Saturday, October 17, 2015

Stuck In The Goal

So, I did indeed summit the rim of Mt. St. Helens again a few days ago, for the second time this month. It was a perfect day, with the sun out, warmth, and very little wind.  

There were nice people up there, so I figured I could talk someone into holding the camera for me if I could just manage to stay at least somewhat socially pleasant.  

For some reason, staying socially pleasant is a huge feet for me when I'm trying to stay focused on a lot of technical things all at once.  I've just never had that ability, and the problem has made me late setting up and even breaking down for gigs and events and recordings. I've tried to get better with social multi tasking, but I just don't seem to have the hang of it.  

And cutting out socializing would be a completely acceptable priority system if it weren't for the fact that I often need people for things.  Most of the time people talking to me at a gig or an event are people who are in a position, and of an interest, to do good things for me: things like offering another gig, or offering a scoring job, or offering a discount on a BMW, or offering their daughter's hand in marriage, or in this case, offering to hold the camera at the rim of Mt. St. Helens.

It's a real trick for me to socialize under those pressures.  To do this, I kind of had to relax and get super-optimistic about my attitude up there.  I couldn't show any anctiousness or franticness, so I basically reverted to successfully convincing my inner-most self that I had plenty of time up there.


I maintained that non-crucial attitude even after I turned the computer on, which turned out to be the biggest mistake, among a few.  My Soundgarden cover was my most important reason for going back up there, but I had a couple of other things to do again up there as well.  Because of my forced cockiness about the time, I decided to do the Soundgarden cover last.  Between that, and the laptop power which ebbed away during my social trance, basically, the laptop power went dead right in the middle of my cover song.  That was it.  Just--bam--and the day was over.  Totally truncated.   

The hike back down at that point was probably the longest and most belabored one I've ever experienced. It just went on and on, all the while being nagged by that total botch I had experienced at the top.  Shouting on my way down the mountain, I realized that I would simply have to go back and do it one more time.

I know.  I know.  I make some of the stupidest mistakes imaginable on these trips and projects.  ;)) But mistakes in the practical world are nothing new for a mind like mine (artistically cluttered), and as long as I don't make any life-threatening ones, they are all learning experiences.

So, that's what I will basically do now--climb St. Helens a third and final time this month.  I am currently waiting out three days of rain up there, ending with a weather window on Tuesday.  I have a gig in LA on the following Thursday, so I will not be able to climb any later than Tuesday and still drive back from Washington state in time.  It's going to suck, and it will be back-to-back activity, but I don't really have a choice if I want that moment/footage/completion.  

Also, this weather window will not be warm like before.  I'm dealing with mid-autumn weather in the Cascades now.  There may even be snow up there at that point, for all I know.  It will not be easy to work the equipment in the cold.  But luckily, I only have that one song left now.  ;))  That's one thing in my favor.

I was originally going to climb Mt. Shasta with a close friend on the way back to CA, to accomplish at least two mountains this year.  So much for that idea.  Pile it on for the long list next Summer.

The last bummer of it: my Birthday is tomorrow.  I was supposed to be back by now so I could spend it celebrating victory with my loved ones.  Now I will be in a cold part of the country waiting in the rain to climb up a mountain a third time.  Most of my friends up here are working tomorrow so I will probably spend the day just catching up on work at my favorite coffee house in Portland again.  I love it here and was really happy to be back, but not for a day like that.   ;))  

Whatever though.  No worries.  Life is still good.  Blessed with health and personal wealth.  Biggest birthday wish--granted.

Will write again sometime after I've summited St. Helens and I'm back in LA.  It will probably be after my gig in LA on the 23rd, which by the way, feel free to stop in if you are around.  It will be free parking, a big perk for an art event in downtown LA.  ;))

Event page:

Band site:

Also, I may not edit that long previous entry that had heated content, as I partially promised.  ;))  We will see.  I recently read a great post from a friend saying he's been living life free from the bidding and morays of other and it's been working wonders on his psyche.  I might try it myself at this point, at least a little.  ;))  I may not feel quite as strongly right now about the ideas in that post, but I think the spontaneous feelings of that moment were valid at that moment. Also, for that reason, I won't bother editing most of these entries more than necessary either.  I'm sure you guys can read it fine enough to get the point, right?  ;))  Yarrrr!

Talk soon!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Success Is A Dish Best Served Cold And Wet

I know I had promised that I wouldn't post a bunch of little entries anymore but right now I can't help it.  Two days ago, October 6th, I reached the rim of Mt. St. Helens and successfully recorded live electronic ambient/soundtrack music right there!!!  It was so powerful that I screamed and cried off of the edge.  No one was around by that time ha ha so I had a pretty genuine release.  I arrived at around 4pm sometime and by the time I got done setting up everyone else was gone. There very powerful wind gusts, but I continued to play through them.

I performed one of my own ambient pieces and then I did a cover of the Tangerine Dream track Horizon.  I had set up the Ableton sessions back home, using my studio monitors, and then I performed them at St. Helens.  This would assure an optimum quality.  The music was immensely powerful up there, and I lingered with it as long as possible. Like my ex-colleague Thomas Ronkin once said, "To place one finger on a key, and then hear that wondrously large and expansive sound follow, makes you realize the power you posses even simply within your finger tips."  Obviously in this case, the power was on the part of both myself and St. Helens, and I could feel that.

I was still so into what I was doing up there that I hung out until darkness fell at the rim.  No moon, pitch black with my headlamp in front.  I was experiencing more pain and fatigue than I think I've ever felt, so the climb down was a struggle.  At one point I fell forward, which I took as a sign that I might injure myself if I continue.  So I decided to spend the night in a small rock cave, which was pretty uncomfortable.  I knew it was going to rain the next day, but I figured "how bad can it be?"  At first light I woke up to a trickle in my cave, and by the time I was packed up again the rain was basically like a hurricane.  There was no visibility. The wind was blowing me off my feet and, combined with the rain, was flinging tiny daggers at me whenever I decided to face it.  It was a navigation nightmare, with absolutely no promise of staying dry. Had to sacrifice some of my rain clothing for my camera equipment, so a lot of me was thoroughly;y soaked before long.  Further down I saw other hikers who were actually still heading up, and I talked them out of continuing.  Before I knew it there was an entire precession behind me.  None of them had taken the weather that seriously either, so I didn't feel as stupid after seeing them.  The authorities had been called and were waiting for me at the trail head, but I assured them I was fine.  

Now I'm recovering and I plan on another attempt before returning to LA for a performance on the 23rd.

The bad news:

Unfortunately I ran out of time to do the Soundgarden cover song, which probably would have been a trick in all that wind anyway.  For that reason, I think I'm going to attempt St Helens rim one more time within the next week, simply to perform that song.  I feel it.  I really do.  I don't know why.

Also, and this is even hard for me to believe, three of the cameras I had brought all crapped out on me.  Two of them are GoPros, which showed no charge after I had clearly charged them last week.  The third was a panoramic camera that apparently doesn't work at all without it's app.  The app needed an internet signal to function.  There's no friggin' internet signal on Mt. St, Helens!!!!  I almost threw the thing off the edge, if it hadn't been for the $400 I spent on it.  So as a result of these glitches, only two cameras filmed the occasion, and one of them ran out of power before I played Horizons by TD. 

Also,  ;))  my screen recording software flipped out on me and did not record the computer screen activity.  So I have no account of that either.

So to my name: two camera angles for the first half, and one camera angle for the second half.  By now I think all of us have had enough experience with this project to know that only one or two camera angles isn't enough to make this look professional or make me look like a big deal at all.  ;))  I even had a close friend lecture m,e about that a year or so ago, and she was right.  No one cares about something that doesn't look professionally done.  So this is really frustrating, because I was really trying to remedy that.  But weather the world is going to understand this project and that moment up there, or they aren't, it happened!  I recorded this music up there, really well, and it was really powerful.  I have proof of that now, which is considerable in the big picture.   :)))

I will let you know when there are other triumphs to report, but probably not until this entire trip is over.  One of my hardest lessons on this trip, actually, was about this blog.  That last blog entry I wrote on here took me so long to edit that it actually made me late for St. Helens, which is why a lot of these complications happened.  ;))  So I've finally decided to never write a blog entry again before a triumph or an attempt, ever, if I can help it.  I can understand why I prioritized that entry; the entire thing was written for a moment before the attempt, and I had touched on so many sensitive issues that I knew it would offend people if I hadn't refined it a lot more.  I'm glad I finished it and posted it, because I had important things to say in there that spotlighted current society and it's mores.  But really, it still wasn't as important as the climb, so it was a bit of a mistake.  I could have said those things later. The climb was time sensitive.  I hope to always practice my new priority system now.

Also, I may still refine that last entry even more.  I think I was a little too harsh on people, so I hope I didn't offend anyone too much and I will try to mellow it out when I get a chance to edit.

More before long.