Music

What a Weekend

Moved HostsSo it turns out my websites were hit with some Website SEO Spam a few weeks back.  Taking various steps to handle it included installing better security software for my websites.  This led to realizing that the web host I was using, while good tempered folks, had features disabled that most web hosts have enabled.  Thus breaking my security software.  Not enough to stop it working but to hinder it working at full strength.  After asking politely to have the feature enabled, they suggested that my $7 shared hosting should be upgraded to a low end VPS for $13 plus cPanel expenses on top of it.  Which would put me at about just under $30 a month to run my websites that don’t make any money.  I pay out of pocket to have my individual space carved into the internet.  I decorate it exactly how I want, and I can be who I want to be here.  I don’t have to worry about Facebook removing my content if someone gets butt-hurt by it.  That being said, I spent the majority of my time off this weekend moving my sites to a new host that provides what I need technically.  They cost me $12 a month.  It will be a month or so to see if I stay.  So if things feel sluggish or broken, let me know.

A few days ago, I ordered a 3 zone cymbal pad for my drum kit.  A Roland CY-13.  I found it on Walmart.com for $199 from a partner seller called GigaSonic.  That’s $40 less than anyone else and I happen to have a Walmart Card.  So I jumped on it.  The lesson here kids, is do your research of the partner company before ordering.  Don’t just assume Walmart has your back.  As you see, last Friday a large box ended up on my doorstep.  It was from Amazon.  I didn’t order anything from Amazon.  It was addressed to me from Everything Music.  Of course I became confused.  Especially when I opened the box and found a Roland KD-9 Kickpad.  I didn’t order that.  It’s sort of the ballpark.  They are both Roland and both go to my drum kit.  So I wasn’t sure if someone else sent it to me.  Naturally I emailed the company via Amazon and as well emailed the other via Walmart.com.

It turns out they are the same company, doing business under different names on different online retailers.  Both sadly have some bad reviews from some very angry customers.

By 4pm Friday I had a UPS return label and had the item on it’s way back to the seller.  This is about the time I found the reviews.  As of today it’s in Illinois.  While I was hoping the company would simply ship out my cymbal pad.  They did not.  In fact it dropped off of Walmart.com and it’s now listed at the normal retail price of $239 that everyone else is selling it for.  Under a different company called Music123.  Which, guess what, also has some bad reviews.  Same company?  I’m beginning to think so.  Now I’m hoping I actually get the refund they owe me.  Granted, I have to wait for them to get the part back.

To top it all off, my left shoulder has been hurting for weeks with added numbness to my whole arm and hand.  This weekend was hard to do anything.  Especially sleep decently.  I fear I may have a pinched artery in my shoulder [Thoracic Outlet Syndrome] (according to initial thoughts of my Chiropractor today).  I will have something confirmed as soon as I can with my regular doctor.

CastleRain Radio goes Mobile!

Scosche freqINI doubt many folks who read this site now remembers when I used to stream my music over the internet.  Long before Spotify, iHeartRadio and Pandora.  I used good old Shoutcast.  I’ve long since had the issue of not liking local radio stations as they hardly ever play my kind of music.  Unless it’s 70’s, 80’s and Metal or Acid Rock.  I have a love for the classics, but listening to the same songs for 40 years gets old.  Real old.  And today’s pop, crap..er I mean rap just isn’t my bag of tricks.  I guess what I listen too is called Pop Punk (at least most of my new favorite bands are all listed on it), but it sounds more rock and roll than some of the crap that 105.1 plays.  Their stuff is like a mix of metal and whiny pop rock.

So, I learned how to use Shoutcast and listen to my own music library anywhere I had an internet connection.  Though in my car I was still stuck with commercial radio if I didn’t have a CD player or audio in connection.

Mostly I’d listen at work.  For some months I left the broadcast running 24/7.  Made up more sweep MP3 files, added a bunch of fake, funny commercials and some comedy bits.  I had a few listeners for a while.

At least until the RIAA started making internet streaming a real pain in the ass.  Then I had to make it private.

These days I spend a LOT of time in my car.  Way more than I’d like too.  It’s old and only has a cassette player.  I had to come up with a solution or be stuck in radio hell.

IF it weren’t for iHeartRadio and Spotify, I’d never hear any new music I like.  With two exceptions of my liking Highly Suspect – Lydia (hate the video though) and Nothing More – Jenny (also not a great video) in the past 2 years.

To get musical satisfaction while on the go, I’ve tried using my internet radio apps on my phone and playing them through some wired and Bluetooth cassette adapters in my ancient car.  Both would play but eat up my data, sound terrible and crackle if anything was physically connected.  Such as my charger.  Plus volume was an issue.  Then I loaded my MP3 collection on to my phone, but much of the same result.  No real happiness and I had to keep charging the Bluetooth adapter.  It would only work for a few hours on a charge.

But then I found the Scosche freqIN.  I can put all my MP3s on a flash drive and play them through my radio like I was my own radio station.  Just pick a dead channel and go.  Currently I use 88.7 FM.  I can charge my phone while it endlessly runs from the cigarette lighter/power outlet.  This thing is cool.  I get great sound and volume.  The player is a bit lacking in ability to pick and choose songs but I can deal with that.  If you drive near me, you can pick up my very own station.  Music I like.  Plus when I want new music, I can use my favorite apps on my phone and go.  Screw commercial radio and their … um… commercials 🙂  (and corporate run playlists of teenage hormone music)

Begin Again…

AnimalOver the years I’ve taught myself a number of wonderful skills.  I’m proud to have taught myself just about everything I do today for a living and for leisure.  I build, repair and upgrade computers like crazy.  I design websites.  I do a fair amount of graphic manipulation.  I play and sometimes modify games.  The one thing I taught myself many many years ago has always brought me pleasure.  That is until this past year, when I realized I learned it all wrong.

When I was in Junior High (they call it Middle School here, yuck), I was a bit of a troublemaker.  Nothing serious.  One time I got detention for flushing crackers down the toilet.  I’m not sure what rule or law I violated there.  Last I checked, crackers breakdown easier than wads of toilet paper.  I can’t even recall why I did it.  That’s just how lame it was.  On my part and on the part of those who turned me in.  As well as those authority figures who set punishment upon me for it.  Dumb as it may seem, I was in a brand new school building with state of the art sound proof walls in a new music room.  Which they never seem to lock the doors on the inner halls after school.  So when I got detention, while waiting for my parents to pick me up, I would um… hang out in there 😉

This was the beginning of my self education on how to play the drums.  I didn’t have a set of my own at the time.  Despite my parents having tried many times for me to take up the guitar, this was more to my liking.

Like many drummers, pretty much any surface is a drum.  Right down to the steering wheel of my car.  Even got a little crazy sometimes and drove with my knee and used real drum sticks.  I don’t recommend doing this kids.  It’s as bad as driving while texting or holding the phone with your face and not being able to look about!  That and you tend to break a few rear-view mirrors in the process…  Now I just use my fingers so I can drive competently.  Please, use your phone hands free while in the car or better yet not at all.  It can wait!

OK, back to my story.

After a few months of on and off detention, I got pretty decent at playing the drums.  Basic beats and fills.  So I wanted to start a band.  To show my friends I could really play, I used a drum kit at local music store here in town when they were on main street.  The Music Haus.  (yeah, we have this Alpine theme here in Gayrock, err lord)  I even dragged my mom to the store to show her I could play.  This led to my getting a drum kit of my own finally.  Through a friend of the family at the time.  It was a light metallic blue Slingerland drum kit.  More of a jazz kit, but I didn’t mind at all 🙂

I practiced and played.  Even started a band finally.  Though as with most High School bands, they fall apart just as fast as they start.  I don’t know why but before school was over, I decided I wanted to get married and start a family.  So I played less.  Then eventually sold my drums.  After my first divorce I tried to make a band again.  Didn’t even own a set of drums, just played a kit a friend had.  That ended quickly.  When I shipped off to the Navy, I started playing the drums again on a borrowed kit.  That too didn’t last.  Though for all the years on and off I always had the dream of playing just one concert.  Nothing fancy, just for friends and family if anything.

Having come back to Michigan, I got to watch my kids perform.  Allen on the drums and Adam singing.  They are amazing.  Truly they are.  Not just a proud parent.  Watch them yourself!  Because of that, my love of the drums was rekindled.   So I broke down and bought a set.  I’d go hang out with Allen and jam on his kit at the church and watch him play.  He’s a far better drummer than I’ll ever be.  Especially since I didn’t notice and no one ever told me, that I play the drums wrong.  To a non-musician, you’d likely never notice I don’t do it right.  You would just think I’m so-so at doing it.  May even think I have some talent for it.  Maybe I do.  But…  I have the most basic of things learned wrong.  I also have no independence of my right arm and leg.  So I must start completely over and learn the basics.

As of this past weekend, I couldn’t take looking at my drums in pieces in this tiny room I live in.  I managed to rearrange and find a smidgen of space.  I can barely move in here, but dammit, I’m gonna learn!  I am gonna make my dream come true.  I may never be as good as Allen and I’ll never sing like Adam.  I’m gonna give it my all this time.

Commercial Radio Simply Sucks

Can't Find Good MusicIt seems no matter where I live, I can’t find a radio station that plays new upbeat rock music.  I had pretty much the same problem in Virginia.  Anything that resembled what I was remotely interested in, only happens once or twice a day on select stations.  The rest of the time it’s incoherent pop music with repetitive hooks and annoying noises.  Or it’s the same acid rock from the 70’s that has been playing for over 40 years.

This is where I differ from the “you darn kids” kind of older man.  I’m not stuck in one generation for music.  I like new music, I just prefer it to be rock and roll.  Not rap, R&B, hip-hop, pop or similar.  Hardly any of the bands I enjoy get played anywhere I’ve lived or traveled through. If it weren’t for the internet, I pretty much wouldn’t hear the music I like at all.  If anything I will hear something from Panic! At The Disco and maybe a Paramore song.  But no All Time Low, Flyleaf or any of my other favorite bands.  Although it’s not Pandora that helped me find the music I love.  They did just what every radio station has done.  Starts out decent.  Then suddenly I’m listening to Steppenwolf.  Turns out iHeartRadio knows what I like.  Spotify isn’t bad either, but I’m not about to pay $10 a month for it.

Up until recently, I didn’t really notice what the stations around here played as I didn’t have a car.  I just streamed my music on my desktop, laptop and phone.  Now that I do, I have to suffer through commercials, lousy DJ’s and industry standard crap.  It’s an older car with a cassette player.  Yikes.  I tried a cassette adapter for my phone to play my MP3’s or stream iHeartRadio, but it was mostly static background.  I tried a bluetooth adapter, sounds much better.  However, this is when I found out that any bump in the road causes whatever cassette that is in the deck to eject.  🙄

Thus, I’m stuck listening to the crappy local radio stations until I get a different car.  Can’t really see putting a nice stereo deck in a car that isn’t worth much more than the deck itself.  Although the way it runs and drives, that may be a few years from now.

Music moves me

The Band (Recognize Anyone?)Of all the things in this world.  I love my children, I love God and I love music.  In that order.  Sure I love my technology.  I love movies.  I love playing video games.  None of them can hold a candle to music.  No matter how much stuff life throws at me, I can turn to music to lift my spirits.  It moves me.  It motivates me.  I can get completely lost in it.

When I watch a movie, I can enjoy it for what it is.  An escape.  I get to watch a story of someone else.  But I can’t become part of it.  Even though I know it’s usually an adaptation of a book or true life story, I always find the plot holes.  So I try to put those aside and just watch it and enjoy some popcorn and company if there’s any to be had.

I love playing video games.  There is something exhilarating to be able to defeat a huge monster with magic and swords.  It’s even more gratifying if the healer bit the dust early, the tank fell just before the final kill and all your party members are laying dead at your feet while you stand victorious over the creatures limp corpse.  Though I can’t lose myself in that either.  Truth is I’d likely have an asthma attack just hurling a sword and shield about.  Or die of thirst from the loss of mana from casting spells.

When I listen to music I can just slip away into a whole different world.  An uplifting melody or beat can ease my cares and even if I don’t care for the lyrics, I can ignore them and enjoy the different instruments in harmony.  If I have too, I can think of my own lyrics.

Mundane things like taking my walk everyday, it’s music that I look forward too when there’s no one to walk with or talk too while I walk.  Let’s face it, where I live there’s not a lot of cool places to explore.  I miss living down town.  So I pretty much walk the same loop and let the music play.  It makes that hour or so fly by and I lip sync along or tap my fingers to the drums.  Sometimes both.  It also allows me to ignore some of the lesser people who pass me by and yell things out the windows of their cars.  I’m sure I wouldn’t want to know the stuff they say anyway.

Playing music is even more fun.  You can do anything and have fun doing it.  You can expend as much or as little energy you like and as long as the music is good, no one will fault you for it.  Well, with few exceptions anyway.  Even if a person like myself has two left feet and should not be allowed to even attempt dancing, it’s a blast to make others dance.  Something I’m looking forward to doing again in the fairly near future.  See the video below.

And lets be honest.  If it weren’t for good music, I’d probably be on medications for all the crap life throws my way.  Thank God for music.

Peace Sells, Who’s Buying?

Peace SellsSort of another nostalgia trip.  This post is inspired by the lyrics in a song I used to once rock out too.  It has been stuck in my head since yesterday and I started thinking about the things said in the song.  While it’s the hard music I used to listen to as a teenager, I never really paid much attention to the message.  I was too young, wild and free to care.  Times certainly have changed for me.  I now listen to more upbeat rock like Boys Like Girls, Paramore and such.  Back in my younger years it was Poison, Megadeth, Judas Priest and Mötley Crüe.

The world itself has changed too, but when it comes to politics, not a lot has really changed.  Every president is the worst ever according to the masses.  The same general conflicts of there is always someone threatening us or one of our friends and we always seem to be on a mission of peace.  Even if that means killing others to keeps said peace.  And lets not forget the billions of dollars we spend on helping other countries in one form or another when we can’t even take care of our own problems.  There are too many problems to list, but health care, starvation and lunatic control are among them.  Notice I said lunatic control and not gun control.  Just so we’re clear where I stand on that.

Lets look at some of the lyrics of Megadeth’s – Peace Sells.

And, what do you mean, “I don’t pay my bills”?
Why do you think I’m broke? Huh?

There are far too many Americans who can’t find a job or support their families on the meager wages they make.  I for one, hate on the days I pick and choose who gets what and how much.  I’m sick to death of living out of a box as it is, and I still sometimes find it hard to keep paying medical and medicine bills.

What do you mean, “I ain’t kind”?
I’m just not your kind.

While I find most of this new found obsession with Bullying to be utter nonsense, and that there is an abundance of jerks and pansies for children these days.  My generation also had bullies.  We dealt with it either by using our brains or finding a way to knock the shit out of the offending pricks rather than crying about it or hurting ourselves over it.  However, kids today have no fear of reprisal.  So when someone is different, they are quick to point it out.  Whether in a polite or impolite manner.  Generally the latter.  Many kids today have no manners at all.   I was introduced to someone’s child a few days ago.  I said, “Very nice to meet you.”.  The child’s reply was, “Meh.” as they turned their head away in disgust.  The parent did nothing about it, nor said anything to the child about how rude that was.  Kind of makes me want to beat a parent.  It also makes me so proud that all my kids have excellent manners.

What do you mean, “I couldn’t be the president of the United States of America”?
Tell me something, it’s still “We the people”, right?

The song goes on to say anyone could be the President, but I honestly think that might not be true.  Though the chorus I believe in fully.  I think things need to change.  But for some reason, if you really look at history, not a whole lot has changed as far as politics go.  Sure technology has, but the same old arguments of money, health care, food, immigration, conflicts, terrorism are all still there and likely will continue to be.

If there’s a new way
I’ll be the first in line,
But, it better work this time.

If you can get past the nauseating camera work and quick scene changes, the words have a hell of a message.

Now if we could just get scientists to stop improving nature and food, perhaps we’d all be healthier.  Between food additives and crossbreeding or subduing animals…  Yeesh…

Band/Musician Demo Site

With all these concerts going on around here lately, I got all inspired to make a new Demo Website geared toward bands. As always, it’s Mobile Friendly 🙂

[Click Images to Visit]

Band or Musician Demo SiteCastleRain Web Design

Bryan Eggers – Troublemaker

Bryan Eggers - TroublemakerI just wanted to share some great music by a friend of mine Bryan Eggers who I had the pleasure of meeting through my sons Adam and Allen in 2007.  He just released his debut album and I got to say, even for a man who primarily likes Rock and some Jazz, I’m getting a lot of enjoyment out of Bryan’s music.  I have seen him perform several times throughout the Northern Michigan area in the past year.  He’s an incredibly talented guitar player and an amazing singer as well.

I wish him well on in his journey as a musical artist.

As quoted here by his Kickstarter page:

After years of writing and performing, I have compiled the best of my work in this long awaited debut album!

You can listen to his music via Spotify (the player below) and you can buy his music via:

Amazon: http://gden.net/9o
CDBaby: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/bryaneggers
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/troublemaker/id888922494

You can also see him as his Album Release Party on June 26th from 6-9 at Scovie’s Gourmet in Charlevoix Michigan, right by the bridge! Super yummy fantastic food, live music and lots of cds for purchase!

Back in Black

Roland DrumsCheck out this Black Beauty 😀

This is my drum kit.  I started building it back in January.  Though I hadn’t chose to talk about it much until now.  Despite everything taking a left turn in my life in the past couple of weeks, I’m still hard core focused on making some good things happen for me.  Although it is evident that I need to make getting a quality camera and video cam higher priority on my list.  Right after I get a decent drum throne.  The one in the picture is the second one I’ve gotten and it too is uncomfortable before long.  It will have to do in the interim.

I just put the finishing touches on the kit yesterday.  The kit itself is complete, but I still need a few more things to get me back in practice.  Some lessons from a great drummer (Cobus), a more comfortable drum throne (like Allen has) and an amp.

It wasn’t easy to put this in between paying on medical bills and paying people back.  While still having some money to take an incredible woman out to dinner.  Though one way or another I will accomplish it all.  I’m determined and nothing, I mean nothing will stand in my way.  Thanks to God, Family and Friends; I’ve made it this far.  There’s still the road ahead.  It looks like a warm afternoon drive in country about dinner time with the sun shining through the trees as we pass under them.  Who wants to go for a ride?

Country Road 2560x1600

Sharing is not always Caring

Noise PolutionWhile the world is all about sharing these days, most kinds of sharing have convenient ways they can be filtered for content.  On the various Social Networks, you can unfriend, unfollow, unsubscribe, block and ignore.  Websites you don’t like, you can simply hit the back button or close the browser and the offensive content is gone just like that.  Even in real life, you can decide not to watch or look or listen to things that bother you.  Well… Usually.

But there has always been the group, even long before the internet was going on, that must be heard no matter if you want too or not.  No matter how loud your headphones are, or effectively you plug/cover your ears, they can still be heard anytime day or night.  Sometimes you can hear them coming down the highway long before you can clearly see them.  And listen to them long after they’ve passed you.  Complete douchebags with their cars, trucks and motorcycles.  Equipped with obnoxiously loud exhaust systems and over the top sound systems.  Pumping, thumping, ripping, revving and racing all over the country.  Don’t get me wrong, I am an old school rocker who loves live music, fast cars and going fast down a two-track on a motorcycle.  But there’s a time and place for these activities.  Even when I was a kid driving big block V8 engines with my overkill Sparkomatic stereo system.  Hey, I’m not like these folks and spend every dime I have to annoy everyone else around me.

And that’s just it.  There seems to be a large group of people with one or more of these items who must be heard no matter where they are or what time of day it is.  Four o’clock in the morning I don’t need to ripped from my sleep just to hear how some “Nigga, popped a cap in some bitch-ass punk, over some Hoe.“.  I’m trying to sleep, so later on I can help your moronic ass figure out what email program you’ve been using for the past 4 years.  When I’m out walking trying to listen to music I like while wearing headphones, I don’t need to hear your Harley revved up and echoing under the bridge at ear bleeding decibels drowning out every other noise in the world.  When I have a migraine headache and trying to enjoy the silence in my home, I don’t want to hear your Mom’s Nissan with the exhaust cut off blasting by.  I don’t need it, and I’m positive there are hundreds of thousands of other people just like me who don’t enjoy it either.

It seems every day I say, “Thanks for sharing.  Asshole.”.

When I had a loud car or stereo system, I was still considerate to others.  I’d only let it be loud out in the country.  Certainly easier to be inconsiderate to cows, horses, and the occasional farm house.  But when I’m in town, there may be a lot of apartments above stores (especially where I live now), or when I enter a residential area, I keep the roar dull and the music down.  As these folks may want to enjoy their day off.  Or sleep for their job, no matter what the hours are..  Or endure their illness without added discomfort.

Obnoxious assholes who must be as loud as possible wherever they go only prove a few things:

  • They have absolutely no consideration for others
  • They are completely self absorbed
  • And have too much money

That and how Rappers and Country singers really need to let a cheating woman go, they aren’t worth the jail time.  But that’s a rant for another time.

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