Lucky 13

We are now 13 weeks away from leaving Orinda and California.

This is a worst case scenario – we could leave earlier, but it doesn’t make too much sense to unless we sell the house very fast and have to high tail it outta here.

We had great luck today – a nice Mexican fellow with his compadre stopped by to ask if he could haul some of our shit away. Being as super resourceful as these guys are – they just happened to have a chainsaw and so for a grand total of $200 they took every last bit of junk we had plus the fallen tree that was leaning on a nearby tree.

We then took our old paint to the Contra Costa Hazmat place and I painted the door that goes to the basement. I also power washed our lower deck and will stain it tomorrow.

That plus work and a walk at the Lafayette Reservoir kept us very busy today.

No word on the foundation, but we are guessing we will get good news Thursday or Friday.

The Conceivers

A strange little song where playing the piano parts was the best part. Every song is a great practice session even when the song is not my best.

Kerouac and Me

Its that crazy thing – that non stop joie de vie thing that we have all had at one time or another. I feel sorry for those who never have experienced this – and also sorry for those who never learned to temper it – calm it down a bit. Jack Kerouac never did – although I think he tried. I did. My mother didn’t either. My father did. I have watched out for this my entre life – based on what I saw in the adults in my life and the problems that their behavior caused.

In preparation for our move to Bend, I have digitized literally over 10,000 photo’s. I suppose I need to pay homage to 10,000 Maniacs – because that’s how I feel about all of these photos. There are many gems for sure – but more stinkers. Its probably like my music – about 20% good, 80% forgettable.

Both my mother and father were married before they met – and neither had kids – so they were “good to go” in that department. Divorce without children is a breeze compared with with children.

One thing I have noticed – both in my family and my wife’s family is that there are three really critical points in a persons life from a social aspect – age 30-ish – where you need to decide whether or not you want to be married and start a family. The next is about age 40 – where you now know if you have “made it” or not. You either are happy with your life – or you know it hasn’t gone as planned – if it was ever planned to start with.

The last is a big if – its the middle age crisis part – probably as we get closer to 50. If you hadn’t planned your life or it didn’t go as you had wished – you might panic and decide a big life change is due. My ex wife was in that category. My new bride of 16 years changed her life around age 40 – went back to school for a new career.

I share a birthday with Kerouac and I also have had that manic joie de vie that he had. I have been able to successfully channel my energy to good things – in work, play, exercise and art – and avoid the pitfalls.

There are many stories in this treasure trove of photo’s – all of my and my wife’s relatives. There are stories – and they also seem to follow the general pattern I laid out above. There is one last phase – which both grandfathers ended up in. While they had a “checkered” young life – they finally mellowed out and became lovable teddy bears and made it until at least 80 years old. I wouldn’t call that a major life trend – but it was a pattern on both sides of my family.

Radio Aum Shinrikyo – February 1994

I have an extremely rare QSL card – from my shortwave listening days. I will never forget the experience – Radio Moscow was signing off – but then strange music started playing – I knew some other “station” would follow using the same Russian transmitter.

This transmission was on February 17, 1994, and it might have been one of the last months that I was living in San Francisco – at our Miraloma Park house on Bella Vista Way.

A year later – March 20, 1995 – this asshole led the poisonous (Sarin) gas sabotage of a Tokyo Subway – killing 13 and injuring 5,500. It was carried out by 5 of his “disciples”. He and his top brass were executed in 2018 after a long time floundering around in the system.

On the surface, this narcissistic asshole seems more diabolical and evil than a certain set of asshole politicians in the US – but if you look at the negligence where tens of thousands died needlessly because of Trumps “policies” (and man, I use that word very loosely), you can see why any kind of “hero worship” or worship of a cult leader is a terrible danger to society.

Notice how this asshole has his version of “Truth Social” . . . . and also notice how this asshole was supported by Russia . . . America has its version of “Russian Tendencies” – that’s for sure. Also – what about the use of religion as a tool for all of these asshole politicians and dooms day cultists?

Leica Q3 in 2024?

I’ve finally watched or read enough reviews that have me convinced that after we move to Bend my next camera will be the Leica Q3.

Some say that its got some of the Lumix S5 series technology – the latest model with phase detect autofocus. That’s great because I love Lumix cameras, but I now am 100% manual focus. While good to have. I don’t expect I’d use it much.

The new tilt out monitor screen is a big deal, because I do like shooting from the hip – or looking down like the old Hasseblad or Rolleiflex TLR’s.

The funniest thing is how Fujifilm has totally fucked up with its X100V – and next gen sensor. I have the X-T5 and love it. Their XT-30 is a killer deal of a camera. But their dropping the ball on producing the next version of the X100V has been so long now that it has given Leica the “in” on this market.

I won’t be buying anything this year, and who knows, maybe Fuji will get its shit together. The lack of announcements during their X show in May had me scratching my head. I’m guessing they are moving their production from China elsewhere. so that has to be why they just eent dead this year.

The Leica lens and sensor with its crop factor is like having a 28, 35 and 50mm lens from what I hear, so even though its expensive. for a Leica its a bargain.

Right now its completely taken the market away from the X100V.

Mandolino Express

The Arturia SQ80 – which is a very cool synthesizer by Ensoniq was designed by the same team that create the Commodore 64. This “cross wave” synth was awesome – I actually remember them. If I remember right – they also were priced well – as compared to the Roland and Yamaha synths.

As with most Arturia V Collection 9 synths and piano’s – I have a serious love fest at first site with each use of these new sound banks. They always inspire.

For whatever reason – I wanted to have a Kraftwerk sound but add in a mandolin – just as an experiment.

This week seems about right …..

Arturia V Collection 9 and Keylab 49 MKII Review

The Ensoniq SQ80 Cross Wave Synthesizer – invented by those who created the Commodore computers!

As much as I love all of my musical instruments, (as a song writer) there is one that stands out as the very best value and “bang for the buck”. Its the Arturia V Collection 9 (I’ve had all versions going back several years). Its like owning more than 30 vintage synthesizers / keyboards / pianos – with all their “color” and also their eccentric sounds and behavior. Some are better than others – but Arturia seems to be devoted to authenticity. I have owned some of the actual original synthesizers and I can vouch for Arturia’s true to life and dare I say “loving” devotion to the originals – even when the units were somewhat funky and had issues – some that even made them even more lovable – heh heh.

The best analogy would be like a watercolor painter who has many more colors to chose from vs. when they started learning and only had a beginner set.

I have spent weeks enamored and even addicted to the many fine synthesizer and piano sounds in this collection. Now add in the Arturia Keylab 49 MKII pressure sensitive keyboard and its very rugged case and superb controls – and you have a very, very serious sound entourage that would be stellar in any high end recording studio.

What I can do in my little home studio is actually MORE than what I could do back in the 80’s – where studio time was prohibitive for a small garage band like the one’s I was in. We did get some free time at Different Fur Studio in the Mission in San Francisco and then Starlight in Berkeley – but that’s only because Devon – our friend was a new engineer learning the ropes. But even then we had to record in second and third shifts and tape recording sucked compared to digital.

Easily – the most important aspect of all of this is that Arturia has GREATLY enhanced my song writing and also kept me away from “writers block”. In fact, the V Collection 9 is almost overwhelming at first – there is a lifetime of sounds to try to get through. But here’s an added value – you get to experience playing synthesizers that in todays used market go for thousands and even tens of thousands – and at their list price of $599 its a deal for sure. Look for sales – they offer really great sales from time to time – and I love my support from Sweetwater – where I purchase all music gear and software.

In God We Rust

In God We Rust
In God we rust
Ashes and dust
Bend or Bust
Set sail we must

In God we trust
Cascadia Lust
Across the great divide
New life for us

In God We Rust
No time for the past
Pack up and leave
This time's our last
There will be glug ……

Car Show

1960’s Car Show in LA

I’m enjoying some of the better slides that I’m going through that I’ve scanned this week. Its fascinating what LA looked like in the 50’s and 60’s. Post WWII did go on for 2 decades and life looked great. In fact, it seemed better than the Roaring 20’s – you can see the optimism, and it wasn’t crazy over the top – more normal but with a nice comfy buzz going on.

I think I’ve given the Yamaha CS-80 a good once over this week. Its really changed the way I write songs – in fact, since I moved from the shack to the middle room – when I get up about 5 – ish – I have written just about every song starting with the keyboard and its been a blast and a real eye opener.

The Incredible (Arturia) Yamaha CS-80

Arturia does an amazing job making virtual synth software

Arturia is an incredible company. They make superb midi controller keyboards and vst (virtual) synthesizers. More than that they truly help you be a LOT more creative. My songs this week have turned techno and totally influenced by the CS-80 sound. Adding lap steel and cello with long bowing works way better than I had expected or could have imagined.

All this week I’ve been addicted to the old 80’s era CS-80 Yamaha synth. Its a forerunner to the DX-7, but I never liked the DX-7. This CS-80 is fatter and warmer. Its somewhat similar to the Synclavier.

Kat is right – according to the Magic 8 Ball – my “go to” analog AI bot. Looks like next week we will most likely hear that our foundation has been poured.