Gye Greene's Thoughts

Gye Greene's Thoughts (w/ apologies to The Smithereens and their similarly-titled album!)

Friday, February 12, 2021

My first micro-short

Just posted my first (I guess) micro-short film to YouTube.  I thought my first micro-short would be this footage I edited last weekend, about a guy (me) sitting on a bench -- but I still need to put some audio on it before I present it.

Meanwhile, I told a co-worker that I'd post some test footage of a tunnel (underpass) that would make a potentially useful filming location -- but then I edited out chunks of walking, to make the footage go faster -- and then I added some title cards and end credits -- and then I threw down an instrumental backing track.  So, I guess it's an artistic film/micro-short (about two and a half minutes long).



Ayep.  :) 



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Sunday, January 31, 2021

Mic cable rip-off

Am partway through one final task before bed:  finally repairing some microphone cables and instrument cables that I've been meaning to do (one mic and one instrument cable from church, about 6-9 months ago; two mic and two instrument cables of my own, that have needed repairing for maybe 2-3 years).

One mic cable (mine) I'd marked "BAD - THIS END".  Upon disassembly I realized that only two of the three pins were connected: the shield (ground), and one of the "live" pins. (All three pins are supposed to be connected -- one pin to the braided "shield" that goes around the interior of the cable, and each of of the other two pins to each of the wires that runs down the centre.  So I looked at the other end:  same thing.  So maybe I was using a device that relied on one of the non-standard pins -- and that's why it didn't work for me?  (Dunno -- it's been too long.)

Regardless:  that's a rip-off (IMO) to sell a "microphone" cable that doesn't connect all the pins -- because it doesn't have the "noise-suppressing" capability that two interior wires (connected properly) would provide.  Clearly the manufacturer couldn't spring for a slightly better cable that had two wires in the core.
It's analagous to selling a car that has some of the bolts that hold the car together:  yeah, it'll work -- but it's not as robust, and you're not getting what you think you're paying for.

I've salvaged the two ends of the mic cable (perfectly decent), and have labelled the cord as a future instrument cable.  I have some extra 1/4" jacks -- but, no hurry, as one of my recent projects was to build a mega cable rack (will remedially post pics at some point), and consolidate all of my cables (mic; instrument; RCA) -- years of accumulation; some in use, but most in various boxes.  Turns out that (including the short cables that go between f/x pedals) I have more cables of each type than I actually need:  I'm glad that when I sold my last two electric guitars (both to beginners) I gave each buyer a few (inexpensive) instrument cables, just to get them started; and, will post a message at work that I have extra cables.   
So -- no hurry to build yet another instrument cable:  I have enough.

Still disappointing, though, that someone would sell a "microphone" cable that doesn't meet the minimum standard. 

P.S.  I've written this blog entry (and also e-mailed the above to a few musician-y friends) -- so I might just wrap it up rather than getting out my soldering gear:  another night.  :)

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Friday, January 08, 2021

Taylor swift sings like Suzanne Vega

Am listening to Taylor Swift's Folklore album on YouTube (I don't "do" Spotify; considered getting the album on LP, but it's AU$80, which I can't justify).  

He vocals sound a lot like Suzanne Vega's.

Most of the songs aren't as immediately catchy ("hook-y") as her more well-known work.  Some good lyrics in there, though.

I'm pleased that she's found some good co-writers -- and maybe I'm just wishing that **I** had people to collaborate with, as well -- but it would be good if she would go back to writing her own stuff.

That said:  if she was in a band (e.g. The Beatles), then I wouldn't have this issue about solo-songwriting.  It's probably about being a "pop" (and before that, "country") artist -- both of which have strong traditions of people writing songs for the performer.  My assessment is that writing the song is the hardest part: once you have a good song, it's hard to mess up the "interpretation".

Which is why cover songs as an artist's "breakthrough" release are a bit of a "cheat":  if the song was a hit once, it's pretty easy to make it a hit again.


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Thursday, January 07, 2021

Going through a cheese phase

If a book is well-written, I'll tend to read it -- even if it's not about a topic I'd usually be interested in.  Thus, about a year ago (Oh!  July 23, 2018 -- I wrote inside the front cover) I bought a "Cheeses of the World" book (A First Course in Cheese).  I've always thought cheeses were nice, but I was never "into" them.  But, after reading the book, I bought a few "fancy" cheeses from the "fancy cheese" section of the supermarket -- one or two per trip.  That lasted a few weeks -- but then I drifted away.

For some reason, though, a few months ago I came back to cheese.  I had two or three at work (I sometimes mix it in to my microwaved veggies, for added flavor), and a few at home as well (just for nibbling).  And this morning I started a notebook, and sat down and methodically tasted each of my cheeses -- logging the (approximate) date of purchase, the type, the location I bought it and the cost per kilo, and my impressions.  At the moment I have nine recorded (and seven in the 'fridge [I finished off two, which were just lingering -- small little pieces]).

I logged the cheeses because I have a poor memory -- especially for names -- so I knew that I'd lose track of which I'd tried... and more importantly, which ones I really liked (so that I could come back to them!).  My favorite thus far is the Meredith Dairy chevre goat cheese:  soft, creamy, full flavor; would be good on toast; niiiice!  (Noting that I bought it in mid-October (it's currently January 7th), but it got pushed to the back of the 'fridge -- so it may have continued to age more than if I got a "new" batch. 

The prices of the cheeses range from AU$38-AU$60/kg -- but because I'm the only one in the house that likes cheese (except for The Girl -- and she'll only eat mild cheddar -- I get the smallest little pre-cut wedges I can find -- which usually comes to around AU$3.50-$6.00 per purchase.  And then because I tend to only eat little nibbles, they last me a few weeks.  

The one I'm least enamored with is the Swiss gruyere:  nothing wrong with it -- but because I have a somewhat dull sense of taste, it just tastes like cheddar to me.  And at $52/kg, I'm better off just buying cheddar. 

I haven't ventured into the "stinky" or blue cheeses yet:  I tried one a few months ago, but it was too strong for me and had to give it away to a co-worker.  But I've just put into the microwave some veggies with an over-ripe (i.e. bought it three months ago) Tasmanian Heritage double brie:  it's getting a little "tangy" -- but I anticipate it being good on veggies.


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Thursday, December 31, 2020

Woodturning is great

I was e-mailing Old Roomate, in response to one of his comments on my "lathe work" item on my "To Do" list, about how I really like lathe work.

Wood turning is  similar to mowing the lawn after it's starting to get shaggy, in that the sense of progress is obvious, through the contrast of what you've cut off, versus what's left behind.  

And unlike throwing pots (on a potter's wheel) -- which tends to be limited to liquid-holding or food-holding items (cups, jugs, bowls), due to clay's waterproof but not terribly strong nature -- wood-turning lets you make all sorts of useful things:  chair legs, ends of stair rails, cylinders, cones....

After a few minutes, the ground is covered with shavings -- and the chunk of wood that you had  loaded into the lathe has now become a recognizable "thing" -- a tool handle, perhaps.


Anyhow:  I like it.  :) 


Which means:  I should do more of it.


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Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Secret to happiness

In my 30s I was somewhat into board games -- inspired, in part, by a friend from high school who finds board games at good prices at garage sales and thrift stores, then sells them at higher prices on "game collector" websites and uses the profits to fund additional game purchases for himself.  (He could totally afford to just buy the games that he wants -- but making the process self-sustaining is far more interesting.)

I e-mailed him to ask if he was sufficiently interested in a semi-collectable board game that I should "suitcase" it back to Seattle for him -- post-pandemic (!!!) -- or whether I should just give it to my (adult) niece, or my wife's co-worker, here in Australia?  He said I should just dispose of it here. 

As part of this conversation, I mentioned that I'm planning on going through my various games and getting rid of most of them:  I've now realized -- self-aware middle-aged guy that I am -- that spending 1-5 hours playing a game is not how I want to spend my time.  So -- I'm only going to keep a few.  And then I proceeded to -- off the top of my head -- list my "keepers".

It turns out that I ended up with twenty-seven (and thought of two more after I'd sent the e-mail).  So that's probably more than "non-game" people would have.

I asked my friend about that -- but he says that he's not a good reference point, as he has over a thousand.  So: clearly he's into games.  ;)

This reminded me of one of my "middle aged guy wisdom" insights:  the secret to happiness is to figure out what you like doing -- and then maximizing your time doing that (as long as it isn't harmful to yourself or others).  So:  I'm glad he's still doing "the game thing".  :)

Related to this:  I'm always charmed and intrigued by people who have interests, and then set up little work-shops or "zones" to accom-modate their interest (e.g. a "jewelry-making station").  I know he has an extensive system of shelves, down in his basement, for game storage:  so I'd like to think that he also has a  secondhand diner booth nearby -- with proper lighting -- so that he can play games at a moment's notice, leave half-finished games set up, and etcetara.

He actually doesn't, as it turns out:  but he likes the idea...  :)



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Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Vacation ambitions

In Australia a lot of office workers get the week between Christmas and New Year's off.  In addition to this, I took a few weeks off afterwards. 

As usual, I have a whole list of things -- about 85 -- that I'd like to get done during my vacation.  Clearly, I won't get all of them done -- so unlike my usual vacations where I don't make a list, or I only make a vague list, I've done a "brain dump" of various tasks that have been hanging around; I then put them into a spreadsheet (which I've added to as I think of new items), and classified them in terms of priority, whether it's for me or for the family/household, whether it's for fun or a duty/responsibility, whether doing the task frees up a bottleneck for other tasks, whether this task has any dependencies (i.e. I need to do something else on the list before I tackle this item), approximately how many days the item will take (ranging from "0.1" to "6 days"), and whether it needs pre-planning because it has many "stopping points" (e.g. need to let glue, or paint, dry overnight) and thus I can't crank it out on my final day of vacation.

I also noted which of these are best suited to a few weeks of vacation, rather than being a "weekend" project:  these would be things that require momentum, and/or where I tear something apart and it's totally in the way -- and then I put it back together the right way.

And then, as my vacation progresses, I can filter on un-completed tasks, as well as other characteristics (e.g. priority; how long they will take).

I've included some "easy wins" (e.g. "trim my beard!"), so that I can rack up accomplishments during my vacation:  inevitably I end up disappointed at the end of a vacation because I haven't accomplished all the things I wanted to -- so this is a way of recognizing all the things I did manage to do.

In no particular order...

  1. Mow yard (fairly completely)
  2. Clean up fallen shelves area
  3. Cut coardboard for Harry Belefonte LP
  4. Gmpa T audio
  5. Test and install UPS (power supply box)
  6. Tidy the music rack behind the door
  7. Test SM58 for resistance to wind
  8. Repair cables (mine; church’s)
  9. Test USB drawing pad
  10. Go through porch boxes
  11. Catch up on laundry
  12. Book electrician for solar panel
  13. B/U HD’s (incl. One at M&D’s)
  14. Other clothing repairs
  15. Clean out work bag
  16. Tidy neckties
  17. Clean off bench end of porch
  18. Visit D. Bretz
  19. Edit blue timestreams video (incl. Color correcting and audio track)
  20. Exercise
  21. Edit park bench hat-adjust video
  22. Finish adze knob
  23. Put chopping block on legs
  24. Make axe handle for re-rusted axe head
  25. De-rust misc. tools
  26. Bat signal
  27. Roald Dahl instrument
  28. De-rust small ball pien hammer
  29. Lathe the vampire stakes
  30. Lathe tool rack/box
  31. Repair wooden chair leg
  32. Repair wooden table leg
  33. Suitcase drum kit
  34. Adze handle for addt’l adze
  35. Finish drainfield box
  36. Write and record Max dancing song
  37. Healer woman song
  38. Build lathe shed
  39. Suggest getting windjammer/dead cat for SM57 (but first test SM58 wind resistance)
  40. Contact Rob on Gumtree for old PC parts (ask if he’d take CRT monitors) (also the giant tower)
  41. Clean out (and re-stock) back of car/car boot
  42. Sorry, buddy Timmy video
  43. PVC frame
  44. Repair M&D bench
  45. Bretz steps
  46. Finish prepping the wood in the water-filled wheelie bin (to make a chair)
  47. Uncover drainfield hatch near wattle roots
  48. Lay out boundary line
  49. Clear off kitchen table (and floor)
  50. Edit Max dancing video
  51. Healer woman video
  52. Lathe those angels
  53. Lay tiles around the garden edge
  54. Set up recording area
  55. Build lumber shed
  56. Repair fallen shelves
  57. Instructional video for PVC frame
  58. Ronin video
  59. Make chair from wood
  60. Test anti-feedback EQ
  61. Test Inkel mixer
  62. Drop off used books
  63. Give old computer stuff to the hobby guy
  64. Go through addt’l used books
  65. Log items
  66. Bottle recycling
  67. Repair soft toys
  68. Video chat w/ D #1
  69. Video chat w/ D #2
  70. Transplant plants to down lower
  71. Clean out misc. plant area
  72. Get BroDave firewood for black plastic sheet - DONE
  73. Hand-mow dog yard - DONE
  74. Finish cleaning out CB’s office (incl. Stationary cupboard)
  75. Clean out kitchen
  76. Learn my camera
  77. Trim beard - TONIGHT
  78. Repair/change brake light bulbs in white car
  79. Finish small two-peg coat peg
  80. Slab four pieces of wood from blue bucket
  81. Sharpen long ripsaw
  82. Sharpen regular ripsaw
  83. De-rust and repair mattock

A lot of these are 0.1-day or 0.2-day items -- i.e. it'll take me a half hour or an hour.  Others are modular, such as "Going through the boxes on the porch", where even if I don't finish the entire task, I'll still have made quantifiable progress.

Another consideration is that I need to decide whether to accomplish one or two of my larger-scale projects (which would take a week or a week and a half) -- or rather to stick to small and mid-sized tasks (i.e. 2-3 days max).  One consideration is that it's summer, here in Australia -- so the longer tasks tend to be labor-intensive yardwork (e.g. building a stand-alone shed for my extra wood) is better suited for a cooler season.


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