ARRRGGGHHH!!!

Dude… I was totally stupid tonight! I lost my guestbook entries! I’m so mad at myself… not because they are gone, but moreso the process in which they disappeared. Ya I wish I could say they just vanished, and that I have no idea and nothing to do with how it happened. But I can’t. I was trying to make my guestbook a little more user-friendly in the hopes that more people would sign it. Basically I was just trying to lessen the number of clicks it takes to get there. Like an idiot, I thought, “hey all I have to do is just rename this page and then put a new one in….” Big mistake! Republish, and bam, all gone! I should have just cleverly given the new page a different name, which is what I ended up doing in the end, but too late to save my current entries.  Luckily, there were only 10 entries anyway. Sometimes being unpopular pays off by providing a silver lining to an otherwise dark cloud.

Still,

Grrrrrrrrrrr….

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CD after CD after CD…. into Oblivion…

As many of you know, my latest CD, “Recital”, came out in October just in time for Sun Valley. It is now available in so many ways, including on CDBaby and iTunes. If you haven’t gotten it by now, then you are definitely dragging your feet, and are not sure you even want it. Anyway, this is pretty far off the point I want to make. More finely to the point, even though this album is practically brand new, probably the one thing I hear most often from both buyers and nay-sayers alike is, “Do you have another one?” Well, generally in that case, I point them toward my other CD, “Nature Boy” (also on iTunes) that has been out for a few years. (Yes I know it looks like I’m shamelessly plugging my CDs, but really there’s a point to all this.) This is usually met with, “Oh I already have that one, do you have any others?”

People!! Do you all think that we musicians just have our own personal studios, or just go into places that don’t charge anything for studio time, lay down a bunch of unprepared tracks, and then go home, only to have them magically appear on our doorstep ready to be placed in your hot little hands? Ok that sounds a little harsh. I don’t really mean it to be…. Seriously though, I do appreciate the fans clamoring for new works all the time. It’s super inspiring! That is, until I look at my resources and realize that I am going to have to wait in order to make it all happen. Trust me, if I could, I’d put out a CD every 8 months or so. That is a really good (and completely overly ambitious) timeline to have at my low level of promotion. Plus, I would love for every album to be a big hit like“Nature Boy”, do you have any idea how much that album cost to make? Not only that, I was still hugely constrained by even that budget. It could have been even better, though I am most proud of it.

The bottom line is that running this as part of a business can be very difficult. Trying to uphold quality and give the people what they want must be dealt with very delicately. In order to do another big project like “Nature Boy”, or even (hopefully) something bigger than that, sometime in the future is going to take a great deal of resources. My own plans to deal with this have consisted of doing a series of smaller projects to help build funds for the ultimate large project. In my dealings with fans, this has been what I have mentioned to them. They all really love “Nature Boy”, and they would like to see another project like it. It is difficult for me to see the disappointed looks on their faces when I explain to them that it’s going to take a few small projects to get there again. Even though I believe I can make those smaller projects just as creative and fun, it doesn’t seem to be sitting well at first glance. Trust me, I love recording, and if I had my way I’d be in the studio at least 3 times a week just to mess around with the equipment…. haha!

So anyway, you can all see my dilemma with trying to keep the fans happy. I have kicked around the idea before about fundraising by getting fans and others to donate. This could get things to move a little quicker. However, I haven’t been able to figure out a good way to implement it. I am not a non-profit organization, so not only would the donations NOT be tax deductible, but the benefits to the donors have not been thought through thoroughly (good alliteration  :).  I figure that the names of the donors would definitely go in the liner notes, but that doesn’t seem like enough. I could tier the donations and range it from $10 all the way to $10,000, and offer better things to the donors as they contribute more. Maybe, for $10 get a free copy of the CD when it’s finished (not a bad deal since they sell for $20 usually). Perhaps at the $5000 mark, allow the donor to ensure that their requested song goes on the album? Or an original composition written by yours truly for the first $10,000 donor? I dunno, just playing around with things in my head.

My Mom hates the idea… but she’ll be the first person to tell me that I need to get started on the next project the day of my CD release that I have been working the last year over. Gofigure….

Anyway, a flooded mind is a terrible thing to waste. Bye for now!

P.S. Please leave comments. I need all the encouragement I can get right now!

Update 3/22 – OK My mom doesn’t HATE the idea… she just advised against it at first. Now that she’s read the blog, she understands better what I’m thinking of doing. She has wished me luck! 🙂 Mother’s blessing is always a good thing.

sitting…

If you’re following my Twitter… you’ll notice that I’m doing some eBay work. You’re probably wondering, hmmm what is he bidding on? Good question. I’m bidding on a decent cd deck for my car. I’ve been having troubles with my car stereo ever since I got this other deck. It’s been super annoying! Anyway, I’ve always been a big fan of McIntosh equipment. I already have some stuff they’ve made, and it’s the best you can find! Build quality and sound quality are like no other. I will have it for the rest of my life, it’s that good. So I figured, since my car stereo is giving me so many problems, why not just fix it all by getting a good deck made by McIntosh that I can have for the rest of my life?

Well the downside is that they’re hard to find, and they only come up on eBay about once a month. And they can be a tad expensive. But I know that if I sell my current deck to someone who can actually use it, I’ll pretty much break even. The auction ends in a couple of hours, so I’m hoping I win. I’m losing at the moment, but I think I can pull it off in the last minute or so. I’ll let you know how it goes…

Oh here’s the deck, BTW

http://www.mcintoshlabs.com/products/Mcintosh-mx406-car-cd-player.asp

Sweet, with that vintage look I crave! Vintage like I will be when I still own it 40 years from now!

Wish me Luck!

Monterey…

It seems that I can never get over here in time to blog shortly enough after I do something! I always return home exhausted, and then have a bunch of junk I need to do the following day. No rest for the wicked… word!  So anyway, Monterey was a fantastic time! Good music, good food, beautiful company! Denise got a super cheap flight in on Saturday, and I’m super jealous because I had to drive. 7 hours is a lot of time to spend in the car. The festival really skimped on travel pay this year, so it wouldn’t have been worth the drive had I not done so well in CD sales. Thanks to all of you who bought! And thanks to all of you who made this year’s pianorama a heck of a time for me! The audience kept calling out tunes for me to morph together into some sort of odd medley. You guys are all SICK putting me on trial like that!  Haha, it was really fun, and I love being tested like that, keeps me from getting too confident.

Overall, the festival was fairly uneventful, but busy enough to keep me going. Had a blast as always, but that drive sure made it hard at times. On Saturday night, I fell asleep standing up while getting ready for bed. Needless to say, my knees buckled and down I went. Hit my head pretty hard. Definitely not a good feeling. Woke up the next morning fine though.

Had dinner at the Old Fisherman’s Grotto on the wharf. Denise ordered the abalone, and I ordered the sand dabs. I used to love them when I was a kid. I don’t think I’ll be ordering them again for a long time. Funny how tastes change over the years. They just seem mushy and tasteless now, or perhaps they weren’t prepared right. Regardless, I think I’ll stick with the salmon, still my fav after all these years!

CD sales went so well this last weekend, that I was able to take my car in to get the brakes done on tuesday. YAY no more shimmy-shaking steering wheel when I slow down on the freeway! The car still needs more basic maintenance stuff done, but the brakes were a big one, so thank you again to all of you CD purchasers out there! Also, it looks like the radio/cd player I want finally showed up on eBay again! Some dude in Louisiana is selling one, though I don’t think he knows what he has, since the starting bid is only $25. If it were me, I would have started it at $200 at the very least. I hope I win, because they sure don’t come up on eBay very often.

Well that’s all for now. We’re still waiting to hear on the house. Those lenders are still dragging their feet! I guess there’s too much golf to be played out there for them to pay attention to us little people in here. Maybe they’ll actually sign us off to draw attention away from the fact that they are kicking their ball out of the rough to a better spot on the fairway. Cheaters! Bye all!

Fun times before and ahead!

Well I finally recovered from the weekend’s gigs, although it seems that I just can’t sleep well the last few days. Guess that’s why it’s taken so long. Anyway, over the weekend I was in Fresno for their annual Rogue Festival. This is their 8th year running and they are going strong! I found out that they are the largest arts festival west of the Mississippi. In Fresno?!?!  Ya, that’s pretty impressive, as that makes them bigger than the Fringe in San Francisco, and everything in Los Angeles, for that matter. (We won’t mention that this is Fresno’s ONLY event and that it happens only once a year, but who’s counting?)

If you looked at my gig schedule you saw that I was up in that neck of the woods, but it wasn’t clear as to what I was doing, aside from playing with the talented Karen Marguth. That is because I wasn’t really sure what I was doing until I got there. Perhaps I should have blogged it while it was unfolding, but I just didn’t have the time. Well, she put on a show with her friend, Debbie, called FloraDora, written by her equally talented husband, Rick Hanson. It was a fun show chronicling the lives of two sisters, Flora and Dora, and their man-conquests. Men tend to come between them, especially one, a traveling salesman whom they both become married to at the same time, without each other knowing it. The show was very wittily written and extremely silly. Just the name itself, as well as the popularity of its performers brought in a packed house for all of the 3 shows. Most of the audience was made up of women, though; gofigure!  Anyway, if I find a video or some pictures, I’ll be sure to post them. It’s hard to be Musical Director and to be simultaneously snapping photos with my trusty iPhone. Maybe one day I’ll get the hang of it, like chewing gum and playing the piano, that took me a while….. I suppose I should just hire someone! Any Takers?

So before all this madness, on the way up to Fresno, I actually got to spend a little bit of time with my family at Disneyland, which was nice. I was up there with Denise and her students on a field trip. She works at the Institute of Effective Education, a private special ed school. Had a total blast with them! One of the highlights was going over hills on rides and hearing one of the students scream “nineteeeeeen seeevvvenntyyyy-fooouuuuurrr”. I guess she really likes the “Cat’s in the Cradle” song because that’s when it came out. No really, she told me this. They had to go home at 5, so Denise got on the bus and left. I stayed to see my family. Mom was in town on a conference, and sis was just along for the ride. We’ve all been annual passholders for a while, so any trip to SoCal usually means Disneyland time.  As always, spending time with them is a joyous one, and my sister made me laugh hard and out loud like she always has the knack for doing. Wish I could have spent more time, but there’s always next time.

After the show Sunday night, I booked it back to San Diego in what seemed like record time (i.e. I didn’t hit any traffic). I rolled in about 12:30am to a sleeping house. My butt still hurts because I’m getting old.

Since then I’ve repaired a burned tail light in my car, listened to music, and finally beat an old computer game that I’ve had laying around since 1995. If you ever get a chance to play Sierra’s Space Quest series, do it! They are hilarious adventure games that are challenging with a nice simple interface.

Speaking of computers, new updates to Apple products yesterday! If you were waiting to buy a computer, now is the time. Although, the updates are really not much to write home about, just some bumps in speed. But now you can get an iMac with a 24” screen for the same price that you used to get the upper end 20”er. That’s a pretty good deal!

Looking forward to going to Monterey this weekend! NOT looking forward to the drive though. Denise is going to meet me there Saturday, so at least the drive back home won’t be so bad. It will be good to see everyone again, especially all those Sister Swing people up in Sac. Miss them! I also get to do a pianorama again this year. Maybe I can con a few poor suckers into buying my new CD…  😉   -BYE