to you, Joelle:

I like music… no, I love music. I love to play guitar. I love to sing. I love to write, record and produce songs. If anything, seeing me with guitars and recording gear almost all my life should have given you the slightest clue! I’m surprised you haven’t noticed this after 26 years of marriage.

Integrity… something GM lacks!

I don’t know about anyone else, but where I come from, a deal is a deal. To me, handshake deals are more valuable than the ones written on contracts, because if I can’t trust a company to a point where I need to have a contract, then what’s the use of doing business with that company in the first place.

Funny enough, Joelle and had a little discussion on this matter when she was listening to the news about the CAW’s blockade of GM’s plant in Oshawa. At first, she was sympathetic towards GM. Joelle didn’t realize that GM had already signed a contract agreeing that the plant would be open until 2012, which is why off-duty CAW members are blockading the plant in protest. Now that she knows what the score is on the GM situation, both of us are definitely more sympathetic to the workers in the GM plant itself, and we’re not considered union people (but we do have many friends in the CAW).

Plainly, GM has done wrong. They broke an agreement. People are out there not only fighting for their jobs, but for what is right in this case. GM going to court to stop the blockade is a cowardly move, and is also showing bullying tactics by going after the CAW leaders. The CAW is not doing anything wrong and the damages the GM is seeking are being caused by their own selves. The bible even talks about integrity. This is something that GM totally lacks, and I would be hard pressed to get our next vehicle from GM in November. I know that it is a catch-22 situation because if everyone does this, then more workers suffer. However, I have no intention on dealing with a company that doesn’t stand behind the people that make that company what they are. Even more so, I have no intention of dealing with a company that lacks the integrity to deal with its workers fairly and walk all over them. After all, if they lack integrity with their own employees, then how in the world can they claim to have integrity with their customers.

And I am a customer and I’m watching you GM. This is the internet… welcome to the world of worldwide infamy in a matter of seconds. Govern your moves with your workers accordingly… perhaps there are other people that just may be reading my blog that are customers.

Memoirs of a would-be left-handed drummer…

Last night, while over at my eldest son Henry’s house playing Rock Band with him, my other son Jack, and my eldest daughter Margot and her husband Jonny, we decided to switch instruments and I wound up playing drums of all instruments. Now, I am no drummer, but I did learn huge from last night’s fun. The first thing that I learned about myself is that I am able to keep a rhythm on the drum pads using my left hand for the kick/snare combo while my right hand does the hi-hat ride cymbal combo. I also don’t play well when my arms cross over each other. Although, I can cross over my hands if I change their roles. And, the kick drum would have to go on my left foot. It taught me that I would also have a very weird drum kit set up, if I were to play drums.

What does this all mean…

Well, I was able to translate almost everything I learned from playing the Rock Band drums last night to my Trigger Finger. I also discovered that the Trigger Finger in it factory setup is way too weird for me. No wonder I would always have such a hard time playing drums. The hi-hats were on the opposite side of what I was playing last night and I certainly don’t wish to cross over my hands in such a short space. So, I went over my current patches and reversed the positions of the kick, snare, toms and hats. All of a sudden, everything felt so natural to me. All of a sudden, I was tapping out drum beats like crazy and doing various rolls with ease. I then did this to almost all of my other patches and all of a sudden it felt like new life had sprung forth. It may not sound like much to anyone reading this, but to me, it means a lots because in a game with no rules, I was feeling confined and last night set me free in so many ways! I learned so much about myself by putting myself out of my comfort zone and was able to use the information that I got back from it.

I definitely should try that more often… and perhaps some more drumming too. Who knows… it may help my guitar playing.

An Early Father’s Day Honouring

Last night, I felt so honoured by my oldest daughter, Margot. She back in Guelph for a week with her husband, Jon, and she did something for me that I totally did not expect… she cooked a fantastic dinner for the both of us. Here’s a girl who in my opinion deserves a rest from all of her hard work at the University just to get her Master’s degree, and what does she do? She practically spent the afternoon in the kitchen cooking. It made me feel that this is a girl that loves her dad, to go to all this length. Not that the others don’t (as Dina, Henry and the others have often expressed it as well), so don’t get me wrong.

If I never get to express it again, I will say that I am blessed to have the kids that I do. I am more than proud to be their father. They may not appreciate some of the things that we do now, but it always seems to show later on in life that they appreciated on some level what we had to offer them in life. I may not have been such a great dad to them, but I always love them.

Feelin’ like a total n00b!

Okay… here I am with my new 8-core MacPro and have gotten everything transferred from the G5 on over. So far, that’s running smoothly. Logic works like a dream and BFD2 runs without breaking a sweat. I also put the unit through its paces putting together a wedding package for one of our clients in record time. The results were astounding. I still know my way around the underbelly of the machine via the Terminal, and I can still program in Cocoa and Objective-C.

Then why do I feel like a total n00b when it comes to setting up and running a Linux virtual machine? As soon as the VM boots up, I go goofy and have this total deer-in-the-headlights look on my face. If anything it’s a sister OS to the FreeBSD OS that is running Mac OS X. The commands are not that far different. Yes, there are a few minor setup and operational differences, which also vary between various brands of Linux. However, it’s not a totally different OS. I should be able to manipulate my way through that OS just like I do with FreeBSD.

It must be a psychological thing. I can’t see anything that should hamper my abilities to set up a virtual HTTP server along with PHP/MySQL, Python/MySQL or Tomcat/MySQL. Perhaps, I just need a bit more faith in myself and tell myself that everything will be alright and perhaps keep repeating that it’s all the same thing.