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Ah, it is hard to not feel hopeful when the sun is shining. On the other hand, it doesn’t shine that much…

Three news stories to do for the paper: one is a non-news story (but probably important because everybody expected it to be news), one a news story that turned out to not be very newsworthy (but I got a photo, and had to sit through a meeting, and I’d like to get paid for that), and the third hasn’t happened yet—it’ll be this weekend—and I have to be in two other places at the same time. Time to dredge up everything I know about cloning. I’ll need it.

Square dance calling is definitely getting better. With only three callers in class last night, we had more time to strut our stuff, and I got to unveil the singing call I’d worked hardest on (the Hee-Haw theme, “Gloom, Despair and Agony on Meâ€) and it came off pretty well. Instructor Daryl maintains singing calls are way easier than “patter,†and he’s right. Got my caller’s microphone holder, and I’ll try that out with the guinea pigs. Did some checking around for iPod clones (which is what most other square dance callers use for their music instead of a computer), and it’s possible to get a Microsoft one for around $50—way less than what Apple charges. Others, made by Sony, Creative Labs (makers of my computer’s sound card) and a few others may be even cheaper. No, I’m not buying one myself. Still can’t afford it.

And the to-do list keeps growing. I want to re-do “The Resurrection Blues,†maybe at the Rainbow Lotus with the Rapture Room musicians again, but I’d like to control the volume better (so there’s no “peakingâ€) and also try to schedule, as it were, the various lead players so they’re not playing on top of each other so much. If the recording comes out good, I can add lead guitar (Ken) and bass (Clint) later. Alternatively, I can record it with the band, using my mixer (and ears) instead of Michael’s, and plugging everybody in direct (because I can do that with my equipment). There, I’d add the vocal later—so I could control its prominence—and maybe another lead, too. I need to try that anyway, because I haven’t done it before, and I need to find out if it really works.

In the same vein, I’d like to record “Pole Dancing for Jesus.†If I try to record two songs the same night, though, I need “Lazarus†the laptop, so I can mix the first song (on the Tascam), dump it to the laptop, and clear the Tascam’s little camera-chip brain to record the second song. Ought to practice that to see how little time I can make that take. (Now, if I had that iPod clone, I might be able to record direct to that, and save all that time. Jim Nelson’s done that with his iPod at the Arts Center.)

A revelation! “Georgia, Slightly Revised†has precisely the number of beats needed for a square dance singing call. Got to record this—but again, I’d like to do it with the band, because I really need a prominent bass on singing calls so I can follow it. My “emulation bass†on the guitar is not good enough. (And with a few square dance caller recordings of my stuff under my belt, there’s a potential market—albeit probably a small one—for some of my stuff, to square dance callers. I keep hearing complaints that there’s been very little new caller music in a long, long time.) Next step, of course, is to figure out the “figureâ€â€”the moves the square dancers will make while I’m singing. I did that for “Valvolineâ€; I can do it here (with a different “figure,†of course).

Got a couple of sweatshirts to make, too—one with a slogan from a bumpersticker I saw yesterday (“I Work and Pay Taxes So Wealthy People Don’t Have Toâ€), and one with a slogan from a pro-library poster somewhere else (“Closing Libraries in a Depression is Like Shutting Down Hospitals in a Plagueâ€). Need to find white or almost-white sweatshirts for these, though—my Italian T-shirt transfers won’t work on anything else. (I won’t buy those transfers any more—but I have a sizable stock of them on hand, and gots to use ‘em for something. On the plus side, figuring out the instructions—which were in Italian—was a great language lesson.)

I got word (by e-mail) that my submission to the Nashville Earth Day song contest didn’t win. (I hadn’t figured it would. And if it had, I wouldn’t have had a clue how to get to Nashville by Saturday to perform the song on stage, anyway.) There will be more contests—I try to enter a few every year. This time around, though, I am concentrating on the ones that don’t have any entry fee. It’s about what I can afford.

Joe

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