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Charlie's Journal
20 most recent entries

Date:2009-08-30 11:08
Subject:Barflies Show

Here is my post to the Interrobang Cartel group related to the show I have been working.

If you are in the area, the schedule and tickets are available at http://www.pafringe.org/details.cfm?id=8829

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Date:2009-07-27 07:48
Subject:Another Interrobang Cartel song...

This is a piece done by majorzed that Rebecca and I helped with. Rebecca did the singing. (I just contributed a small guitar segment).


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Date:2009-07-05 20:46
Subject:A week in Alaska

I spent the last week up at our cabin, (still odd thinking of it that way, it still feels like Dad's cabin), getting some chores done and finally finishing the probate paperwork with the lawyers in town. The quick summary is that it was a relatively quiet time of reading and fix-it jobs and visiting with people in the valley. A more detailed description is found in the cut.

Read much more...Collapse )

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Date:2009-01-29 18:56
Subject:Interröbang Cartel - Go Past Inflatable Wumbles

After finishing up songs for the Tribute Album I went back to work on the tracks for Bad Coelacanth. The latest track I have finished is Go Past Inflatable Wumbles the last track of Part 1.

This is one of the stranger collections of song titles and lyrics and for IBC that is saying a lot. The links above provide information about the album as well as the songs.

Here is a link to the actual MP3

While the "lyrics" if one can call them that are challenging in many ways, I am quite happy with the music. There is a nice groove to the rhythm section and some rocking guitar parts. I am also happy with the Wumble sounds which I created.

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Date:2008-12-21 18:53
Subject:Interröbang Cartel - Tribute Album Song work

There has been a big push to finish the IBC tribute album.

Queen's Blue Peter Badge was on my list for a long time but I was stuck on a number of things. For some reason this weekend I had a break-through. I sped up the meter a bit and was able to finish integrating the original theme song into the bridge. Somehow it all came together in form that I am happy with.

The link is here.

Major Zed and I have been collaborating on Monkey Origami. Still a bit more work to do, but progress is being made. I think we can really finish the album this year and prevent the time paradox that would potentially destabilize the entire universe. That is a lot of responsibility, and I hope everyone appreciates the work we are doing. And you thought a bad economy was the real issue of the day.

This post somehow got stuck in draft mode and never posted so I am posting it now. 1/29/2009

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Date:2008-11-04 17:30

I must have hit things just right, as there was no one else in line at the voting station.
Apparently things were quite busy this morning. Now we sit back and wait for the results.

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Date:2008-10-13 22:54
Subject:Home Studio 7 upgrade

Home Studio 7 upgrade arrived today.

I just finished installing both DVD's of software and goodies.

The UI is once again revised so I have to learn things again, however it looks like the changes are improvements for the most part of version 6. Particularly getting to track options is simplified I think. All of my old instruments from 6 were picked up in the scan when the program started so I am very happy about that. I brought my current project Queen's Blue Peter Badge and it had no trouble.

One immediate new feature is a set of instruments named Studio Instruments. This includes SI Bass, SI Drums, SI Strings and SI Electric Piano. I was not entirely happy with the DSK bass sounds. They were pretty good but not great. The SI Bass is great. It has many different sounds and configurations that can be pulled in, and in the tool window it provides a variety of music samples to listen to the patch to see if it sounds like what you are looking for.

Right away I found a bass tone that I liked.

The SI Strings are also quite good. Lots of variety and pretty realistic. Looks like I can have some serious fun with this stuff.

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Date:2008-10-09 20:13
Subject:Grrr, arg...
Mood: frustrated

The FIOS router is misbehaving. All cabled ethernet ports are not working. However at least the wireless still works, (otherwise I would not be posting this). The router lacks any significant diagnostics. The diagnostics page basically allows a ping of an external site. Mostly useless.

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Date:2008-03-15 17:44
Subject:New IBC Song Entry

It has been a while since I worked on any songs. Kind of a musical writer's block I think.

A typical kibology discussion resulted in lyrics and I liked the title. This one fell together pretty quickly (about 2 days of work). I think I got a pretty good ZZ-Top sort of sound to it.

Too Drunk To Fsck

Please enjoy...

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Date:2007-12-06 23:55
Subject:Expanding the Blogosphere

Some other people have been exploring other forms of blogging.
For me LJ has mostly been a way to link to the Interrobang Cartel group, and stay up to date on musical developments. However much of the discussion has moved to a site specific forum. (This is part of a long term project to re-vamp the IBC web-site).

The remainder of my posts typically are related to either music or travel. I think since there is no main intended focus to the posts I often consider many topics not relavent (or probably boring to most people).

Since I already have my own web site and domain dedicated to the Spaceroom Project, I have taken advantage of WordPress.org's downloadable package and have setup a Spaceroom Blog. related to the development of the project.

It took about half and hour to setup and worked right out of the box. I haven't enabled comments yet. I am still pondering whether I am interested in them in that context. I like the specific focus though since it is clearly about Spaceroom stuff.

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Date:2007-09-28 09:32
Subject:Steve Vai at the Keswick Theater in Glenside, PA

Price of ticket: $45 (includes processing fee)

The venue was very cool. 1300 seats on one level in an old style theater. There is not a bad seat in the house. I would highly recommend any concert there. I was in the second real row on the floor in the center. (As in a normal theater there is about a 20ft space between the first row and the stage. They had put simple chairs in 4 four in from so I guess I was in the sixth row.) In any case it was basically as if they were playing in my living room. F'cking awesome.

The concert started with an opening band, "The Mark Wood Experience featuring members of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra." The musicianship was impressive. Mark played a hand built 7 string fretted violin thing that was somewhat shaped like a flying V guitar. He was was very proficient and he got sounds that were often similar to a guitar and used a lot of effects. Unfortunately he couldn't compose a song to save his life. It was most just a frame work for his noodling. Towards the middle a girl came out and "sang." It wasn't that she couldn't sing, she had a powerful voice and was in tune, but aside from one song with actual words, it was more like the oh, ah, oo, yahs. The base player moved hands around a lot but mostly it just sounded like a rumbling sound that was too loud in the mix. And yeah it was loud. My seat was actually shaking.

Thankfully, they played their set very quickly since they were psyched to get to see Vai play. The set change was fast, about 15 minutes. Then as the tech guy tries to get the guitar working we get to watch him sweat for about 10 minutes while he tries to figure out why the the sound keeps cutting in and out. He switches from wireless, to cable, and then starts checking cables to different devices. From the sound it seemed like one of the boxes had a battery that would fail and the sounds would do a quick fade and buzz.

Eventually he gets things going and the show begins. However in the second song something goes wrong again, at which point Vai stops the song and has the tech guy come out and fix it. After more playing with cables and stuff until he finally goes off stage and bring out a new Wah pedal. After that no problems.

The supporting band was made up of new people so I have no idea who they are, but all were outstanding. And the band actually had two violin players, one was a beautiful asian girl on a traditional violin (also playing keyboards). The other was a guy with a violin that was constructed in a similar way to the opening act's instrument but strung normally and no frets.
I think Vai was using elements from his latest double live album with the orchestra. I have to say it was really well done and the guys were top notch. (Vai made a comment about stealing them from Jethro Tull). There were songs where they were playing along with some of the really complicated guitar riffs and it was pretty incredible. There was a dueling violin thing that was very good and incorporated some interesting virtuoso classical riffs as well. It could have sucked (kind of like the opening group) but it didn't. Each of the other musicians got opportunities to show off as well and no surprise that they were all high quality professional.

The show was pretty long, over two hours of just Vai and he covered a lot of music. Actually being able to see what he was playing revealed that there are few people who could do what he does. And the showmanship was great too. He is very expressive, (kinda goofy at times), but you could tell he was playing to the audience, particularly the people right in front.

Technically it was amazing, he does stuff with the guitar that is really subtle but probably nearly impossible to replicate. (Towards the end he was playing harmonics with his tongue.)

He really seemed to appreciate that people came out and packed the place.
I know that he likes playing the Keswick (said so a couple of times), so I am sure that he will back again.

The one really annoying thing had to do with the guy next to me. There was a strict no camera rule, and this guy was constantly trying to take pictures and one of the security guys flashed his light on him a couple of times to get him to stop. But he wouldn't and he started to get this weird thrashing movement after he would take a picture, like somehow he was being sneaky or something hiding the camera. It got more and more pronounced as the show went on and was really distracting. The ironic thing was how obvious it was, (particularly the red-eye light that came on and illuminated the people in front of us). After the last warning he finally put it away, and tried with his cell phone. Of course it was too dark so he put that away. I was pretty close to whacking him.

Other than that, it was great show.

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Date:2007-06-23 16:08

A memorial concert for my dad is being held in Fairbanks on Sunday. I flew up to Fairbanks on Thursday and arrived at 8:00 PM. What with it being the solstice it was still full daylight out. Read more...Collapse )

The 5 hour time change is dramatically compounded by the Alaskan summertime daylight. It really makes it hard to tell what time it is. It is close to midnight when the sun sets and it never really gets dark, just kind of dusky. By 5 in the morning it is already starting to get brighter, so sleep deprivation is very easy to get into around here. As a kid I think we tried to use all that time to make up for the missing light in the winter. Now it is disorienting.

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Date:2007-05-10 19:01
Subject:Java One Days 3-4
Mood: tired

Well, the conference is starting to go into blur mode. They offer nearly 6 sessions a day, but I have been doing 4 just so I can get a break. (Aside from lunch the breaks are about 5 minutes). Also today the topics got more technical and in depth. That's good but inflicts more brain burn.

A couple of the topics were interesting from a personal interest level. One is called Darkstar which is a game server which manages a lot of the things that are hard to do and is open sourced. There is also an OS Java library for doing MIDI that was pretty cool as well. Perhaps some Spaceroom and musical applications in the future will result.

Lot's of good work related topics as well.

On the Interrobang Cartel front, tomorrow I will hook with urbeatle. I am looking forward to that. I don't know what we will do yet, but we can figure that out once we meet.

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Date:2007-05-08 14:54
Subject:Java One - Day 2

The second session yesterday was about jMaki and GWT (Google Web Toolkit). Both topics were more interesting in this session, and the speaker on GWT was much better that the first guy (who did the first session). JMaki is a java wrapper around a bunch of JavaScript libraries that allow you to do nice user interfaces in the browser. GWT is a pure Java method of building rich UIs in the browser. Nice but you miss out on a lot of the leverage of the existing JS toolkits.

There was a reception after the second session with pretty food (pot stickers, shrimp roll, and other delectables), and of course beer. I filled up and went back to the hotel to rest up. My head cold is still with me so I would like to see if I can kick it before having to fly again.

Some improvements in my condition in the morning. I actually got the pressure to clear from my ears. Still congested though. :(

I hooked up with John for breakfast.

The General Session was about how Sun was going to bring hand held technology and the internet to the world. I wonder who is going to pay for the internet access for those kids in Africa who can't afford clean water. To be fair they are working to create a K-12 wiki library of educational material for all to be able to access.

On to technical discussions: JRuby on Rails. I was only vaguely familiar with Ruby so it was all pretty new. Basically a group at Sun has implemented the Ruby interpreter using Java. This allows the scripts to access existing Java code within the scripts as well as run all existing Ruby scripts. It also allows running the Ruby code on a Java based web server so if that is what you have been running in the past it allows some flexibility in creating web sites.

Now I am off to a session about the Spring framework.

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Date:2007-05-07 12:46
Subject:Java One Conference
Mood: cheerful

This year I had the opportunity to go to the Java One conference in San Francisco.

John from work is also attending and brought his family along. I usually have very good luck with travels, he usually has bad luck. I think our luck factors were competing.

The flight did not start auspiciously. The plane arrived on time, but the ramp operator accidentally damaged the door of the plane, so they had to get a crew to check it out. The next stage was the announcement that they would have to get a new plane which could at least an hour. After about 15 minutes they announced that they had a plane at a different gate. I think they borrowed the plane that was supposed to fly to LA later as it was the same kind of place. However the seat configuration was slightly different so they had to shuffle people around (a number of 1st class passengers got moved to coach). We finally got off the ground about an hour late. The flight itself was pretty uneventful, The movie was Music and Lyrics with Drew Barrymore and Hugh Grant. Pretty standard "chick-flick" fare, not horrible but forgettable. (The returning movie will be Casino Royale which I have not seen yet).

Unfortunately I have been either suffering from allergies or a head cold so my ears totally blocked up on the descent and I was in a fair amount of pain by the time we hit the ground. I could barely hear anything.

We landed and then part of gate troubles began. Apparently there is a point when a gate either extends or retracts that flips a circuit breaker of some sort which requires a team of people to try to fix it. After about 15 minutes they finally rolled our an air-stair to the back of the plane. My good luck kicked in as I was in the back of the plane. Since John and company had luggage to pick up and they were taking a Super Shuttle I decided to expedite getting to the hotel. I found the airport train, connected with the BART train and managed to find the hotel right across the street from the BART Powell station. I got checked in with no line. So that part was good, but my ears were still blocked.

I tried the hot towel thing and some Sudafed which helped a bit. This morning I was still congested which is a pretty good sign it is not allergies. At least the pressure is mostly gone and I can hear better.

The weather is very nice (though I think a bit warmer than usual).

I finished the first tutorial session and lunch and am now heading off to the second tutorial.

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Date:2007-03-16 17:47
Subject:More music.

I have been working on a couple of songs lately. I recently completed doctroid's Shrodinger's Car, which you can now listen to it by clicking here.

Another track for the Bad Coelacanth album is You Look Like A Nice Gullible Person. This one is still somewhat in progress as I need to finish balancing the mix a bit but it is pretty close to what I want. I am particularly happy with the minimalism in the background music with some nice etherics but with a Zappa inspired lead.

Three more songs are left on the first of a double album. These pieces will be particularly challenging I think with titles such as:

Dainty Toffee
Welcome to the Crotch Kicking Department
Go Past the Inflatable Wumbles

Also I did not write the lyrics either and they are odd to say the least. Still it is a fun challenge.

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Date:2007-02-18 13:32
Subject:Tribute on Prairie Home Companion

In the second half of the show (second hour), there was a tribute by Butch Thompson playing one of my Dad's pieces. The show will be replayed today at 2 pm on WHYY 91 FM.

Since PHC archives all of the shows, it will eventually be up on their web site (probably in a couple of weeks).

Earlier this year, he traveled with the show when they did a tour on an Alaskan cruise as a resident expert. Later, when they had a show in Seattle, Garrison invited him on the show for a brief chat which can be found here.

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Date:2007-02-16 13:11
Subject:Other articles

This one has a bit more history, including the back story on the pine box.


This is from the same reporter at the Anchorage Daily News (as in the first posting). Most of the details are the same but there is a bit more about the night. The reporter was apparently there that evening.


I noticed this link for comments and memorializations.


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Date:2007-02-05 13:47
Subject:New musical compositions

There has been some interesting work going on with the Interrobang Cartel group, primarily around redesigning the web site which has been partially defunct for a while. In the process a new discussion forum has been created. One of the outcomes has been a new song posting named Schrodinger's Car which you can listen to here: The Song!

Staying in a bluesy frame of mind I also finished up another track for the Bad Coelacanth album:

Pay Her No Mind

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Date:2006-12-20 01:40
Mood: amused

This is an entry from urbeatle . He wrote a story for alt.religion.kibology some time ago. Now it has been turned into a radio show style production by 'The Usual Suspects.' Find the explanation, original text and the recording in his post here.

There is music, weirdness and fun. Check it out... Right now!

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