Quick Portrait: The Lab – Studio A.

Studio A on The Lab. This is where the heavy lifting happens. The central recording and music production tool is Logic 10.4.8, with Native Instruments Maschine and other NI products integrated into the music production workflow. The computer – a mid-2011 Mac mini running High Sierra is the center piece. Despite it’s age, it gets the job done but I’m currently saving up for the M1 Mac mini, 16GB and a newer MOTU digital audio interface (the 828 Mk3 Hybrid) for use with the M1. To the right and out of the picture is a 16-space rack of vintage synth modules. An Akai MPC 2500 sampling drum machine sits on top.

Been spending a lot time in hear during the last two weeks working on tracks for a collaboration project dropping in January 2022, as well as a sophomore project my recording partner and I have been working on for quite some time. We’ve got three singles that will drop prior to the entire project next spring.

Right now, this man is tired and the alarm will go off mighty earlier.

Transmitting from my iPhone 22 mini via the WordPress for iOS app. Goodnight, sleep well.

Oceans of rhythm….

Doug

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Vintage Apple Memories (Macs, iPhones, and other Apple products)

Greetings and thanks for stopping by. Recently I came across a photo of an old ad (ten years ago) for the iPhone 4S. This was the model that introduced the world to Siri. It was also the second iPhone that I ever owned – an upgrade from my first one, the iPhone 4. I still have both those phones, still in near immaculate condition. Seeing this ad brought back fond memories all the way back to the first time I ever used an Apple product. That product was the Mac Plus (and the Mac SE/30), back in July 1988. Looking back on being an Apple fanboy to present day, I consider the late 80’s into the early 2000s as the “golden era” of Apple. This (long) blog post describes my journey and fandom (as it has evolved), from then to now. This post evolved from a series of tweets I posted on my Twitter feed from 28 Sep 2021 through 2 Oct 2021, which can be read here.

I hope you enjoy the read.

It was June 13, 1988 , the first day of my first job as an engineer. My previous job, working in the materiel coordination department of a major airline, saw the office full of IBM PC-XT computers, not one Mac in sight, but this new job had two, a Mac Plus and a Mac SE/30. The Macintosh line of computers were launched in 1984 and I had new of them through various ads, but didn’t pay too much attention overall. What I did remember is them touting the ease of “right out of the box” use, and how friendly the experience is. The business analyst in our office, David, was an older gentleman, maybe pushing 60 or greater, but what struck me was his affinity and love of the Mac. He was the one that embodied all that Apple was advertising in a Mac user. As he continued to explain to me how the OS worked and I began to see how different the experience was from using a PC, I also began to see and feel exactly what Apple was advertising as well.It was weird to me at first, that they can connect to a user through a computing device, so warmly, friendly, and easily, but I was totally getting it

As I worked to be acclimated in my position, the work was standard and enjoyable (it was actually my dream job in the field I grew to love and still work in). While the programmatic and design engineering work were done on PCs, David did a lot of the business aspects aligned with his position description on the Mac platform. The small set of Macs in the office expanded from that Mac Plus with a 20MB external drive, a Mac SE/30, to a Mac iiCi, and a really nice Apple Laserwriter II printer to a brand new Mac IICi. Any chance I got, I asked David what he was working on (though I knew nothing of business administration and the like), just to work on the Macs, System 6, System 7, etc. Working on the Mac platform almost seem eerily magical and captivating. David introduced me to a lot of software made for the Mac that existed on Windows, and software solely made for the Mac, like the Mac version of WordPerfect, AEC Information Manager (a database program for the Mac), After Dark and After Dark II screen savers, and many others. It was during this time I discovered the magic of Hypercard, loading software via 3.5″ floppy discs, and so much more. Everything about Macintosh ecosystem had me hooked beyond hooked – it was a scary pleasure, one that I still can’t quite figure out how Apple instilled that in so many users. The friendly usability right out of the box, the print ads in tech/regular magazines, the commercials, everything, I remember the feelings VERY clearly, about how this tech company can lay grip on the psyche so easily with a product…whew.

Three years in 1991, after gleaning so much from David about the Mac ecosystem (during work and after hour office social functions), I scraped and saved enough to by my first Mac – The Mac Classic II, from a small Mac computer shop (whose name escapes me) on Georgia Avenue, in Silver Spring, MD. When I finally got it home that night, took it out of the box, connect the mouse and keyboard to the serial port, plugged it in, and turned it on, it was more than exciting. I felt everything I described at work but now this was far more special because that was MY Mac. I felt like Ralphie’s dad, from The Christmas Story, the night the Leg Lamp personally delivered to him!

The Mac Classic II was running System 7.0 and I learned the ins and outs of it. Eventually I got a 14.4K modem which allowed me an introduction to BBSs, as well as a Stylewriter printer. From that point, I was SET. Every thing about that Mac Classic II was gorgeous, aesthetically and user-wise. I don’t remember when it met it’s demise, but years later I was able to get a used Mac Classic to replace it. I did so because it was my first Mac, of which I still hold sentimental feelings for, and it was my first opportunity to use the Mac for music production. The Mac Classic is sitting in my studio, as I type this, running a freeware screen saver called Darkside – the same screensaver David told me about around the time of After Dark.

The next new Mac I bought was the Macintosh LC III (aka the “pizza box”). It’s slim design was one I came to love, especially because of how well it served the ergonomics of workspace, not to mention it being the first color Mac I ever owned (oh, I guess I DID mention that LOL). Once again, I had it for quite some time, but for the life of me, I can’t remember what ever happened to it. I don’t remember selling it so…. hmmm.

Let’s see, the next Mac I owned…hmm…at this point my memory is a bit fuzzy. At this point, music production with the Mac was well underway. I acquired a Power Mac 7100, that was shortly outfitted with an Audiomedia II digital NuBUS card which gave me digital and analog inputs and outputs, allowing me to directly record with Pro Tools 3.4 Free. It was a game changer at that time. It was running Mac OS 9, which also allowed me to run Opcode Vision’s sequencer and use the OMS ecosphere, but I actually used another sequencer called Master Tracks Pro 5.2. This was the brains of the rest of my set up, which included a Roland VS-880EX hardware digital multitrack recorder for audio (the Power Macs internal HD was so small it was prohibitive to record multiple audio tracks into it). I still have the 7100, which really came in handy last summer when I had to convert some old Pro Tools audio tracks from a recording session done in 1987, Mac OS 9 to the rescue.

After discovering I needed more HD space and a faster processor – along came my favorite desktop Mac to this day – the Power Mac G5 1.8 GHz Dual. I didn’t purchase this machine new but when I got it, it was in near immaculate condition, a beautiful looking, beautifully designed machine which allowed simple and easy access to its inner components via the door removal on it’s side. A heavy machine, just like its twin, The Mac Pro, it served me well for years of music production, including upgrading to Logic 8 and finally being able to record audio to its internal HD as well as an external 500 GB SATA drive. I was also, for the first time, able to run dual monitors, which made recording and mixing MUCH easier than doing both via one monitor. This machine is still have as well, though it seems to have the dread fan issue and I was having some issue maintaining video on a monitor. Research tells me the video card may not be seated properly and/or I may just have to replace it’s internal battery. I’ve been meaning to solve the issue and find someway to use it again, from a nostalgic standpoint. Every time I see a pristine looking one in the wild (as with the Mac Classic or Classic II), I’m like….”wow….”.

It was during this time I had found a great deal on 15″ Powerbook G4 Aluminum, from a graphics designer in uptown DC who was looking to upgrade. I had always wanted a Powerbook, but couldn’t afford one prior, at least a Powerbook with similar specs. This PB was sort of like the little brother to the G5 as they were both silver. The PB ended up being my daily runner BUT doubled nicely as my portable recording computer after loading it up with Logic 7.2 and some additional audio editing software. I took it with me when on business in Guam for a month and recorded the first tracks from my first release as a solo artist. Armed with a 25-key MIDI controller, it made a perfect combination for recording in my hotel room after work. Not only did I do music production on that PB, but also technical design and simulation work, so all around it was a great first PB to own. While on the subject of Powerboks, in the years to follow, I acquired the following: Powerbook 5300cs, Powerbook G3, and a Powerbook 165. The 5300cs ran Mac OS 8.6 and I mainly used that with my MessagePad Newton 2000, which was always a seamless connection. I was, with all the Newton software and apps I acquired, hoping to get the Newton wireless via two Orinoco wireless cards I ended up with at some point but that never transpired. The G3 Bronze was another good deal I just wanted to have in my collection. Using it was fun while I had it but it was eventually given to a friend who’s current computer crapped on on her – she and her daughter were Mac users for a short time, then back to the PC at some point…oh well, LOL. Out of all the PBs I owned, the G4 remains, needing repair as it won’t power on now. Maybe one day I’ll get around to it.

It wasn’t until the mid 2000s that I got another new Mac, a white 1.33 GHz iBook G4, entering the world of Mac OS X 🙂 I enjoyed the iBook as well, still being able to use my MessagePad with it, it was new daily runner, while the PB G4 was then my full time mobile music production Mac. the iBook was nice to use also but I think I ended up selling it – I really can’t remember at this point. What I do remember that replaced it was a 2007 Black MacBook, 2.16GHz…blazing compared to the iBook…LOL. Once again, a great deal from an owner who just upgraded to a MacBook Pro, so this suited me fine, as I always wanted to own that “black book”. Yep, still have it, new battery installed, running what I’ve seen said as the most stable versions of Mac OS X – Snow Leopard. It gets pretty warm when in use, so instead of trying to remedy that, it’s just tucked away now. I got some good daily use out of it – technical analysis work and everyday stuff too.

2007 – 14 years ago. Up until that time, I had also in my collection a silver door Power Mac G4, a Bondi Blue iMac G3, and an eMac – all for very short times. It was fun owning Macs that are referred to as vintage. That era of Apple was a great time. This fanboy, besides the aforementioned Macs, owned the iPhone 4 and 4s, Quicktime 100 and 200, PowerCD, original iPod, Newton MessagePads 100 (still have), 130, and 2100 (still have). Apple has done many great (and not so great) things since then, but there is no era like the “golden era”.

If you’ve read this far, thanks for hanging until the end, I appreciate it.

Be well.

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“It’s been a long time…”

Greetings all. It’s 7am on a rainy Saturday morning. I’ve been up for an hour in a quiet house, The title of this post is part of a bar (lyric) from one of my favorite hip-hop rappers, Rakim. It’s the first lyric from the track I Know You Got Soul – Eric B. and Rakim.

It’s been five months, today, since I last posted a blog, so this will be kind of a “brain dump, journally” type of post – reminiscent of a Twitter follower and one I follow, MrTramuel, does. I’ve been blogging (though I’ve lost some early posts) since 2007 (see the blog roll to the right ) and have always enjoyed it and really would like to get back to it from my own “garden” here as DarrenKeith Wyatt likes to say.

I won’t get into the various impacts of the pandemic we’ve all had to endure, as I believe we’re obviously not out of the woods yet. It appears that things are moving slowly back to a semblance of how things were, pre-pandemic, and I guess that can be looked at a s good or bad thing, based on your personal view point. A new US Presidential administration is in place, spring is here, and a long weekend (for me, anyway) has started.

Work has been pretty busy, with three interplanetary missions in various stages of development. I’m definitely not mad at that, but it has shown me how much I still don’t know and how much ahead of me there is still to learn. I’m thankful to have to the opportunity to gain that knowledge and work with a great set of colleagues. The entire work experience has shown me about my capabilities and the necessary paths to take to increase them. Much of that has nothing more to do with than focus, discipline, and time management – two things I’m constantly working on improving.

The music production front – that is an area which I’ve stepped back from but it wasn’t planned. Producing music (like many other continual paths to reaching goals) is not something that manifests itself out of pure motivation, the driver is really discipline. Motivation is always nothing but “good feels”, its only discipline that moves one forward, and that discipline never is driven by external factors, but internal gumption, So, yeah…I’m not telling you anything you don’t already, but there have been studies that show writing things down help cement things in your brain, so here I am – repeating “on paper” the thoughts I’m trying to solidify.

Memorial Day is Monday -a day commercialized with sale after sale after sale. I saw some news posts (online and TV) alluding to the fact that America has watered down the meaning of Memorial Day as such. I even so a tweet this morning about the USO asking folks to sign some petition by midnight about remembering and recognizing the sacrifices that our military has made. Upon seeing it, I said…”Wait, but…”, then I began to read comments saying the USO is essentially confused. This holiday is to remember and honor those military soldiers that have fallen in the line of duty. Veterans Day and Armed Forces Day are really what you mean. Truth.

Anyway, I *love* quiet mornings before this house gets buzzing, and it’s rainy out still – that’s a plus for focus and introspection, but now, it’s down to the recording studio to get some work done, mug of tea in tow.

Have a good Saturday, as well as a good long weekend (for those of you that can take advantage of it)…and remember and honor those members of our armed forces that made the ultimate sacrifice.

Peace.

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Music Monday – 28 Dec 20 – Actively listening to music: Is it passe’ ?

Greetings all…

I hope all is well with you as we head to the closure of 2020, and also hoping it ends in the way that you desire and 2021 begins the same.

For the last few months, especially as a musician and producer of music for listener to (hopefully) enjoy, I’ve thinking about where the advent of music playing technology and the internet has evolved the way we listen to music. I’m old enough to have started my *personal* music listening experience with vinyl. I say *personal* with respect to music I choose listen to vice that fed to me on the radio. As we know, listening to vinyl, reel-t0-reel, 8-track cassette, 2-track cassette, iPod or anything medium that doesn’t compete with the internet (or any other distraction) allows for “listening actively” – really focusing on all aspects of the music you are currently listening to, even if you are doing so with another listener as you both enjoy it.

From the earliest creations of mobile music player devices, music has been pretty much listened in the background while, most times, multitasking. It’s provided a audio backdrop to other things we currently do. Again, radio has done that for decades, but I’m attempting to separate that scenario from “personal listening”.

I was briefly discussing (via Facebook comment) this very same topic a few days ago with a friend who posted an article about the disappearance of active music listening or “deep listening”. The article, The Lost Art of Deep Listening. Choose an album. Lose Your Phone. Close Your Eyes is a great article. The caption itself summarizes the essence of this post is about.

While I do streaming music over portable devices just like in the aforementioned scenarios above, I have specific favorite artists that still release projects on physical media, such as CD, that I won’t listen to until I can set aside time to sit down and listen uninterrupted. I still, especially as a musician who came up in a certain era, very much enjoy reading liner notes for various reasons I won’t get into here, but more so, enjoy the fact of actively listening to all aspects of what the artist or band is gifting me, audibly, without distraction. While, in principle, I strongly belief streaming services AND the evolution ESPECIALLY urban contemporary/pop music have made music “disposable” and the listening experience (at least the way I define it, lessened. I also notice this because, being a music composer/producer, it;s difficult for me to regularly release tracks that only don’t necessarily engage the listener in active listening, even though Ive released said tracks for other reasons, The following is a post from a music production feed on Instagram that show exactly why I say this.

In reality, with respect to my comment above about “disposable”, the above (today) simple goes hand in hand with how the readily available access to media content has created, what I refer to “ADHD” mindsets. I’ll address a few of the tenets above with to the ADHD comment and present both sides, if you will.

  1. LENGHT (sic): This is extremely true but (in my experience of streaming various genres) only really in urban contemporary hip-hop/rap/trap music. The flip side (and there is an understanable, physical reason why0 is that the duration of songs of this genre is nothing new. In the 70s, when I first started listening to 45 RPM records, major hit radio songs and their B-sides, were also known to be less than 3 mins also. I can remember the b-side to The Ohio Players “Love Rollercoaster” – “It’s Over Now”. being less than or just a little over three minutes long BUT this was due to the fact that the album versions were always much longer than the 45 or radio edit versions.
  2. Hip Hop/Rap/Trap – I grew up listening to hip hop before it went radio commercial (Sugar Hill’s “Rapper Delight”) and many rap/hip hop records in that era could easily be in excess of ten minutes long. A perfect example is my first intro to rap with a record that I soon regularly began spinning as part of a DJ crew I was with. Superrappin’ is 12:04.

At that time, long songs took you on a musical journey in comparison to many of today’s records that basically last long enough to take you around the corner and across the street. As for the rest of the tenets, they are actually basic to many genres. Many hit rock songs have over many decades have no more than three to four simple chords, are simple, and are written with slower tempos.

I sent a small poll about this whole topic to a Facebook group that I’m an administrator over and surprisingly enough, that average age range of people that took the poll was in the 50s – they said streaming services don’t make music disposable and that they prefer that approach to non-streaming.

I’d be interested in your thoughts. Please feel free to comment below.

Thanks for the read, as always. Once again, wishing you a Happy and Prosperous 2021.

oceans of rhythm…

Fresh!

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Music Monday – 30 Nov 20 – The Journey Continues

Greetings all. I’m back with another edition of Music Monday. This series was supposed to be weekly, however, habits only stick after consistent application of them over time – something which didn’t happen from the get on, BUT, I caught it today, so here I am. That’s said, I’m going to let the words fly as they may.

Yeah, we all have the same amount of time each day – 24 hours – so GTD always boils down to time management AND discipline (to me, motivation doesn’t count). Since the last post, I’ve been working on multiple music projects of varying kinds. One recurring one is creating instrumental backing tracks from live instrument recordings to accompany various church choirs, within the church I attend, for an overall streaming product, during service, on any given Sunday. What this also involves is creating a video product of my wife, a choir vocalist, singing against either the original music or the backing track I’ve created as stated above. This recurring project came about because our church, while streaming services over the internet, has not reassembled in public due to the pandemic. It is also an idea that came to fruition to get those vocalists and musicians to continue to participate, albeit remotely, during the pandemic. Needless to say, this is a first time activity for ALL involved, which is not without associated challenges of not only rehearsing alone and delivering vocal and musician audio/video to me for editing and assembly, but trying to solidify a process that all can follow that will result in the best product in the end. I won’t get into all the examples of said challenges here, but suffice to say, they are present.

Outside of that, I’ve been reassessing the amount if projects in various stages (including non-start) that I blogged about in the first edition of Music Monday. Some dissipated but were replaced by new, smaller ones. Nevertheless, I’ve come to the conclusion that I really need to assess where and how I’m trying to go with completing projects and, moreover, needing to assess whether I’m being to ambitious in some way or another. Why? The primary reason is I want to release more of my own projects more frequently, but balance that between getting on the road to music placement, and getting back into writing for film/TV/media, the latter two creating better opportunities for residual income over time. All three will require a systematic plan of development (SPD) and that SPD will require doing less of a bunch of other things. That “less doing” has been a constant planning exercise for the last two months, in preparing to hit the ground running in 2021. The failure of New Year resolutions (I just read a stat that about 67% of people fall off the wagon in the third week of January), is that a habit or habits are not developed ahead of time. I’m not trying to go out like that, but there are 31 days left to in 2020 before a new decade is started, so I need to focus big time to get those habits in gear. Nuff said.

As always, thanks for the read.

Oceans of rhythm….

Fresh!

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Thankful.

A small micropost, if you will. Home alone (wife at the mall with her Mom, probably), daughter out, gorgeous day out, but super quiet solitude as I type this. #thankful.

Enjoy your day.

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Music Monday – 12 Oct 20 – Back To The Roots

Back in 2007, I registered this domain, vibesnscribes.com, to start a blog about two topics: (1) reviews about music I listen to and (2) general daily topics I felt compelled to blog about.

Back then blogging was all the rage. Twitter just got off the ground, as well as Facebook, but to me, one’s blog was always more personal and self-controlled. As my long time friend in tech and podcasting, DarrenKeith (http://myloveformusic.blogspot.com) says, it’s your OWN digital garden. Well, this is an attempt to begin a weekly series on my music production journey and all the paths that encompass it. Other days of the week will be left to the two topics above (where I’ve actually spent a fair amount of time over the last 13 years blogging about). I often miss blogging, with the draw of Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter seemingly always taking over my online time with algorithms always attempting to show me and tell me what I should be looking at (which most times is inaccurate). While Medium is huge as a blogging platform, my own site is, well, my own. Blogging like this will, again, have to be a created habit so, we’ll see how that goes. Consider Music Mondays just a brain dump on what I’m involved with and what I hope to achieve.

I’ve always had a music production studio of some sort, one that has grown over the last 25 years to a space that has allowed me to release my own projects, work on projects of remote and global collaboration, land an opportunity to score a ten-episode webseries on YouTube and helped me sharpen my skills (although not as sharp as I believe they could be). I love composing/writing, producing, and releasing the music, though it’s the latter that seems to be most difficult for me on a regular, not because it IS difficult, but because the system(s) I desire to put into place sometimes just don’t really get off the paper (from a habitual standpoint). Last I checked, I have (in various states) twelve projects going on. The latest (personal) one is releasing a 10 track project on Bandcamp next year. The project will mostly be comprised of tracks I started back in 2012 or so (that have since been removed from my Soundcloud page) and involve me getting back to some older methods of how I was recording and producing tracks (hence the image of the Akai MPC 2500 above). It was fun getting back to re-learning that tech this weekend. It showed me that ,even though some of the processes are not as convenient as what I use today, it’s still as enjoyable using it to bring those older tracks into the present. Many times (as I heard mentioned on a YouTube video last night), often times, limitations can spark creativity and more simply put, everything involved in the “longer harder” way can also be enjoyable for many reasons I’ll save for another Music Monday. That will continue for sometime as I bridge the use of the MPC, Logic Pro X, and Native Instruments to get this project moving and done. I’m looking forward to releasing it, not only because it’s been two years since the last release, but listening back to these older tracks showed me that I was creating more music (even though WIPs) to share on Soundcloud. Some got some great comments, but they were essentially just sitting there. With the advent of distribution and music streaming platforms, there’s really no better time to get music into the ears of whatever audience one hopes to. I released a project under another alias that hit the streaming platforms. The purpose of it was tri-fold: (1) See how well my chosen distribution works, (2) see how well this new genre I am exploring does, for me as an artist, on major streaming platforms and how it is received by listeners where ever I expose it, and (3) allowed me to begin to learn the ins/outs of a new synthesizer I purchased. Surprisingly, with no marketing push, a few listeners in a Facebook group I belong to really liked it.

My new journey, one I hope to fully leverage (after getting the bug from composing that webseries) is two-fold: sync licensing and film scoring. I look around my home studio and grow tired of saying “you’re fully equipped”, so the old saying is ringing loud in my brain: “Don’t talk about it, be about it” (and that means passed brain dump blogging).

Have a great week…

#oceansofrhythm

Fresh!

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Organize, organize: A music production project micro post.

It’s been a few months since I posted a weblog, since late May to be exact. Yesterday I counted the number of music projects I have started and in the works. These involve personal projects (actual and concept only), plus collaborations with other artist or backing tracks for livestream feeds. The total number came to sixteen. Twelve of them I hope will be completed by 15 Dec 2020, the other four have TBDs before they are only in concept, with track names in the least.

My day job, actually my entire professional career work has been driven by schedule – milestones, due dates, Gantt and Microsoft Project charts, so it’s natural that I tend to go about treating all music production projects (at least my own personal ones) the same way. That said, the process is no different than that of the day job. The same issues come along with it – missed deadlines, unknown forces that disrupt the schedule, etc. The key, even with such disruptions, is to get in the habit of doing something daily to reach the goal. This applies, obviously, to any goal desired (coding is a good related personal example). I think, again, the biggest thing is get into good regular habits, for habits (good or bad) always move you closer to a specific point.

Musicians/artists/producers, who strive to put out regular content, how do you organize yourself to reach your goals?

Thanks for the read,

::: oceans of rhythm :::

Doug

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…and the beat goes on.

There’s tea in that cup (as I don’t drink coffee). I’ve learned to deal with a non-coffee lifestyle, which is unusual I know, but it has seemed to work out for me. Not going to say it’s easy to get a jumpstart without it, but I prefer not to rely on it.

Was chatting (well, tweeting) with one of my followers (and vice versa) about this morning’s weather outlook. He was sitting on his porch, viewing a light rain, and working on writing his latest book. Me, I got out of bed at 5:30, prayed, showered, had my Bible devotional and prayed. Followed by a bagel with cream cheese, a quick check of the socials, some bill pay, and a notice that my first meeting of the morning is being pushed back thirty minutes. No complaints there.

it’s overcast here, as we had some rain overnight. I really like overcast mornings – there’s a certain type of tranquility that lends itself nicely to them. To the right of me is a double window that overlooks my backyard and my neighbors as well. It’s been a constant view for ten weeks now, working from home.

Today will be another quiet day. Outside of work tasks, there are somethings I’ve timeblocked on today’s calendar. I hope to accomplish them.

That said, I’ll hop off here for now. I hope your day is prosperous, safe, and in the midst of all that’s continually going on in this world, a lot that’s seems so heavy, I also hope you day is enjouyable.

Peace.

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Tech’s ‘n Effect

For those of you who didn’t catch the play on words in the blog post title, but are curious, the hint correlates to a well known R&B group from the 90’s, not just the subject of this post.

Though its four months later and 49 degs warmer right now, it is 11:55pm. After a long workday (even working from home), tonight we celebrated my son’s high school graduation.

As many are, during this pandemic, the usual gathering of friends and family was all for naught due to you-know-what. What was truly awesome in the midst of this was how, his school, the faculty, staff (of which my daughter is one of them), students, and parents managed to turn this into a joyous occasion.

As with all schools, they have been closed for the last few months and classes have been completed virtually. The process for preparing for a graduation ceremony to a great deal of planning, but was followed up by flawless execution. Being as though my son’s graduating class is very small, last week the process was to have two families come to the school, in thirty minute intervals so that each student can walk across the stage, receive his or her diploma, take the usual pictures with the headmaster (principal) of the school and family, then head home. That whole process took 20 mins. Only immediately family was allowed (because it was most likely the case that said family had no one suffering from COVID-19 symptoms), thus no family members who didn’t live in the household, or friends, were aloud.

Many of the activities you would see at a graduation – faculty speakers, valedictorian and salutatorian speeches, musical selections, etc, were all pre-recorded or provided by archived video. When all was said and done, each aspect of the graduation was coordinated together, in sequence, and streamed via Zoom. The Zoom link was provided to family and friends, weeks before, and from the beginning of the graduation exercise until the closing, it was as if you were watching a ceremony on TV.

Despite the necessity of conducting the entire event virtually, it was a seamlessly executed, blessed event. I, for one, am glad to see where advent of internet technology has taken us and allowed this Class of 2020 graduation to be a grand success in the midst of what is currently being called the “new normal”.

Have a safe weekend.

Fresh.

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