So I've joined Twitter.
My BH and I went to a really fun wedding in Prince Edward County last weekend. Two of our good friends were getting hitched in the backyard of the bride's parents, and I was playing a song as part of the ceremony. It was a wild and crazy night, with lots of booze, dancing, good conversations and the rare chance to see my BH all sauced.
Well, I'm still failing you as a blogger these days, but at least I have some pictures this time. I call this one "Sadface," and it's the look Frida gives me when my BH leaves for work in the morning. She sits on his side of the bed, looking morosely at the distinct lack of human under the covers.
Life is great lately, just incredibly busy. I am loving the new job despite the madness, although it means I haven't been able to finish mixing my last two songs for the album. We're still trying to work out when that's going to happen, but we're not technically behind schedule yet. In the meantime, I'm working away at getting the new music web site up and running. Bit by bit, I suppose.
Here is one of my favourite people in one of my favourite places: my producer, Dean, setting up my favourite mic in the studio. Lots of good things in one fuzzy cell phone picture.
Here he is setting up the glockenspiel. I actually ended up playing it on the album. It sounded a bit like a demented nursery rhyme for psychotic children... But in a pretty way. Y'know?
Aah, my Frida looking out the side window. Those birds are leftover Christmas decorations, but I haven't had the heart to take them down. Eventually.
We've hired a dog trainer for Morty because he's turning into a lunger. I don't mind him scaring intruders and creepy people, but I do mind him scaring... Everyone else. Our trainer is pretty hardcore. She's really training us more than she's training Morty, but that's how the system works, it seems.
Oh my! Here I go again with my sporadic posting. I swear I'll get back on the wagon soon.
Booooo, I have been felled by a nasty cold.
Remember that time I fell off the face of the earth and forgot to update my blog? Dang.
1. I won the fight. Thanks, inner Transformer. New job for spring / summer! Woot! (picture me flexing my biceps)
2. I am so, so, so damn tired. I spent the weekend holed up in the studio, and although it was insanely productive and fun, I feel completely braindead. People have been asking me questions all morning and I've just been looking at them blankly, forgetting to respond.
3. We ended up hiring a longtime blog reader to play on the album yesterday! Hi Dave! Sometimes I forget that people actually read this thing.
4. Milan stopped by to take some photos of the studio... Maybe you'll see them here soon. My little point and click can't compete with his impressive lens. (Mind out of the gutter, y'all. I'm actually talking cameras here.)
5. My BH will be finished his housesitting stint as of tonight, and he's promised me a hot date upon his return. Yessss. He bought me tulips on Saturday, and I've gotta say, I miss the guy something fierce.
I feel like there is more to tell you, but I think I'll just stare blankly at the wall for a while and fantasize about sleep.
So this job stuff has gone completely nuts. It's moving fast.
I became unhappy about my work earlier this week. Yesterday I had an interview, which went swimmingly. Today I seem to have a very cool offer for a short work term, but management has to agree to let me go. Management seems to have remembered that I am a really good employee, and they are nervous. So I still don't know where I will end up.
This whole situation is teaching me about an oft-hidden aspect of my personality:
If they don't let me take the job, they will have a full blown, claws out, teeth bared, smackdown of a fight on their hands. Why? Because when things grate on my nerves, I morph into an unpleasant person to deal with. I can feel a growl inside of me and the volume is growing. I am not scared of my managers, and I am not scared of my managers' managers. I am ready to metaphorically tackle each and every one of them until they submit and call me Madam.
In fact, this part of my personality could well be illustrated by a terrible movie I haven't even watched all the way through: Transformers.
I am a normal, reliable car. I can get people from Point A to Point B. You can count on me to do my job without guzzling too much gas. I'm even fun to drive.
However, if you fuck with me, I turn into a giant, ass-kicking robot alien that will eat you alive. Dig?
In less terrifying news, I'll be in the studio all weekend making pretty music with some of my favourite people. I have no plans to kick anyone's ass into next week while I'm there. I will return to my zen state and enjoy the calm before Monday hits.
So. How are you doing?
Today was an absolute bust.
It figures that as my musical life is coming together, my day job would fall to shit. The upside is that I am long overdue for a change in work, and that the places I may end up sound pretty neat.
The downside is that office drama keeps me up at night and makes me want to watch Funny Or Die videos until I fall asleep on my laptop. Anxious, angry, and frustrated: kicking around in my chest.
My BH is housesitting for the week, so it's just me and the dogs. I honestly want to do nothing more than mull a pot of wine and watch dumb movies. I know there are more productive things I could focus my energy on, but that will have to be it for now.
Here is a picture of a cake, because I know you like cake.
And the cake likes you. It told me so.
Colour me shocked.
First of all, you guys are charming. I write what I think is the most boring post EVAR and you still comment. Love to you. Responses coming.
I'm thinking of shaving half my head. Not the underside like I used to... Just the left half. And I want patterns shaved into it. And I'm also planning two rather large tattoos.
I've always felt that I looked too tame on the outside. Maybe this is the start of the transition towards properly reflecting my trucker mouth / dirty mind. I welcome it. Honestly, I think working a safe office job is making me go a little nutso. Time to break out! BLAMMO!
Speaking of breaking out, it looks like there might be a high school reunion for my class this summer. We all keep in touch over Facebook, but it will be very fucking strange to see everyone in person. Awesome, probably, but strange. Some of my best friends are people I knew in high school, so I see them all the time, but for the majority? I probably haven't laid eyes on them since prom. The same prom where I drank my face off, crawled around in agony on my hotel room floor, got stranded in a dive bar called the Rum Shack, and lost most of my graduating class as soon as dinner was done.
Oh yeah, THAT prom.
Don't ask me how it all played out, because I don't remember much more than that.
I wonder what my 19-year-old self would have thought of Current Me....
She would have congratulated me for nabbing such a hottie, definitely. She would be super into my bulldogs. She'd love that I'm still recording music. She'd probably think my job was suffocating, but three out of four isn't bad. Come to think of it, she'd totally high five me for buying a house in my favourite neighbourhood. Dude, I didn't do too badly!
I feel like my life is in a holding pattern at the moment, which is probably why I'm not blogging as much as usual. I'm going through the motions, doing my everyday stuff, but it's all overshadowed by the looming album prep.
Here's the funny thing: it's not like I'm working around the clock on the CD. Quite the opposite. The only "work" I'm doing right now is helping develop the new web site, planning finances, sorting out my promo ideas, and waiting for my next studio session. It's just that this big goal is weighing on my brain, and it will continue to do so until it's finished. I like the weight - it reminds me of what I'm good at.
The challenge is to think of other things to talk about while my thoughts are stuck on a hamster wheel.
I know... How about French verbs? Do you know how spectacularly bad I am at French verbs, even though I can understand and speak the language without much issue? It's embarrassing, frankly, but I'm too stubborn to give up this easily. Here's my problem: I look at a French verb conjugation question, my brain says "THIS IS LIKE MATH! AAAAH!" and then I freeze. No matter how many tricks I memorize, how many times I go over verb charts, my brain has a seizure and runs away.
However, because I need to improve, I also need to find a way to understand something that insists on remaining abstract and distant. My coworker suggested I start reading in French, more than just work e-mails, to normalize how all these exercises are used in regular conversation. I think that's a great idea. Here's hoping I don't crash and burn. I think I'll start with Harry Potter in French, so I like the story enough to continue.
I could also talk about my dogs, which would be strange and unusual for me.
If you've been reading here a while, you may remember that when we got Frida last year, the transition to a two-dog household was anything but smooth. Both dogs were freaked out, they didn't get along, and Morty was sad. It was the worst.
It's been almost a year since that shitty time, and dudes, it's like night and day. Not only do they love each other, but they nap together (imagine limbs all entwined, porky bulldog dreams, and nuzzling), and they occasionally share toys.
THEY SHARE TOYS.
For about 8 months, whenever Frida would show interest in a toy, Morty would stroll over, knock her out of the way, and remove the plushie in question. Now, astoundingly, they can both chew on either end of a toy and be quite comfortable. It's a delightful transition.
And that concludes today's rambling post about French verbs, porky bulldogs, and heavy brains. Holy shit, I need to get out more.
More of those intense, vivid dreams. What is going on with my brain?
Photo 1: Morty playing couch monster. He squeezes himself under the couch, waits for fingers or toes to slide by, and attacks! It's his favourite game. I would like it too if I didn't get chomped on so often.
Photo 2: Studio mess. Love it.
Photo 3: Dean, being awesome. Love that guy.
Today has been a bit of a shit show, so I'm looking forward to wine and rest this evening. Even if rest comes with terrifying dreams. Do you think I could drink the dreams away? (I'll give it a shot, just for kicks)
Some things I've been up to when I'm not crying in the studio:
Having nightmares! It's the oddest thing. They aren't monstrous or dark, but they replay uncomfortable or unpleasant events over and over in my mind. I guess all this artistic fulfillment comes with a price. My brain is rebelling.
Avoiding my taxes! On top of doing my taxes for regular job stuff, I do taxes for my music, and now taxes for the duplex. I am so overwhelmed by the sheer amount of paperwork that I'm pretending tax season isn't approaching like a steam train. *fingers in ears, lalalala*
Enjoying French lessons! I finally switched teachers after I nearly got in a shouting match with the last one. My new teacher is my age, actually helps me improve my language skills, and gets my jokes. It's the greatest thing.
Painting the kitchen! Okay, I'm not painting the kitchen... My BH is. But he's doing a lovely job. We've been dealing with a serious case of The Ugly since we moved in here - the last owner put vinyl stick flooring on the walls instead of wallpaper. For serious. What a card!
I finally have a moment to tell you about studio happenings. Where to start?
I have ten songs to record over the course of three full weekends. This past weekend was the first of those. We started off recording "scratch tracks," which is a rough version of a song done (usually) to a click track. A click track is where the metronome clicks away loudly on top of the music - we do this to help the drummer (and everyone else) stay in time. The click gets taken out once the main work is done.
We got all our scratch tracks done, all our drums done, and a few real vocals / instruments done too. In short: a very, VERY productive weekend. We were a bit flabbergasted that it went by so quickly. We even finished a song, beginning to end.
Jack, the drummer, is by far the most professional drummer I've ever worked with. Not only did he chart out every song with his full part, but he got everything on the first or second try, and nailed every idea we threw at him. I was astounded, since I've worked with some very *relaxed* drummers in the past, and most of the time it's been a bit of a headache. Jack used to be my drum teacher, so it was neat to get to know him as a studio musician this time around. He's quite the perfectionist.
Dean is my engineer and producer. He was my engineer and producer for the last album too, so this all feels very familiar. However... One major thing has changed over the past four years:
We've both gotten a lot better.
I'm not saying that to be boastful. I'm really a bit surprised by how much we've learned since the last time. To put it in perspective, the last album took a year to record. This one may be finished in a month, maybe less.
Now that the meat and potatoes explanation is out of the way, let's talk about our feelings.
FEELINGS! - TIMONEER
This album didn't arrive with grace; it fought the whole way. As many of you know, I've been dealing with writer's block for over three years. As a songwriter, I was feeling pretty lost through the whole experience. My writer's block was kicked to the curb when a childhood friend of mine died this past summer - I had to write about it, or I was going to turn into a nervous wreak. So I wrote. And wrote. And the gates opened. And now there is an album in the works.
The song that started everything is called Timoneer, and I've had a hard time playing it since it was written. It just makes me so, so sad. But it needed to be recorded, so we dove into it yesterday with the intention of getting a scratch track finished. An hour an a half later, we had a completed song with four layers of harmony.
Dean put the song on when it was done so we could listen back in the comfort of the studio. He turned off the lights so that we wouldn't get distracted by all the mess. It was a good thing he turned them off, because I turned into a puddle as soon as the song started. I had been really focused during the recording, but now that it was done, it had the usual effect of making me feel like I'd been kicked in the stomach. I bawled my eyes out while it played, mopped up my face on my dress, and decided that now was a good time for a break.
The song is crazy good. It's just not very uplifting. Now I'm trying to decide how I can contact my friend's family to get them a copy. I think they would want it, but I don't know. I really don't know what to do about it.
FEELINGS! - MY BOYS
"My boys" will probably also include some girls, but for now, they are very much dudes.
I have a small group of musicians on this album due to the lack of time, and although we've only had one weekend so far, I feel like adopting them all. Maybe it's just me who sees it, but there's a real connection between me and the people who are helping me get this album done. I have no idea how to thank then properly (other than pay them, of course). They are helping me reach my goals, and I would fucking throw down for them. Basically, I'm saying that I love them to pieces. Especially Dean, who seems to share my brain, and is already talking about ideas for our NEXT album when this one is done.
FEELINGS! - MY JOB
Well, shit. I spend a lot of my time explaining why I like having a day job, why I am happy not doing music full time, why I am good at multi-tasking, and most of it is true. But then I get into the studio and I feel like I'm finally doing something right. This is what I do best. I'm good at my day job, but I don't miss it when I leave, and it doesn't invade my brain the way studio work does. What other job makes me cry because something comes out sounding exactly the way it does in my head?
So the question becomes... Is there any way I could be supported by my music?
I'd need to get out of debt, and I'd probably need to transfer major payments over to my BH, but even then..... Who knows. It feels like a lost cause. But it's on my mind.
Thanks for being patient if you've made it to the end of this post. There are so many words in my brain right now, and it looks like a lot of them spilled onto this here blog.
More studio updates soon!
Now that the album prep is in full swing, I'm being asked a lot of questions about my plans. Titles, song arrangements, design ideas, etc.
It's been tough deciding how much info to divulge before I start to censor... And this is for a few reasons. Mainly this: I question my judgement when I get too much input.
Last time I released an album, I let others guide me through the process. I got a lot of advice, weighed my options, and tried to make the best choices given what I had been told.
The thing is, after it was all done, I realized that I would have been much happier with my original ideas. I didn't like some of the things I tried; I didn't like how I had let myself be swayed by people's comments and suggestions.
So I think I'm done. Unless I deem it completely harmless, I'm not going to share too many album details until the work is finished. When it comes to creative projects, my gut seems to know what it's doing.... And I'm thankful for that.
Some things that are moving forward:
- The new website should be up by April! Squeee!
- I'm rehearsing this week with my drummer, and we record together next weekend.
- I have another new song, and I like it.
In unrelated news, look at my adorable dogs:
I'm starting to fall into a blogging rut as album preparations take over my brain. So... How about a point-form post?
What I've been up to:
- Went skating on the canal with Milan. He had assured me that he wasn't much of a skater, which I stopped believing after he did his seventh twirly thing and stopped on a dime. I responded by falling several times, moving at the speed of a slug, and preferring to ram into objects, people or walls instead of trying to stop. (I still don't really know how to stop)
- Helped celebrate Venus Envy's 10th anniversary at Club Saw. I co-hosted, worked the door, helped set up and tear down, and donned a shiny teal dress that might as well have been a shirt. It was a fine evening.
- I re-read the Harry Potter series in anticipation of the final movie coming out later this year. There's no denying it - I am a rabid fan.
- Took Morty to the vet. When the vet got down on her knees to whisper sweet nothings in Morty's ear, he got excited and pooped on the floor. Frida just purred happily. Those crazy bulldogs.
- Wrote another new song. Aww yeah.
More soon when I can think of something interesting to write about!
I'm home sick after a particularly vomitus evening. Is that a word? It is now, at any rate.*
I read a lot of blogs, and on those blogs I keep hearing people say that they are ready for spring.
Ready for spring? Ready for spring??
I'm going to hope that the people writing such things live in a warm part of the US, because I am just hunkering down for winter. January is going fast, certainly, but February and March have yet to arrive. I suspect they will kick our collective asses.
I guess what I'm trying to say is.... I can't think about spring yet. Too soon.
Speaking of hunkering down, the new album seems to be shaping up around a theme of hibernation. I like that. I also got a sneak peek at my new press shots, and I am super excited to get the finished product in my hands. According to my BH, I look angry in them. Great! This album already feels a lot moodier than the last one, so bring it on.
I'm also *tentatively* talking with someone about redesigning my web site. I say *tentatively* because I don't want to jinx the process... Do you know how hard it's been to find a fully-trained web designer? Good lord, if I knew there was such a shortage, I would have gotten myself trained up ages ago. Fingers crossed that they are cool, and that I can afford their services.
This weekend I plan to clean the house. For some reason, I have trouble motivating myself to do serious cleaning on weeknights. I'm saving it all up for Sunday, I guess.
Have a good weekend!
Dang! I missed de-lurking day! I seem to miss it every year.... It's like the Polkaroo.
Let's pretend it's actually today, shall we? Lurkers! Regulars! Pop out and say hello. :)
Some more musical things have happened. My old producer came to visit. We plied him with coffee, cinnamon buns and bulldogs. It was the perfect way to start discussing recording.
Dudes, I think I might find myself in the studio in under a month. I'll do some prep recording at home, we'll hash out our ideas in advance, and I'll be studio bound. I can't believe it's really happening. I don't have enough money to do a whole recording yet, but I'll just do what I can and figure it out as I go. Total opposite of how I did things last time. Remember, you can still donate here if you want to help support the new album!
I also did a photo shoot yesterday to get some new pictures for the album / web site. It was insanely cold and we shot everything in a dog park, so basically an open field. I couldn't feel my toes when we were done, but I'm feeling really optimistic about the pictures. I'll get to see them in about a week.
Oh, also? I got new hair. Or rather, I told my stylist to "have fun and shave something." Luckily she chose my head.
If you've been reading a while, you may remember that I love organizing and financial planning. Both those things are funny because while I may be organized, I'm not tidy, and while I may love financial planning, I'm bad at math. So I'm messy (but I label everything!), and very good at planning money (as long as I don't have to do multiplication).
I bring this up because a year ago, when I was finding my house and making plans to buy it, I was super on top of things. I had lists, I had savings, and I was having a great time. As often happens with house purchases, I didn't factor in a bunch of stuff when I was getting organized, and all my great lists went to shit.
I blame most of this on the renovations going over budget, the fact that we barely had a budget to begin with, and the fact that we were trying to do everything on one income. When my BH graduated and jobs weren't immediately rolling in, my stress hit the roof, and the following thing happened:
On payday, my mortgage would come out, my bills would come out, and my loan payment would come out.
Then I'd have about $100 for two weeks, with two adults, two dogs, groceries, and everything else that comes up in life.
This is a really roundabout way of explaining why my credit card got so out of hand.
It's funny because, as a financial planning geek, I could see what was happening. Obviously I didn't want to put anything new on the card, but short of living off lentils and avoiding all our friends, we would need to spend money here and there. We just held out hope that my BH would be able to find a good job, and then we'd tackle the mess.
Now my BH is working, and with his contributions, I have been able to dump money onto that card like you wouldn't believe. It feels so nice, and I'm going to keep it up until it's gone. Then I'm going to destroy my debt. Hear that, debt? I'm gonna fuck you up.
Some exciting things are happening.
1. I am booking studio time. It's preemptive, because I still don't know how much recording I'll be able to do at home, but either way I will need the studio for drums, mixing and general finessing. We're looking at March or April. Holy AWESOME. I have missed those long nights at the studio, and trust me when I say I never thought I would. I'll be heading back to my home away from home, Gallery Studios in the Glebe.
2. This weekend, I am doing a photo shoot with a fabulous local photographer who will help me pick the look for my new album / web site.* I still haven't secured a web designer (I honestly can't believe how hard it's been to find someone who can do what I need) but I've got the new site planned out and it's going to be neato. I might even dabble with the Twitter, even though I hate the Twitter. We'll see if I can stand it. What do you think, media-savvy folks? Is it worth it for promotion, or will it go the way of Myspace? Because part of me thinks it's the devil.
3. I have another new song, which means not only is my writers' block gone, I am writing more than I have in about six years. Morty isn't happy about it, because it requires handling instruments, and instruments are SCARY. Poor bulldog.
*"Photo shoot" sounds very posh, I know, but I can assure you this will be anything but posh. We plan to climb onto various roofs in Centretown, wrap me in oversized coats, and snap some shots without dying. It's going to be excellent, providing I don't die.
It's really winter this time.
We had a drastic thaw not long ago, and although I'm not a huge fan of the cold, I found myself missing the snow. Part of that was because I prefer full-on winter over transition weather, but I also don't like how messy my yard gets when it's wet with no snow.
A section of the canal is even opening this weekend! (Not this section, just so we're clear)
Although I've nurtured a lifelong hatred of winter sports, I do plan on buying skates, and I also hope to learn cross-country skiing. We'll see if either of those things happen this winter.
This is a print I bought for Shawna, gave to her, and then bought one for myself because I liked it so much. Now we're art buddies.
I kinda want a spoof version that says "Do WHO you love," but that's just me.
In completely unrelated news, it feels so good not to be gigging right now. I've got something booked for April, but unless I get an irresistible offer, I'm going to stay away from shows for the winter. There's plenty on my plate without gigging - I've got an entire recording program to learn, not to mention a whole lot of songs wanting to be written. Oh, and an album to record.
What was I thinking?
Anyway, it's probably a good way to spend the winter. Maybe I'll spend every winter recording an album. I hibernate when it gets cold, so it might actually be the perfect winter activity.
Huh. I love brainstorming on the blog. Look what I come up with! WINTER RECORDING MANIA.
Happy 2011, internet!
My New Years was very nice, but had some odd twists and turns. I haven't really caught up on my sleep either, so I've got zombie eyes and I'm fighting off a headache. I'm looking forward to napping, whenever that happens....
(Please let it happen.)
One good thing that came from the holiday is the fact that I finished setting up my new studio equipment. I now spend at least a few hours per week playing with my digital drum machine. Scary fun. Suppose I should actually get some recording done, though.
I took down my Christmas tree before NYE in an attempt to get the house in order, and then I regretted it almost immediately. I think I'll wait a bit longer next year. Up around Dec. 1, down around Jan. 1. That makes more sense. You only get a tree once a year, after all.
I made this bunting sometime over Christmas break with scrap paper and ribbon. It's uplifting and pretty - maybe it will stay up for winter.
CUTE. Those are some awesome bulldogs right there. They look like I interrupted an important conversation. I'd like to think it was about how to kill the resilient squeak in that yellow pig to the right.