Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Google Drive, Spring Cleaning, and... WTF?

I've been a user of Google Docs for quite a long time now. Well, by internet/technology standards that is.

I jumped on the bandwagon back in 2007 (half a decade ago!) around when it was launched. Overall my experience has been pretty good. But then I admit that I haven't really used it for anything extensive - mostly just as a place to store and edit my lyrics and writing ideas. Simple word processing, really, that I can access anywhere I have a computer and the internet.

So today when I saw that they were launching Google Drive (a Google version of DropBox more or less) I again hopped on the bandwagon. My immediate reactions are about the same: neither mind-as-blown nor highly-disappoint.

On the "meh" side of the line, I'm disappointed that my document files are nothing more than links or aliases to their Google Docs URL. I'm not sure why I would have expected something different. Certainly it would be nice to have offline access to these documents finally. But... meh.

On the "plus" side of the line, I find the interface - actual computer files and folders in the Windows OS - seems just a lot more ... right. The online interface, while similar in function, just seemed a little stodgy in reaction/interaction. I suppose it's because it's relying upon the browser to interpret the mouse and then render things properly. The lag was sometimes quite noticeable.

Suddenly it just felt MUCH easier to rummage through all my accumulated crap and, thus, I began some long overdue organization and cleaning. Yay!

During this process I ran across a file named, "Tommy Watkins". Finding myself clueless as to its contents, I opened it up to something of a surprise.

I remember Tommy Watkins back in middle school. He was one of those strange sorts. Lived all by himself in this squalid little shack of house down the street. Yard full of waist high weeds, shutters broken and dangling like the clothes on a discarded Barbie doll.

Nobody really knew much about him. We rarely ever saw him. I once dared Janney to go peak in his window but she totally chickened. Even Darren was too scared. Occasionally we'd happen to see him darting from his car into his front door as if it were raining acid or something in whatever alternate dimension he was living in.


Certainly we heard more about him than we saw. They say he had issues. Demons, actually. Heard voices 'n shit. Yeah, they said he had a lot of inner demons to battle. I guess so. I remember when the police found him they said he'd slashed open his own belly - all hari kari 'n stuff like.

I guess he thought that was how he'd get rid of 'em.

I honestly don't know where this came from. Is it something someone sent me? Is it something I ganked from somewhere? Is it something I wrote? I... I'm not sure.

I did a bit of Googling to no avail. Of course, if it is something a friend sent me, it's very likely that I won't be able to find anything. Nor do I remember knowing any Tommy Watkinses.

There is the possibility I did write it. Lord only knows I've been going through a bunch of these lyrics and stuff and finding myself often surprised at the lines I've written and then forgotten. It has a certain dark humor to it that is *very* me. The voice is not exactly mine. But then I do enjoy the challenge of changing my voice around from time to time.

Yet... if I *did* write it then what was it supposed to be? It almost seems like an introduction to something - that preface or prologue that starts off the novel. Was there supposed to be more? Is it just a sort of dark and twisted pun?

Hrmmm. The mystery...

Monday, April 23, 2012

Evolution of process

A couple weeks ago I installed Figure - Propellerhead's slightly Reason-esque iPhone app. At just a buck, I figured it was worth playing around with. Overall, I'm not terribly excited by it. You can't save anything. You only have a two-bar length for a loop. And you can't even change the time signature from 4/4 to... anything.

Still it's been a quaint thing to have sometimes while I'm commuting on the bus or just killing a little bit of time.

The other day I came up with something that tickled me enough. So Sunday I hooked my phone up to my DAW and recorded it into Sonar LE. From there I putzed around with it in both Live and Audacity.

I'm not sure whether or not I'm done with it yet. It's still begging for some things here and there - reversed noises, ambient/room sounds... something.

Any other musicians out there have recommendations for iPhone-based software? I'm not looking for super-elaborate stuff necessarily. It would just be nice to put together some basic ideas - perhaps just beats or melodies - and do things like SAVE them or transfer them to my desktop.

Synths would be fun, too. I need to bone up a bit on my understanding of general synth controls and programming. I know my basics and understand most of the general principles. But getting a better experiential understanding would be awesome. There's so many sounds I hear but have little luck producing via the software I currently have.