Friday, August 23, 2019

More Random Thoughs

I know that I have shared a bit of this with some of you individually so to you I apologize but it is just easier this way.

2. My renewed interest in music and music production has caused me to drag my laptop out of semi-storage and plug it back in after about a 6 month hiatus. Fortunately the marina has a decent high speed internet connection in the restaurant. The downside is that I have to lug the computer and all the other stuff up from the boat (where the internet is slow and flaky) to the restaurant. It took about three 6 hour days for all of the software updates to download. Then another day to download all the stuff not on auto download. Then a week to download all my game updates from Steam. Wow.

3. Having resisted buying a smart phone for years I finally took the plunge when my flip phone died about 8 months ago. It is amazing how all my other interfaces - computer, tablet, etc. were no longer necessary. At least except for very specific tasks: gaming and music.

4. For gaming I still of course use Steam. It is great because I frequently run into Trevor or Spencer for an impromptu conversation.

5. Before I left the US (I think the last time was actually about 5 years ago) I bought a keyboard. It is a pretty amazing instrument but the downside is it is big for the boat. Not to mention that I have to take lots of care that it doesn't get wet. But it is great fun.



It is a Yamaha PSR-S970 to be exact.

6. Being both a super geek and and type "A" personality I decided that I needed appropriate computer software to link to my keyboard (which is actually a synthesizer.) I downloaded and installed "fruity loops" which has since become the fabled :FL Studio release 20.(https://www.image-line.com/flstudio) Little did I understand that learning the combination of hardware and software was equivalent to creating life while simultaneously inventing faster than light travel (all the above in an elevated state of inebriation.)

7. With some gentle help from a couple of local audio engineers/music producers and many hours on YouTube watching tutorials produced by people 40 years younger I am finally getting a bit of a handle on the technical side. Unlike my previous experience the issue is that the software can do too much. One could spend several lifetimes trying to create the "perfect" synth render of an instrument. At some point one has to just say enough and move on.

8. When people would ask me "can you teach me to program?" I would always ask "what do you want to write a program to do?" It was my point of view that in order to learn one needs an objective. My audio engineering coaches agreed. One can download just about anything from the internet - in particular all sorts of instrument sounds, music scores, loops, processors, etc. The one thing that can't be found is unprocessed audio. In other words what a performer sounds like when they step up to a microphone with no fancy electronics and just sing. And breathe. And change tempo, attack, volume, etc. That actually requires delving into the "meat world" - the only place where vocalists are found. Fortunately my trips to Bangla created some candidates. Meet Kass and Lovely, my vocalists.



Yes. Both Filipinos and as tiny as they look. But great voices. Over the next few weeks they will be contributing their voices to my audio education. At some point I will send you an audio clip.

So, long update from here. But at least I don't do it often.

Fair winds and following seas

Random Thoughts

1. I have discovered it is much easier to use the Marina gym locker room to get cleaned up each day. (So far I have stopped smoking, perhaps start exercising next?) It got me thinking about "towel etiquette" even though I am frequently alone in the shower area. There is not a good place to leave your clothing when you take a shower. You have to walk through the locker room naked. This got me thinking. Since I was never a big jock in High School I would always wrap myself up in a towel on the way to and from the shower. The jocks would just sling the towel over their shoulder and swing in the breeze. Amazing that it took Thailand for me to catch on.

2. Being old and a solo sailor leaves me with a lot of time on my hands. Where I live there is nothing to do at any time of day or night. So every couple of weeks I go down to the tourist district of Phuket, primarily Patong Beach. I spend most of my evenings bar hopping from one live band venue to the next. Unfortunately the quality of most of the bands is not very good. The nightclubs play something I don't identify as music so I usually don't stay very late. Except, as Spencer knows, to visit my barber at between 10PM and Midnight. (Nothing happens on Bangla until 7PM.) These trips got me back into playing and producing music. As a consequence I have been listening to a lot of 70's through 90's music. It struck me tonight how much really bad advice is contained in the lyrics of popular music. It also seems that the more popular the more terrible the advice.

3. Most of the people on Bangla (it is a mononym) are tourists. The workers after a while catch on to the people who live in Phuket as we keep showing up. And sometimes it gets funny. As a friend pointed out when the hookers start calling you by name (even if you have never availed yourself of their services) you know you have been doing this too long. I have a couple of friends who are female vocalists at one of the local bars. When I visit them I take each of them a rose (non-tourist street price 100 thb or about $3.25 USD the pair - farang price $15 USD - each) Somehow I have become identified with this particular action. So the bar girls (those whose job is to get you to purchase them a lady drink, and their friend a lady drink, and their friend's .....) will call as I walk by "where my rose" instead of "where you from." Since "where you from" and "you buy me drink" pretty much use 100% of the bar girl English vocabulary I am pretty impressed that they learned "rose."

4. One nice thing about the music production stuff is that I have become acquainted with some of the local recording studio people. I hope this will result in a wider circle of acquaintances here in Phuket.

Fair winds and following seas 😀

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Phuket Mining Museum

Went to the dentist this morning. Second day in a row and not done. On the way home Hamido (my driver, helper, and in general all around good guy) took an alternate route because of traffic. 

We passed the Museum and decided to stop. Phuket was populated as a result of Tin mining. This museum chronicles the period. 

The only downside is most of the text was only Thai (most Asian museums also label everything in English.) Fortunately I had Hamido along.

Fair winds and following seas  😎

More Random Thoughs

I know that I have shared a bit of this with some of you individually so to you I apologize but it is just easier this way. 2. My renewed ...