Friday, October 28, 2011

I finished my painting!

So, last night I stayed up most of the night finishing my painting. I was feeling inspired:

Recording Update

On Wednesday we headed back to the studio to do some last minute vocal touch ups and talk mixing. We will have an official release date soon. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


So, I was randomly inspired to spend some time outdoors today. I was literally sitting on the couch and had a eureka moment: "I have to get out of the house!" I felt a desperate need to experience some sun, sky, dirt, and plants that I wasn't growing (or rather, barely keeping alive) in my house. I've come to the realization over the last few months that living in Phoenix can be similar to living in a snowy climate. No, seriously. For a period of about five months every year, it's completely unbearable to go outside. Even when you are completely craving some natural light, a quick trip to the mail box is enough to make you run back inside again and stand in front of the fan with a glass of ice water. Everyone spends their day going from air conditioned building to air conditioned car to air conditioned building and so on. After a while I start to develop cabin fever. All I want to do is go outside and experience nature, but nature doesn't love me back.

In the last couple weeks, however, Phoenix has become beautiful. October is my favorite month of the year. It's warm, but not cold. The mysterious darkness of fall is palpable but not overwhelming. The world feels like it's starting to calm and the month ends with my favorite creepy holiday, Halloween. This beautiful October weather has made me itch even more to get outdoors and today I just couldn't take it anymore. Once I became determined to go outdoors I realized that I had no idea where I wanted to go. I've lived in Phoenix for three years, but those three years were spent frantically trying to accomplish all my tasks as a teacher with very little free time. I have no idea what there is to do outdoors here. It seems so silly that I've barely even ventured out of my own backyard and I live in this huge city surrounded by all sorts of mountains and lakes. I decided that there had to be some hiking trails east of Mesa that I could go to, so I did an internet search for hiking trails near Mesa. Most of the trails that came up were a little farther away than I was willing to travel today except for Usery Mountain Regional Park. It was only twenty minutes away from my house so I decided to check it out.

I'd never actually driven this far northeast in Mesa. I am amazed to say that there is actually something past all of the orange groves! I figured they just went on forever and ever. I took Mckellips past the 202 and ran into this new subdivision. All of a sudden the scenery changed and it felt like I was in northwest Tucson. Even the houses looked like they belonged in northwest Tucson. It was very pretty. Usery Mountain Regional Park has a bunch of hiking trails, some of which go into the Tonto National Forest, campgrounds, and an archery range. I got there in the late afternoon, so I was able to get some cool sunset pictures.

 One of the mountains in Usery Park. It has a "scar" which is actually a different layer of sediment deposited by volcanoes.
 Saguaros! I've missed you...

 You usually can't see a saguaro's roots, but sometimes the soil washes away enough that you can see them like roots from a tree. I noticed the roots from several saguaros sticking out and also a couple of barrel cacti that had been uprooted, so I guess this soil must wash away easily.

I guess someone decided that this saguaro needed a hat... 

I decided to make these pictures bigger since they're all scenery pictures.

 They wanted to make sure that you knew that Phoenix is < that way.

 The shoes! I forgot to take a picture when there was still daylight.
 This one was my favorite sunset picture.
 The white lines by the saguaros are planes flying by. I had to do 15 second exposures on these pictures, so any moving lights turn into a line.

 I really liked this particular ocotillo silhouette. 
 Staring down the road at the city lights.
This is a panorama I stitched together out of three different pictures.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

New Painting

I felt randomly inspired on Monday night and decided to work on a new painting. Here's my progress so far:

Monday, October 10, 2011

Recording: Day 3

Our third day of recording was a very busy day! It was the last day we had scheduled in the studio last week and it was our goal to finish recording all the guitar, cello, bass, and vocal parts for our remaining eight songs. We started with all of Devin's parts at 10:30 in the morning. We had to take a break at two for a studio staff change and lunch. Then I recorded all of my parts, followed by Rock and Nate. We didn't quite have enough time to finish recording all of Rock's vocal parts, so we'll have to go back for one more day of vocal recording this upcoming week. After that it will be time for the mixing and mastering process and then CD release. Yay!!
Devin recording the vocals to Dagger.
Jon, our sound engineer.
Rock hanging out while I record cello parts.
Me getting ready to record my part to Across War Torn Lands while Rock pretends to play the cello Lol.

Hmm...looks like we've moved in.
Sara, Nate's wife, filming while Rock records vocals.
Gabby, James' wife, checking facebook. I like the awesome motion blur!
Nate, waiting to play his bass parts. 
I'm not sure which song Rock is recording here.
It's finally Nate's turn!

James flexing his crazy drummer muscles.
Here's a short preview of some of the clips from our upcoming recording video and recording bloopers video. Enjoy!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Recording: Day 2

Wednesday was our second day of recording and it was quite a day! We started at noon and ended at 10:30. When we got to the studio, our first task was to finish drum tracking on Answers, Found, Eleanor Rigby, Across War Torn Lands, and Keygripped. Tracking drums takes a lot longer than most people would think. They are not really an instrument where the sound engineer can just pick a particular part of the track and have the drummer re-play that part where the kick drum wasn't quite on rhythm. It never quite sounds right that way, no matter how much editing the sound engineer might do later. If James makes a mistake, we have to play the entire track again, so recording the drum part to five songs takes a considerable amount of time. We were able to finish tracking the rest of the 10 drum parts in about three hours. After this, Jon and his intern had to take down all the drum mics and get ready to mic all the stringed instruments and vocals so we went to lunch. We went to the Chuckbox on University and Mill. I had this:

It's called the Tijuana Torpedo. Those are green chilis. Mmmmmmmmmm.

When we got back to the studio, Jon and his intern put mics on all of our cabs and we got started recording.

Everyone played their instrument inside the sound booth while their amps were miked in the large room so no sounds of breathing, walking, coughing, etc. came through the microphone.
Vocals! Seen through the glass in the sound booth.
Nate recording his part for harvesting habits. 
James "eating the microphone," although I'm not sure
James playing back a drum track so we can hear if there are any mistakes. 
The analog gear rack. Pretty cool. Jon will run our tracks through this gear during mixing and mastering.
The owner of the studio is a member of the Gin Blossoms. He has skateboards displayed all over the walls of the studio.
The computer.
James playing back some drum tracks.
Rocking out to Across War Torn Lands!!

Read my next blog to hear about day three! More pictures and video to come!