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The Webcam & The Album...


A WEBCAM! Went through the owner’s manual for my daughter’s old digital camera (same make as mine, but a newer model), and it said the thing can function as a webcam. Apparently mine can, too—it’s got the same ports (no owner’s manual, though). It’s supposed to be hooked up to AC power when you’re webcamming, but that’s apparently not essential; the owner’s manual says that’s just to prevent the batteries wearing down. (It does go through batteries rather fast.) I do have an AC adapter with the proper voltage (though not made for the camera), and it turns out the digital camera will fit my video camera tripod (yay!). I have an adapter, too, that’ll let me use my singing mike for sound instead of one of those cheapo computer mikes. It appears I’ll need a USB extension cord—the one from the camera to the ‘puter is short. I may be skype-able yet.

The owner’s manual told me a couple things I already knew, too: the camera can shoot 80 seconds of “film” before having to shut down and save what it did (I’d noticed it was a little over a minute between “saves” when I shot the Rufus video), and the optical zoom doesn’t work when you’re filming (so that’s why my zooms on the Rufus video looked so bad). One online review of the camera said, “These things are pretty old, but they’re pretty good.” I’ve had mine for seven years.

THE ALBUM: What if, along with dedicating the album to the late Dick Ackerman, we included songs from the Failed Economy Shows? In addition, I’d include “You’ll Make a Real Good Angel,” the kaddish for Carol written by Tarra Young and myself, and the Stan Good masterpiece about buzzards and roadkill, “Take-Out Food.” It could look like this:

Dead Things in the Shower (with Bobbie Gallup)—fast two-step

Armadillo on the Interstate—slow & sleazy

Hey, Little Chicken—slow & sleazy quasi-blues

Free-Range Person—fast bluegrass

Tillamook Railroad Blues—deliberate blues

No Good Songs About the War—mod. slow two-step

For Their Own Ends (Southern Pigfish)—folk-rock

Take-Out Food (Stan Good)—sleazy & manic (or is that manic & sleazy?)

Rotten Candy—fast bluegrass with a Gospel beat

Un-Easy Street (Stan Good)—mod. two-step

You’ll Make a Real Good Angel (Tarra Young)—mod. slow Gospel

That’s 11. I need one more. It should be uptempo, or in a different key, or a different style, or a combination of two or all of those. Probably one of mine—there are already four co-writes on this album. And it’d be nice to keep to the Failed Economy/homelessness/hunger theme. What?

The kaddish, of course, would be the finale. We’d have two recordings on the album where Dick does play blues harp, “No Good Songs About the War” (which won the “Doing Dylan” contest in England) and the Southern Pigfish song, “For Their Own Ends” (which was going to be our alternate entry in the contest). Those were the only two where we got Dick’s blues harp recorded before he died.

I’d want to rope Mike Simpson into playing lead guitar on all the songs if he’s willing, and Doc Wagner into doing blues harp on the ten songs Dick isn’t playing on. There are some copyright fees to be paid here—to Bobbie Gallup, Stan Good, and Tarra Young; I’d basically be hoping that by the time the album’s done in September, I’ll have the money to pay them.

Music Friday (with the Friday Night Group) and Saturday (with the band in Astoria). And I’ve been asked to build somebody a computer. That will be different—and fun.



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