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What's All That Then?!?!

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As I was sitting here today thinking, a thought crossed my mind. If you look at what's popular today, most of it has made a subtle, yet dramatic change. TV went to Reality TV. Motocross/Skateboarding, "extreme sports" took things to a whole new level in the past decade or so after X-Games started. News has gone 24/7. What did music do? It went to TV to create reality TV shows. It didn't change music (well it did, but I don't think it took it forwards really), just exploited a hole that needed to be filled in the Reality TV business. So, what has music done? I've heard bands pushing the envelope a little bit but nothing extreme. What bands do you think are pushing the extremes? And how? Does music need some sort of "take it to the next level" awakening? Hell, I don't know. What could music do to take it to the next level?




Paranormal Activity?

Paranormal activity? Proof of life after death? Wishful thinking? Hell, I don't know. While I've had a few "unexplained" type things happen to me throughout my lifetime, I don't really believe in life after death or that kind of thing. At the same time, I don't look a gift horse in the mouth and peacefully enjoy moments that seem to be "after life" type of experiences.

In that respect, I'll share a story that happened to me last year after my Mom passed away. An experience that I'd like to think my Mom had a role in.

Last May the 4th, yes, Star Wars day, my Mom passed away. One of her favorite T-shirts was one we bought in the 80's while on a family vacation in Florida. It was a turquoise blue t-shirt that said "Damn seagulls" on it, with splotches of what look like seagull poop all over it. She wore it all the time, including the last week she was alive. Knowing how much she loved that shirt, and how much I'd miss her, I decided I would get a poster frame, frame the t-shirt and put it on the wall of our pool house.

So, on the morning of my Mom's funeral I was eating breakfast looking at that shirt that was on a hanger, hanging on a door handle. I was thinking about when she bought that shirt and all the times she wore it. Lost in thought, time got away from me, and the next thing you know, we were running late. I had a few things I was planning to take, so I went outside to put them in the car. When I did, I saw the surprise. The drivers side of my car was splashed with bird crap, at least a dozen spots that were hit by the birds. At first I was angry, knowing we were running late and now I had to wash the car. I went and got the hose. Then, as I started washing it off I said to myself "Damn birds… Damn seagulls." I laughed out loud, and cried a little. I was sure it was a sign from my Mom. Whether it was or not I don't know, but I will always think that in a way, it was. That had never happened before that, and it hasn't happened since.

Now when I go to the pool house I always take a look at that shirt, it looks pretty cool as a decoration.


Youtube/google Issue

Hello all. Hopefully this isn't in any sort of violation with the blog/site rules. While it is not 100% about music, it could be relative to anyone using YouTube with monetization for any of their songs. Also, just in case I show up missing one day, you may know why. I've had my monetization disabled in YouTube for reasons explained below. This is in response to a comment saying it was disabled because I tried to make a second Adsense Account while trying to access Analytics with my original email I set up Adsense and YouTube with. Anyone else bothered by the fact that they created .gmail address and a Google Plus page without my knowledge or permission?

That's not quite what happened. Re-read this sentence from the email: "we noticed that your account information matches a currently approved AdSense account associated with rd2graphics@gmail.com"

What?!? I said when I read it, I never created an rd2graphics@gmail.com email address, and I most definitely never tied it in to my Adsense Account. Like automatically being forced to use Google Plus from YouTube, someone at GOOGLE, or through their software, took my Adsense Account and removed my yahoo.com email address and replaced it with the gmail.com address. Which I can only gather that is why I could no longer log into my adsense account with my yahoo.com address. I will go through the steps 1x1 hoping to some light on the subject.

1. I used to have a YouTube account and an Adsense Account. Everything worked fine.

2. Google bought YouTube.

3. In April, I could no longer access my Adsense account with my yahoo.com email address. BUT, since I found out my payment stats were run through YouTube analytics I thought all was well.

4. There was an associated Adsense Account in Youtube, the analytics seemed to be working okay (aside from the fact that when I looked at the all of my earnings since having videos monetized in YouTube, it showed HALF of what I actually earned (as well, my views were 1/2 what they used to be). Posted about that a while back, but that's another topic)

5. In November I noticed my payment threshold was going to be reached.

6. Remembering I couldn't log into Adsense with my yahoo.com address, I thought I'd go back and try it again to make sure everything was fine as far as receiving a payment.

7. I could not log into Adsense with my yahoo.com address. I did password reminders, username/email reminders, etc... after eventually being able to log in, the next screen said something to the effect of this account not having a valid adsense account, or something like that. It was November and it wasn't an email but instead a message that was on the screen after logging in.

8. Then I received the email above about my account being associated with this "automatically created for me" gmail.com address.

9. I went to try the gmail.com address. It worked. That's the exact second I realized that not only did Google create a Google Plus account for me, which I could easily tell on YouTube, but they also created this gmail.com address for me.

10. I looked around and saw all my old stats and payment history, etc. I also noticed that I need to update my payment method. I used to get checks but I guess that wasn't offered anymore. Did the whole bank account thing, got their initial deposit, put it in and voila. Payment method set up.

11. After going back to YouTube, I got a very quick message that went away when I clicked on my username. It said my monetization had been disabled. So after seeing that, I clicked on the arrow by my user icon in an attempt to see if there was any kind of message in my inbox about it. There wasn't.

11. Went to look at my monetization settings and that is what lead me to here.

12. Initially, the status circle next to monetization on YouTube Channel Settings-->Features was red. I can't recall if it said disabled next to it. I'm not exactly sure when it happened, but at some point, that red circle changed to green and gave me the "view monetization settings". Which clicking on that took me to a page saying Your Monetization tab has been disabled. Clicking on that takes me back to Google page with a list of reasons this may have happened. None of those reasons have happened.

Whew, so it has taken me quite a while to connect all the dots but I guess, at the very least, I may have figured out why I have not been able to find anyone able to help me. I read Wired magazine. There was an article In 2011 with Horowitz about Google Plus and the desire to be a big player in social media. Mentioning the privacy issues that were connected with it's first effort Buzz. Here's the link to that article: http://www.wired.com/magazine/2011/09/ff_google_horowitz/

Funny to me that with Buzz, privacy was an issue. They knew that, then took all YouTube users and forced them into Google Plus, hence giving them bigger numbers of Google Plus users. Now, while technically that in and of itself is not a privacy issue per se, it seems to me a clear violation of users rights. You don't see banks automatically creating accounts for people that do not inquire about having an account there. I've been on computers since the 80's, was fascinated with the internet since I first realized what it could do through its use at my College Library. When Google came along I thought it was magic. I loved it and everything it could do. Someone would ask me a question, what would I say? Google it. Loved it. But in recent years Google has gotten so big that it has crossed the line when it comes to user privacy. It's a shame they are violating the privacy and trust of all of it's users which are the exact ones giving them the content for which they are known for.

When I read the current problem going on about the man being arrested for violating a restraining order by sending an .gmail invite to his ex-girlfriend http://abcnews.go.com/Business/google-invitation-sends-man-jail/story?id=21481276 . A light bulb went off. Maybe due to that issue and the legalities they are going to be needing to set up and face, they have opted not to address any other issues remotely related to anything they have done to people without their permission. I don't know. I hope not. But I do know that for the past 2 months I have been going crazy trying to correct something that wasn't my fault.

Google. YouTube. Whomever. I'm just wanting to get my monetization re-enabled. Not sure why I have to pay the price for something I didn't want, need or inquire about. I'm posting this on blogs also, to see if anyone else is having the same issues I'm having.


Since my earliest days I've always been in love with music but it wasn't until around 1976 that it really sparked my interest. I remember watching the Bay City Rollers on TV giving a concert (probably lip-syncing). Women kept running up on stage left and right. They could hardly control them and the screaming was crazy. This left a lasting impression as I thought they were pretty darn cool. Had I been born a decade or so earlier, It probably would have been the Beatles that got me going. I hadn't even heard of them yet though at this point, so it was the Bay City Rollers that got me going until my brother brought home his first KISS album. Holy Canoli, that was Rock & Roll to me. While I admired BCR and liked some of their songs, KISS showed me what Rock was all about (at least what I thought it was at the time.)

Around 1979 I went to my school picnic and it was the first one where I could walk around on my own. I found a game booth where you threw darts and if you hit a certain area you could win an album. At this point I had no personal albums. Everything I listened to belonged to my older brother. I spent all of my money in that booth and came home with my first set of albums:

Captain & Tennille - Love Will Keep Us Together

Shaun Cassidy - ??

Bootsy Collins - These Boots Are Made for Funk-N

ABBAs greatest hits.

Not a rock song among them. Sadly, I didn't know many rock bands but the ones I knew weren't available so I chose these. Bootsy Collins was based solely on the really cool album art. But regardless of the type of music on the albums, they were mine-all-mine and I listened to them night and day and day and night. I always think of this as a blessing. They helped expand my knowledge of music in ways I may not have done otherwise. ABBA is still one of my favorite bands.

So I goofed around and pretended to be in bands in my basement. Asked for a guitar for Christmas and got one from Grandpa Pigeons. I started taking lessons but found them to be very boring and it didn't last too long… until the day I heard Eruption by Van Halen. The goosebumps that song gave me have stayed with me to this day. After listening to that song, and album, over and over that day I went and asked my parents if I could take lessons again and I did. It really gave me the same boring feeling though, but nevertheless I stuck with it for a while. I always hated going home and practicing what I learned at lessons. I did practice though but I goofed around on the guitar even more. The main thing was, I was playing guitar a lot and it made me happy.

After this time period I listened to just about everything I could get my hands on. Black Sabbath, Led Zepplin, Ozzy, Def Leppard, more Van Halen, Rush, Motley Crue, Sex Pistols, Descendents, Depeche Mode, The Cure, Metallica, Suicidal Tendancies, Arlo Guthrie, Jimi Hendrix, Joe Cocker, Pink Floyd, The Beatles, Soundtracks to Musicals and on and on and on. I never really got into Country that much though. I liked the songs 9 to 5 and The Devil Went Down To Georgia but that was it as far as Country was concerned. At least until my later college days when I started listening to, and appreciating, some of the older country songs by Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson and a lot of the other big names. When it comes to Rap music, I was all into it around 1988 when I got the EZE and NWA cassettes. Back around that time I really liked it a lot. Around 1991 though it got boring to me and I haven't really enjoyed it since. But an influence was left on me. What I didn't like about Rap music was the "gangsta" lifestyle it promoted. I like to have fun, out in the sun, with my friends laughing, having some brews, making great memories. Rap music kind of made me want to go out and steal car stereos, get hookers and make fun of people on crack. It was really at this point that I truly realized and appreciated what music can, and does do, to the soul and your emotions. While I realized this, I didn't tie it together with my own guitar playing.

While I'd written lyrics and poems since grade school I never even tried to combine them with the guitar until my junior year in high school. A buddy of mine made his own recording studio in his garage and I recorded one song back in 1987. I didn't write another song until 2008. I stopped playing guitar altogether after I got out of college. So from about 1995-2008 I did nothing musically until I realized I could record songs on my computer in Garageband. That revelation coincided with the "songs" in my head that seemed to keep popping up whenever I did something. I attribute it to my first job out of college. It was a so-so place of employment but the people were fun and we had a thing called "Sing-it Mondays." Mondays were always the cruddiest days and we had fun singing requests when we talked to each other. Singing "Steve do you have the FPO for Anheuser-Busch" was a challenge but was really fun to do and I believe it helped me to come up with melodies.

So that's the basics of how I got to where I am today. Which Ironically isn't all that far from where I was when I first started. I could interject multiple stories, more influential moments and more about different groups that made me who I am today. But I won't for now at least… Except for one thing! :) My username Just1L. Thought I'd say how that came about. My last name is Drilingas (Drill ing Gus). It's Lithuanian and apparently really hard to pronounce and even harder to spell. Ever since I can remember people have spelled my name with two "L"s in the middle and I'd always have to tell people "Just one L". It came to light again when my son was in school and I started seeing the two Ls popping up again. I told him to get used to it, it will happen forever!

Thanks for listening - over and out.

Randy (Just1L)


Blog Challenge

More Money = More Time To Work on Music

I'm pretty sure I'm like most of you. I love songwriting and music in general and honestly would love to have a hit song. Who wouldn't? I'm guessing those that wouldn't have either tried so long they've given up, don't think they are good enough, don't have enough money to do what they need or have a lot of money and don't really care. (Please let me know of any other reasons I haven't thought of). I know doing it for "the love of music" is what most people say, and what most people believe. My problem is I already love music but don't have the time to do it or the money to do it right. I would love nothing more than to make enough money off music to be able to quit my day job and concentrate more on music. But even the slightest tinge of hope in that prospect is many years away. Maybe more years than I can actually live.

I go through the standard musician phases.

• I think my songs are pretty good

• I think my songs are great based on comments and how much I personally enjoy them.

• I think my songs suck, I'll never make it

In the end it's sad but true, the only way I will 100% know if my songs are good is if A LOT of people like them and buy my CDs. It's a standard I set on myself. I think it's really about what you want out of it. I want to be able to work on music more and make enough money to support my family in the same way, or better, than I am doing now. So in that respect, I have to make money on it or I just won't be able to do it that much. As I'm married with 2 kids, I can't put them in the poor house (or not spend time with them) while I'm off searching for a dream. It's too irresponsible. My ship has sailed. I had many years to have time and not worry about anyone but me and really work on music, but I didn't do it then. Instead I put the guitar down for about 10 years or so. So here I am now, older, maybe a little wiser, but mainly older.

I do have CD projects in mind. I have songs I'd like to put on them. I guess my main problem is I'm average at best when it comes to mixing and I don't have the cash to go to a studio. So I'm stuck in this mode of wanting to give it all up and then wanting to try it all again. Luckily I love music so much that while making money is my ultimate goal, I do get a lot of enjoyment working through the whole songwriting process. Really, that's why I keep doing it. It always gives me hope and it's a lot of fun. When I'm working on a song I go through the phases of thinking it's not good, it's really good, is it good? Could this be the song people really dig? It seems my mind is always in flux on my songwriting which leads back to my "the only way I'll 100% know" comment.

So in short, it could come off that it's all about the money and that's what I want out of music. But really, I want the money solely so I can do it more and not have to worry about the money and have the time to create.

I've many plans for songs, videos and movies. While I'm not any kind of expert in any of those areas I, along with a group of people, did win the 48 Hour Film Project in St. Louis in it's inaugural year. I learned a lot from that experience and would like to apply that to music videos and eventually a movie in which I would also do the soundtrack. Lofty goals? Yes. Goals that will never happen? More than likely. But I figure you have to have goals and you might as well aim high. So while I'm AIMING high, others may think I AM high already. :hippy:

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