The Whistler's Dream

Everybody needs a dream...
Mine is to go to Oklahoma and play whistles for The Pioneer Woman. (Having been invited, not in a "creepy stalker" kind of way, for the record.) Heck, I'd play in a pup tent in the backyard for the joy of the cows and critters. What can I say? I'm a fan.
Everybody needs a dream...

Random Fluffy Foto!

Random Fluffy Foto!
Writing in bed, and Beka editing by ear. Really. The ear typed some letters. Really.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Cal's Top 10 Things That Make Daily Life Better

I've been going on and on about the CD so much, that I thought I'd ramble (or babble) for a bit. I've been thinking about my daily routine - or lack thereof, and discovered there are certain things that make things better... So, here they are. Some of them may be helpful to you... others are one-of-a-kind, and sorry - I'm not giving those up. :-D

(In no particular order... sort of...)

10) Senseo coffee
pod brewer - Since I'm the only one who drinks coffee in our house (and that would be flavored, with LOTS of cream and some sugar...), it makes sense not to have a conventional brewer. I can also make one flavor in the morning, and switch to another one anytime I want to! (

(I should also mention the LARGE water tank for the Senseo - VERY important!)

9) Cool Beans Coffee Pods - (makes sense - you need coffee pods for the brewer, right?) Cool Beans has a lot of flavored decaf coffee pods, as well as some teas. Chocolate Raspberry and French Vanilla are some faves of mine, along with Mocha Cinnamon Swirl and Gingerbread Cookie (which I happen to be enjoying right now...). Good stuff! (

8) Ezri. She makes sure I don't sit in one place too long, since every couple of hours she comes to wherever I'm working and asks to go play in the back yard. And, she keeps me company on those days when I'm feeling a little lonely.

7) High Speed Internet. 'Nuff said.

6) The Neverlate Alarm Clock - This little puppy ROCKS!!! 7 seperate alarms, that you can set once and leave alone. Don't have to remember to turn on the alarm for the next morning, since it goes to the next one each day. So I can do one time Tuesday-Friday, a later one for Saturday, earlier on Sunday, and later on Monday. BRILLIANT!!! I love this thing!!! (

5) A headset for my phone :-D - I use it to make appointments, take information from clients, and just generally have my hands free when I'm on the phone.

4) An iPod and a Bose Sounddock - A continuous background of music to work by. Except of course for when I'm working on music. :-D (

3) Rock 'N' Roller Hand Truck - This little puppy expands into a platform cart so I can take my entire rig into a gig in one trip. Needless to say, it's essential.

2) Really good pliers - the better to make jewelry with. :-D

1) Vicki. Yes, she's a PERSON, not a thing... but she keeps the computers running; her eye for design and proofing is what will make the CD look better than it sounds; Her heart is huge, and she shows me what God's love looks like every day.

And, she is the one who decided that her 47 year old hubby would stay home and follow a path to creativity, instead of going back to a day job. That vision has brought smiles to the faces of many senior citizens, and hopefully to many others when the CD is released. She is amazing, and she is my beloved!

And over it all? The grace and love of God, giving an old dog like me a chance for a new path. To Him alone is the glory, for His love endures forever...

Soli Deo Gloria

Friday, October 27, 2006

So when are you due?... (CD, not baby...)

To answer Jenelle's comment on the previous post, yes! The CD should be back in time to be a great Christmas gift. (I'm blushing a bit as I write this...) Here's where we are at:

The CD is at the plant, getting mastered and having the artwork finalized. We hopefully will see proofs of the artwork early next week, and if all continues on schedule, they should hopefully be back near the end of November - maybe even before Thanksgiving! The project manager we're working with has been super - very helpful and lots of great communication.

One feature that was added that we didn't even realize could be a feature: when you put the disc in a "smart" CD player, like your computer or a car player with this capability, the player will display the titles of the different tracks. :-D Call me a geek, but I think that's just plain cool! Or, if you import it into iTunes from the CD, it should recognize the text on the CD and load the titles for you. (I'm guessing on that last one - we'll see when it comes back...)

Now, a question for the fine and friendly folks that read this blog...

We're working out what to charge for the CD, and I'd like some input. We're taking into account what it cost to make the thing, not only the actual duplication and artwork, but the hours and hours involved in the whole process - from writing the songs to recording the tracks to mixing, etc. So, the price we're thinking of is $15 for the CD, and a price break from there when someone buys more than one.

So, what do you think? Does $15 seem fair for a 54 minute CD? I know folks who think that all music should be free, and while I can understand and appreciate that, the $3000 and-then-some dollars to make the thing has to come from somewhere. We were going back and forth between $10 and $15, keeping our costs in mind, and are leaning toward the $15, not only to pay for this project, but to make future ones possible. (including replacing a couple of computers, to make sure that the studio system doesn't die in the middle of the next project, leaving the fate of the songs in near-jeopardy... coming that close to losing them just about freaked me out...) I already have two songs that are definite for the next disc, as well as a couple new ones that are just in the process of being written. I'm also hoping to do something special with part of the proceeds from the next CD - details forthcoming on that...

So, if you'd take the time to leave a comment, it'd give us a totally non-scientific sampling of an admittedly biased audience. :-D Thanks! Now we sit back and wait... anxiously. :-D

Sunday, October 22, 2006


It's 2:30am, and Vicki's gonna kill me for being up this late...

BUT - the CD is finished!! A couple of weeks late, and too late to have them for the photography exhibit I'm playing on Thursday, but still - it's DONE! It goes out for mastering and duplication on Monday, after which I think we're going to Mongolian BBQ to celebrate.

AND - it appears that my songs are finally going to actually start playing on MySpace! Appears that the files I sent were too big... of course, they didn't TELL me that. I just had to figure it out for myself. *sigh*

The link is here, in case you'd like to check it out:

So, there we are. I think I'm going to take Sunday off, and actually REST for a change... I'm going to try and talk Vicki into going to Rivertown and play games all afternoon in the food court. (after church, of course!) So, if you're out there Sunday afternoon, look for us. Maybe we'll be there, playing our new favorite game, Starship Catan. :-D

Thursday, October 12, 2006

How to do what I do

If you should ever contemplate doing what I do, playing music for folks at retirement communities, there are a few things you should know...

1) Allow yourself two hours to set up. Trust me - you'll need 'em. Unless, of course, you're one of those talented people who can just show up and sing, or show up and play their piano. If you schlep any gear at all, 2 hours.

2) Realize that most of those two hours of setup will be in front of an audience. Especially if you're in the dining room for your gig, and it's just after lunch. The folks will just turn their chairs around, face you, and watch you for two hours. I know - we usually use setup time to get our game on - to get mentally ready to play. Tough. This is part of what you're being paid for, so give 'em a good show. Sweat. Groan. Lift heavy objects. And don't forget to smile.

2a) If they didn't just stay after a meal, or they came from another building, they will arrive 40-60 minutes before you begin. Again, see #2. Don't forget to smile...

3) You will be asked the same questions about 20 times. Smile, be patient, and don't correct them when they get your name wrong. Instead, see how creative you can be in answering the same question 20 different ways.

4) The more equipment you have, the more astonished folks will be that you a) bring all that stuff, b) know how to hook it all up, and c) know what to do with it all. Smile.

After you have the privilege of playing for these dear folks...

1) Many of the same people who just sat through watching you setup will sit through watching you tear down. Once again, smile, lift heavy objects, sweat a bit (but not enough to gross anybody out - I always have trouble with that part...), and keep answering the same questions.

2) Also laugh at the witty things they say - they'll keep saying them over and over again, so keep laughing.

3) Be aware that even though they just watched you get all that stuff out, that was 2 hours ago, so they'll be amazed that a) you have that much stuff, b) that you know where everything goes when putting it away, and c) that you know how to take it all apart. (Again, if you don't take any equipment to gigs with you, you don't really get this part. It's a shame, because you're missing out on a major part of the experience...)

4) They're going to tell you how wonderful the music was, how much they enjoyed it, and how talented you are. Now, even if you just played the worst hour of your entire musical life, which, if it had been recorded, would be a piece entitled "snail snot on a kazoo," thank them sincerely for their kindness. DO NOT go into what an off day you were having, how the key on your widget stuck, etc. That's your problem, not theirs. They just had a bright spot to their day, enjoying music and your company. Don't take that away from them with reality.

5) Schlep all your dollies and dishies back out to your vehicle, load it up, get in the driver's seat, and reflect on what a cool thing it is to be able to play music for these sweet folks. Thank God for His gift of music, pray that the folks that just heard it were encouraged, and hit the road with a smile on your face.

Repeat. Again. And again. And again...

Lord, thanks for another great day of making music. Thanks for the folks in Jenison - bless them, be dear to them, and thanks for allowing me to bring a bit of light into a dark, snowy day. Amen.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Sneak Preview!!

If all this new-fangled technology works the way it's supposed to, y'all will be able to hear a bit o' the new CD on my MySpace page. (of course, since I'm the one who set it up, it'll probably crash the whole eastern seaboard or something...) Anyway, cross your fingers and head over to:

The songs should appear within the next 24 hours, or so the folks at MySpace tell me. :-D And hey - if you're a MySpace person, consider adding me to your friends, and I'll do the same.

Technology. Scary...

DONE!!! (with this part anyway)

I finished the basic work for the last song this afternoon. It's fitting that the first song I ever wrote is the last song I finished for the CD - the title track, "Angelica's Waltz."

Fine tuning is next, and finishing the copy for the booklet. Hopefully tomorrow our software arrives for us to begin the design of the materials, and we'll finish that this weekend and have the CD out to the duplication company on Monday.


And yes, I'm a little nervous about the whole thing. What if folks get it, listen to it, and think "what the HECK did I spend actual cash money on this thing for?" Or, "Look mom - a new coaster." Yes, I'm insecure - it's like putting something very personal out for public display and commentary. Eeeep.

Soli Deo Gloria...

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

And then there were two...

As of 6pm, we're down to two songs left to complete. :-D The solos are all recorded - now it's down to editing (known as doing a "comp" track - taking many performances and selecting bits and pieces to combine into the finished solo) and then the final checking. We're hoping to have it off to mastering and duplication by next week...

Two to go...