Past is prologue

You know what is not a brilliant idea? Restarting your blog and then going on vacation, that's what. Especially when that's followed by a week in a recording studio overseeing a remix of a band I was in back in 1985.

Two 10-hour slots and one five-hour slot in four days made for a lot of listening and deciding, especially when the day and a half off mostly meant more listening and deciding (plus a few hours for the rest of life).

Now that I have a candidate for mastering, I'm in a more leisurely period of listening and deciding. My former band mates also have access to the remix.

So far I'm mostly happy. Some songs are killer. For some, I might want changes. There might also be things my band mates want changed. But it has already come a long way from where it was.

The original record had a somewhat thin punk-pop sound (my bad, I was enamoured of Miami by The Gun Club at the time) that the label owner tried to rescue during mastering, with some success. Effects were used judiciously, and nothing is very fancy.

I knew I wanted to fatten up the sound, but I wasn't sure about making it too much shinier. I thought that would affect the integrity of the material. In the studio, I soon realized that I was never going to make it so shiny that it wouldn't sound like itself.

The remixed songs still sound like us laying down tracks, sometimes live on the floor together, sometimes in overdubs, but all us. But now the presentation has more impact. The bass is tighter, guitars are stronger, the drums are beautifully handled, and the vocals are clear and bright. It sounds better in every way. If we had been able to make it sound this good in 1985, I hope we would have.

In other news, retirement rocks, except that I still seem not to have enough time to do everything I want to do. Like write blog posts.


Not dead yet

Hello, is this mic live?

It's 2019. Since whatever popularity blogs had is long gone, I'm going to start mine up again. I'm all about unpopularity. If Twitter is a conversation with yourself that you hope someone else is interested in, then blogging is like writing on spec for a publication that no one can find. But if I enjoy doing it, then I'll keep doing it. And one never knows where readers come from.

At the point when I stopped posting, life had become difficult in several ways. The combination of not yet being able to retire from a good, well-paying job that I just didn't love, and the ascendance of so-called right-wing populism, i.e., politics based on people at their un-empathetic worst took a toll everyday. I would wake up stressed about work, as well as fearing what I was going to read in the morning's headlines. It had impacts on pretty much all aspects of my health.

In all this, I lost blog mojo. Instead, I started writing a journal again. Several blank books in a row, over the last couple of years. Writing in a journal has been very beneficial to me. It's kind of a habit now, which I had never been able to develop before.

(I didn't go completely private. I was on Twitter, too much. Twitter is a very good part of my life that can also be a very bad part. It has become a vital communication tool in my city and among people here whom I know. I see breaking news, and much more that is interesting and that I want to keep up with. The downside is that it can be all-consuming while also delivering non-stop distressing content and excessive outrage in almost real time.)

Now, I am retired. I made it. After all my rebellion, I did what my parents instilled in me: found a good job, stuck with it (for far too long), and saved for retirement. They were not against having a fulfilling career—after all, my dad became a teacher and then an administrator—but as children of the Great Depression, security was paramount for them. So since I stayed the course, maybe my sweetie and I will have enough to live on until we cease to exist.

Before I retired, many people asked what I would do instead of working. My answer was always the same: all the things that I have wanted to do all my life but rarely had time or focus to do.

I have new music to make and old music to revive. Next week, I will start remixing an album my band recorded in 1985, with more material to follow as budget permits.

I have writing to do. Not sure what kind of writing at this point, beyond re-adding this blog to the mix, but writing is something I can't help but do, like music.

I have a couple of volunteer things, one of which requires a fair amount of energy. I'm cooking and baking. It's finally time to head out into the garden.

And there are things I once loved and want to bring back into my life. When I arrived in Vancouver almost 25 years ago, I had more time than money. I did a lot of hiking on the North Shore, and I rode my bicycle between East Van and UBC. Now once again having more time than money, I would like to get back to both of those activities while I am still able to do so.

My sweetie and I have things to do together, such as travel, senior days at this or that local attraction, and occasionally being ladies who lunch.

I'm only beginning to figure out this new life and new schedule. I'm going to see if blogging more than once in a blue moon can be part of it.