Call Me If There's Any Change

Second-coffee thoughts on motivation and approval....

From my late-teens on I've mostly had two modes of operation as it applies to work, hobbies, and activities that produce any non-trivial result. Either I did these things to please myself or to achieve measurable results from external sources. I take photographs and, a high percentage of the time, consider them good if I like the outcome. I create software and if it compiles, links, and matches the requirement document, I'm happy with the job I've done.

For someone with that attitude and history, things break down when given a task that will be successful or not depending on subjective evaluation of other people's happiness with the result. I live in a city that's laid out mostly as a bunch of rectangles, so I would be out of my depth if dropped in a wilderness where street signs and familiar markers were absent. Though the physical implications are different, the required mental adjustment seems similar in that comparison.

To the degree this is a choice -- maybe all, maybe little...I don't know -- I suspect it's because I learned early that I am not very good at detecting that people mean 'X' when they say 'Y', and even worse at detecting that they mean 'Z' when they say nothing at all. Rather than guessing wrong, I prefer situations where it's not necessary to care.

I wrote the above paragraphs before I wrote the title. It comes from a Procol Harum song that started playing in my head as I typed. Hmmm. :)
Some say they will and some say they won't
Some say they do and some say they don't
Some say they shall and some say they shan't
and some say they can and some say they can't
All in all it's all the same
but call me if there's any change

It Has Been Released

“Mix Until Absurd”, my on-and-off album project #2, went live on Bandcamp this morning.

Here’s how things work…. The full album is set up as a “pay what you want…no minimum” download. Though it may seem odd, individual tracks do have a minimum cost. The point of that is, free downloads are limited to 200 per month and I’d rather not have some people miss out because that number was reached for single songs.

The purpose of this exercise is, first and foremost, to get the songs heard. I don’t want anyone to ever tell me they didn’t grab them because they couldn’t afford it. (I don’t want anyone to tell me they didn’t grab them because they expected crap…but, still, I’d find that much more tolerable. :) )

If you do decide to contribute, a few good things happen: Bandcamp makes some money, I’m motivated to acquire more musical toys, and someone else gets to use one of those free download slots.

For help in creating this, thanks go to other people who performed, did technical audio things, or both: Jane Garthson, Sue Jeffers, Tom Jeffers, Ken Lalonde, Deborah Linden, Karen Linsley, Amy McNally, Devin Melanson, Bill Roper, and Peggi Warner-Lalonde.

We Built This City...

I week ago I got a Facebook message from a filker, asking for my email address. This is not too unusual; sometimes those turn out to be questions about songs or a request for a songbook, OK.

Two facts:
1) I've made a point of getting people who know me to understand that I despise travel.
2) Not all that many people on the west coast of this continent know me.
These two things intersected -- or perhaps the right phrase is "failed to intersect" -- with the result that the email that arrived was an invitation to be the international guest at Consonance.

Why did I say yes? Well, I expect to be asking myself that, in various tones of voice, over the next months but the two parts of the answer are really flattery and "San Francisco". The flattery part is implicit. I expect con guests to be chosen based to a great degree on performance ability and that's honestly not my strength. I guess they figured that with Gary Hanak and Wild Mercy they had enough performers. :-)

The "San Francisco" part is a lot more about me. During the summer of 1967, I was 16 and had been in love with pop/rock music for about three years. Suddenly, a large amount of the culture I was interested in shifted to San Francisco and became embodied in musical acts that shaped my tastes permanently: Jefferson Airplane, Grateful Dead, Moby Grape, Country Joe & The Fish, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Santana, Big Brother and the Holding Company...many others.

I never seriously considered visiting the city because self-indulgence would always lose out to flight aversion. Having an extra reason (not to mention partial sponsorship) was enough to tip the balance.

I will probably not show up with flowers in my hair but I'll be imagining them.

FilKONtario 2014

I managed to start the weekend feeling rotten and had my apparent health improve over time. By Sunday night, I actually felt like attempting to make music. Ignoring that, the concerts were really good with SJ Tucker being wonderful as expected and Copy Red Leader being wonderful beyond some people's expectations. :-)

Click the link for more concert photos.


FAWM 2014

Another February is over and, as with the previous four years, much of my spare time in the month went to writing songs.

Technically, I ended with sixteen (where 14 in 28 days is a 'win'). Discounting the two that were lyrics-only and the four collaborations where I wrote music for Jane's songs, that's ten that I could possibly add to my play list. Of the ten, there are six that were written just for the fun of it at that moment and are non-filk or funny-once or experiments. (I regret nothing; practice is good!) That leaves four songs that might have a reasonable shelf life if I polish them up a bit.

Honestly, I'm not as convinced of that being a fair return on the amount of effort invested as I have been in other years. As always, the passing of time is likely to improve perspective.