They'll give a blog to anybody.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Thanks Mom

I need to say thank you to my mother for raising me well and teaching me things I needed to know. Specifically, how to cook, clean, and sew. I didn't necessarily agree at the time, but she knew what she was doing. My recent foray into dress making, and the comments I have received, has refreshed my memory on something.

Women (real, adult, women) like men that are useful around the house.

They may say they like 'bad boys', and they might like them. As toys. But in the long term, I think most women will choose the guy that can make them clothes, fix them dinner, give them a good massage, and clean the bathroom. Now, if you also happen to have a Harley and a leather jacket, or be in a rock band... that would probably be okay.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

A Different Creative Outlet

A few weeks ago, Mrs. Dirpus and I were at the mall with our youngest daughter trying to find a new dress for her to wear to her sixth grade promotion. There was nothing that conformed both to what she wanted and what we would allow her to wear. "No you may not buy that dress from the young street walker collection!"

Finally, as Mrs. Dirpus was about to strike the young one dead, she asked me if I could make her a dress. A little taken aback, I said "Sure". The two of them went out later and bought a bunch of stuff and brought it home and I made a dress out of it. Everyone was happy with the result and thought our daughter looked very cute.

Then, a week ago Friday, my wife asked if I could make her a new dress to wear to a Job's Daughters event last Friday for our oldest daughter. Mind you, I am wearing a tuxedo to this event. I told her that if I started that day, I probably could. So we went to the fabric store and looked at patterns. She settled on a nice formal dress after I said I could mix top B with bottom C. I didn't really know if I could or not, but I was pretty sure I could work something out.

So, we bought all this fabric and a pattern and brought it home a week before she needed to wear it. Let me tell you about that week. I spent all day Saturday in the recording studio. I worked my job Monday to Friday. The Sacramento Monarchs started a home stand (we have season tickets) and we went to games on Saturday, Tuesday, and Thursday nights. That left me Sunday, Monday and Wednesday nights, and Friday after I got home from work before we left for the event.

There were a few minor technical difficulties in Mrs. Dirpus' gown. Did you know that the sizes used in patterns aren't the same as the sizes women buy in the stores. After doing some measuring on Mrs. Dirpus and preparing the pattern, I realized I need to buy a new one in a different size. This eliminated any chance of working on the dress on Friday or Saturday. As I was almost done and doing a fitting, it was decided that one of the things in the dress made it not fit right. This required buying more fabric, ripping some seams and re-doing the lining of the dress. This took my entire Wednesday night. Fortunately, I got off work early on Friday and was able to finish it up with about three hours to spare. I think it turned out pretty well. The picture below shows Mrs. Dirpus and Dirpette #2 in their Dirpus creations.

Before three weeks ago, I had never made a dress. What do you think of my handiwork?

The Recording Studio

I have a new appreciation for musicians that you'll never know. These people don't play on stage in front of thousands of people or make millions of dollars. They go to work each day in the recording studio playing the music we listen to every day. You probably hear many of them on the radio on your favorite songs, although they aren't singing or playing the guitar solo. They are most likely playing some small part in the background.

My band is currently working on a demo record to give out to club owners to try to get some paying work. Two Saturdays ago, we spent six hours in a recording studio trying to record the drum tracks for four songs. We spent two hours just getting everything set up. Then we spent three hours recording and re-recording the same thing. Because we have a limited budget, we quit when we thought it was good enough to work with. We'll go back and record other parts then Dustin, the engineer that owns the studio, will work some magic and make songs out of the pieces we recorded.

The studio is in an industrial park near Sacramento, CA. It used to be some kind of high tech company that went out of business. The conversion to a recording studio has turned it into a place that is conducive to being creative. It is decorated in a casual manner which is relaxing. The down side is the large room where we had the drums set up doesn't have air conditioning. As the morning turned into a Sacramento, June, afternoon, the heat started to rise. We spent more time in the small control room which had air conditioning, returning only to the big room when necessary. My turn ended up being while we were working on the last song of the day, which was the hottest part of our time there. The drummer and I played the same song several times while listening to the accompaniment on headphones.

Overall, I'm glad for the experience, and actually look forward to the next session. But I have a new respect for those that do this everyday to make a living and have to get it right the first or second time, every time, or they don't work. I've learned a little about what it means to be a working musician.

The thing is...

I still want to be one.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Better to be Lucky Than Good

My band is experiencing a little bit of the title of this post, not that we aren't good. People have told me that if they were in a bar, drunk, and we were playing, that they wouldn't leave. That sounds like a pretty ringing endorsement.

"Green Elephant. If you're in a noisy bar and have had too much to drink, they don't suck."

Anyway, back to the topic at hand. We have a gig on June 29th through the local parks department to play at one of the local parks. It's a monthly series they put on every summer. Because we're playing the first event of the summer, the parks people asked if we would be able to go on one of the local television station's morning programs two days before the concert. It would be from 9:00 to 10:00 on Wednesday, June 27th, and we'd have to be there an hour early to set up. We thought about it for about half a second and said "Heck yeah!" (or something vaguely similar).

So because we happen to be playing in the first concert of the summer, we get to be on TV. Cool!