Thursday, November 27, 2008

Foot Fetish

What you see before you is Santa's early delivery of foot operated music controllers. The two on the right are brand new- I just returned from Errorzona with these in the Westy, and that's why I haven't blogged for awhile.

From left to right are:
The Roland GR-1 Guitar Synthesizer. The red guitar sports a digital pickup that generates two discrete digital signals per string for this black box. It contains 244 different musical instruments that can be played by picking and strumming the red guitar. You can mix different voices together to get something totally original. It will generate full orchestral effects or a simple tin flute... plus some really weird sounds that sonic engineers/rock musicians dream up during the intake of recreational chemicals. It has four foot pedals and various switches on the guitar and on the box itself. This was made decades ago and it's still way cool.

Numbah Two is a BOSS RC-50 Loop Station. Not long ago, BOSS bought Roland (or vice versa) and released this red and black 7 pedal device in 2005. It allows instantaneous recording of any sound plugged into it. It can instantly play back the track (called a phrase) and permits you to layer more sounds on top of the previous track. By switching the pedals on the Synth (above), I can lay down a bass track, then a rhythm track, a lead track, a vocal track and still have room to create two more full phrases. It has around 250 built-in drum styles and you can adjust the tempo to suit your song. It even has a USB port for downloading phrases created on the computer by yourself or maniacs on the internet. It's designed to create a full and complex sound during a live performance or allow total creative control if you want to try your hand (or foot) at composing.

Numero Tres is the sexy little black and silver Digitech Vocalist Live 4. This sound processor is designed to take your voice and adds effects. It basically creates a variety of voices that harmonize with you, taking its cues from whatever chords it hears from your guitar or keyboard (or synthesizer). It will add up to four additional voices plus your own for five. Choose between male and female singers, and some really strange presets like GIANT or ELF or BORG... You can sound like the Four Freshmen or Bob Dylan, too.

When they're all wired together you have access to just about any sound or effect you can dream up. They also all have MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) ports as another option for designing music. Later down the road , when I've assimilated all the manuals, I'll create a new YouTube musical encounter (of the Third Kind) and you can hear for yourself the beginnings of a New Age of Music... (did I really say New Age?)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Time is running out...

The First Mate always points out that in every movie ever made, that phrase, or one very much like it, is part of the dialog. Amazing, huh?

This photo shows the point I have arrived in the reconstruction of the head (bathroom) on BLISS the boat. The walls still need some light sanding and varnish, the tile will need grout (I will probably use white silicon), the lights need to be mounted where those wires protrude, and the door for the cabinet needs to be finished. Those are all things that appear in just this photo- there's a lot more than that.

I did, however, do some things you can't see, such as replacing the water pump with a new top-of -the-line unit, and some rewiring and re-plumbing under the sink.

BLISS is currently in a slip in the marina, which is a good place to do this job, because I'm constantly running out for materials and tools and Coca-Cola. My slip rent is expensive if I don't have a deal, (see prior post), so I have to have this all finished by the end of the month when the boat is due to go back out to the mooring, or cough up some big bucks to stay.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Work on BLISS

A few days back, a boat owner mentioned on the morning net that he wanted a mooring for a month and was subletting his slip at the marina. I called him up and we swapped my mooring for his slip. I had a credit with the marina, and with his payment for the mooring, I got Bliss into a 40 foot slip for a month for $20. A deal I couldn't pass up. 

Years ago we tried painting the plywood and plastic  laminate with enamel, which, as you can see, is peeling. The head is small, and the light paint really helped. 

So now I'm installing mahogany paneling, which I hope will lighten with the use of white wood stain. 
A couple afternoons patterning the space and cutting panels has yielded these photos. When the walls are done, I have the hatch, door and countertops to do.

Haven't decided whether to sail south this year or take the VW Westfalia camper... but around the end of the year it gets too cold to want to stick around. I follow the Seven Second Rule. If I can't get dressed in seven seconds, I'm too far north.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Today in art class...

This is the first Monday in November and the Art League of San Carlos had their first meeting of the season. I got there late, and as I sat in the only empty chair in the room, I looked around. There was one other guy in there with me and 40 or so women and everybody had some little object in front of them they had been assigned to draw. Everybody, that is, except me.

Our instructor-for-the-day Sue walked over to me and said, "I know you. You can draw. I want you to draw..." she paused, looking me up and down.. "your shoe!" And then she walked away.
The Shoe came off and went up on the table I shared with four women, each drawing their own objets d' arte: a hat, a small vase, a picture of an owl, a wire basket. No one else in the room had to remove a piece of their clothing to draw (except, perhaps, the woman with the hat). I guess I should be glad Sue didn't tell me to draw my shorts.
After an hour Sue marched over to me, swept my drawing up into the air and said, "I knew it!" She strode to the center of the room with the Shoe Sketch held aloft, showing it around. She shouted, "This Shoe was drawn with Authority!" Everybody applauded (including me) and I was returned to obscurity once again... except for two women at an adjoining table who reached over and grabbed my model, the Shoe, and placed it on their table. "You can have your shoe back when we're done with it," one of the women said. "Here," said the other, "you can try drawing our toy mice..."