Posts filed under ‘OBSERVATIONS & OPINIONS’

OBSERVATIONS & OPINIONS

THE ELDERLY WRITER AND TODAY’S WORLD

I don’t consider myself elderly, okay I am elderly. But the appreciation of this fact at the age of 71 comes with difficulty. At times, honestly, I don’t know what to feel or think. I feel a change will come, but when my mind wonders to reality, that is the residence of dreams. For my ‘mature’ followers am I alone in this thinking or is it a common transition of life?
Getting back to the purpose of this piece, how are my fellow writers dealing with this ever-changing world of technology?
I remember typing submissions along with carbon paper to make a copy, and sending every submission by snail mail. There was no other choice. Now I am overwhelmed by social media platforms. I consistently hear of social sites and have no idea what they do. As a writer, I should take advantage of the exposure these sites provide, but I don’t know how. I don’t know if they are necessary for my work or worth the effort. What is the value worth where every one has access to publish every work they produce? I’m making a leap here, much of which is below readability?
My form of technology in college was a slide rule. I once talked to a millennial about a slide rule. She had no idea what idea what a slide rule was. Never heard of the computation device ‘early man’ used.
I read the Sunday supplements and see ads for electronic devices. Not do I not know what they are, but I have no idea what they do. Bluetooth is still a mystery to me, and what is its advantage. This is the same thought I have of the latest ‘advances’ of the fascinating world of technology and I appreciate the benefits they provide mankind, but they still remain a mystery to me.

July 5, 2019 at 8:53 pm Leave a comment

OBSERVATIONS & OPINIONS

WE ARE TO BLAME

I know, I know this blog is meant to address writing. Well, I think this piece does exactly that. There is so much happening in this country that is a fountain of material for both fiction and non-fiction writers.
Our country has reached a new low in the environment, the lost trust of allies, the growing relationship with cruel dictators who think nothing of their people, yet telling the average citizen everything is fine. And some of us, luckily a minority, believe what they are told without searching for the facts. Because they are told the facts are not true because of the ‘fake news’. Then there is also the creation of ‘alternative facts’. And yet our administration is supposed to be believed, yet unfortunately, some do.
We have become a society of corruption at the top levels of government and industry. And they both feed off one another with no care for the damage they create for the citizens of this country. I think the reason many accept what is happening is because we have become lazy in seeking out the truth, and also, believing what we are told no matter what is right in front of us.
Without our knowledge, the seeds of failure for this country are sown every day. Soon they will sprout and deliver us into a future no one could imagine.
The rich grow beyond rich, while the poor, whose numbers constantly are increasing. We are told they are lazy and don’t deserve the benefits they receive. Some work two or three jobs and still can not support their family. There are many things wrong with this country. They can be solved but we need politicians and an administration with a conscience.
I am an old man and look back when problems I’m sure were hidden. But hidden or not I felt the future would improve life for all of us, all of us. But now we are involved in a culture of greed and loss of values. Is there any hope?

July 3, 2019 at 4:13 am 2 comments

A CLOSE FRIEND

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it before but I run two writers groups.

One meets every Thursday (strange for a group) at the Paoli Library in

Pennsylvania from 12:30-2:30. The group has been in existence for about

three years.

One of the writers is Emmet Robinson. He is a very talented writer and

entertainer in coffee houses with his guitar and vocals.

Here is a newsletter he produces which I fee is worth a read.

He also runs a studio for voice overs and recording books.

 

 

AUDIBILITIES
By Emmet Robinson King Street Recording Company
Professional Audio Services for Any Purpose You Can Think Of
Video and Photo Too!
610-647-4341
http://www.kingstreetrecording.com kingstreetrecord@aol.com
Blog: http://www.emmetrobinson.com/wp/
Celebrating Fifty-one Years in Business!

Volume 72, Summer, 2019

Small Body, Big Voice

The tiny mandolin is yet one more descendant of the lute family, with ancestors dating back to Mesopotamia three thousand years ago. Although roughly the size as a ukulele, the modern mandolin has a few interesting differences:
• For each single string on the ukulele, the mandolin has two, tuned in unison.
• Instead of gut or nylon, the mandolin is strung with steel.
• The abrasive nature of the steel strings requires the use of a pick rather than the fingers.
• The tuning is very different from that of the uke – more like that of the violin and viola. As a result, different chord formations are used.

Like most other stringed instruments, the mandolin is found in a variety of shapes and sizes.
• The body of the Neapolitan or round-backed mandolin is quite deep, and shaped something like a gourd. Difficult to play while standing, it’s generally held on the lap of a seated musician.
• The carved-top or arch-top version is much shallower, with a gently curved top and back. A simple shoulder strap allows this version to be played while standing.
• Also playable standing, the flat-backed mandolin is made from thin sheets of wood, with internal bracing added for strength. Its construction is similar to that of the guitar.

Mandolin soundboards – the fronts or tops of the instruments – may vary widely. As there must be an opening to allow the music to escape, some sound holes may be round or oval in shape. Others take their design from the violin which has two sound holes, each shaped like a stylized letter S.
While the development of this instrument can be traced over much of the world, the modern design appears to have been developed by the Viniccia family of Naples. The raised, extended fingerboard and geared tuning pegs were accredited to Pasquale Vinaccia in the late 1800s.
The versatile mandolin, and its relatives, has been used over an extraordinary range of music. There have been mandolin orchestras dedicated to the performance of classical music. Chris Thile plays superb mandolin solos of complex Bach compositions. Much of the music I’m personally familiar with is in the related fields of country and bluegrass. Bill Monroe, known as the father of bluegrass music, played a Gibson.
A highly versatile instrument, the high, crisp tone of the mandolin allows it to project well, even without the aid of a microphone.

IN THE STUDIO
VOICES
In producing musical recordings since 1967, I’ve heard a lot of singers. Many were quite good. Just recently, however, I was delighted to work with a young professional new to the area who is quite extraordinary and needs to present herself to agents with a current demo.
Professionally trained, with Broadway experience, Kelly Briscoe has every quality I admire in a singer. With accurate intonation and perfect vibrato, she presents wonderful warmth of tone – even at the top of her extensive range. As a self-described “Belter,” when emphasis is
needed, she has power to spare. Best of all, she lends genuine emotion to the lyrics – she means every word she sings!
As she was able to provide her own pre-recorded music tracks in a useful format, we began by importing them to the recording system in the control room.
Then, in the studio, she put on headphones while we adjusted recording levels and the volume in her headphones.
With the experience of many hundreds of live performances behind her, she was easily able to begin with minimal warm-up.
Her first song had an interesting history. Written in 1920 for a French musical revue, “Mon Homme” was eventually translated into English under the title, “My Man,” and performed by Fanny Brice in the 1938 Ziegfield Follies. Ms. Brice’s recording eventually earned a Grammy. Many major vocalists have produced their own interpretations of this classic ballad since then, but my absolute favorite is Kelly’s version recorded here.
Two more tunes were recorded in quick succession with revisions recorded on parallel tracks and carefully blended in. The result was an audio CD and three mp3 files that should attract the attention of any intelligent talent representative. Watch out world, here she comes!

It’s a Wrap!
After several months of extensive recording and editing, the audio version of Pax Tandon’s new book,Mindfulness Matters, now appears to be complete. In listening to her warm voice, you’ll have the sensation that she’s speaking directly to you.
All that remains now is duplication and packaging of the eight-disk series. For details, contact Schiffer Publishing at 610-593-9292.
Note: The printed version is currently available on Amazon, and is well worth the small investment. Pax simply makes the point that a positive view leads to more positive experiences and a fuller, richer life.

The Artist’s Voice
A Philadelphia artist brought in a PowerPoint presentation needing narration to accompany her powerful original images. Rather than use a professional narrator, she chose to lend her own voice to the production and did very well. Working from her original script, she spoke softly, quietly, but with sincerity and heartfelt emotion. In a world of so many pleasantly glib voices, she was a refreshing change of pace.

Interesting…
All of the voices I’ve recorded this year have been those of women. Where are the guys?

FROM THE ATTIC
Grit and Determination
In processing a recorded biography, I heard the inspiring story of a woman who managed to rise to success from very humble beginnings.
Born in Pittsburgh in the 1920s, the African-American daughter of a steel worker and a domestic, she lived with her family in a two-room third floor apartment where the beds were shared and the building’s single bathroom was shared with other tenants.
Developing a love for reading at an early age, and inspired by a sister, she did well in school and decided to attend Tuskegee College in Alabama.
Although both her neighborhood and her schools had been ethnically mixed, her bus trip to the South was a very different experience. The long trip required many transfers from one bus to another and, beginning in Wheeling, West Virginia, the buses were rigidly segregated with black passengers often ushered off to make room for whites.
On arrival at Tuskegee, she found herself without sufficient funds for enrollment and had to call on a brother for help.
At last, with grit and determination, she completed her courses and graduated in 1948 with a degree in commercial dietetics.
Considering the challenges she faced, earning her degree was an astounding achievement. Every time I think my life is too difficult, I’ll think of her and her triumph over adversity!

A New Record
Some restoration projects are more complex than others and require the creation of many individual sound files. The previous record of sixty-four, set by a local university, has just been broken by an overseas client with an order for more than 120! Can you beat that?

Family Reunion
The tape I received wasn’t playable due to a missing pressure pad in the cassette shell. So, I carefully opened the shell and transferred the tape to a new one. With that out of the way, I could then digitize an entertaining recording of a family reunion held in New York in 1960.
The client provided text, so the CD labels were easy to produce.
More interesting was the photo for the CD covers. At first glance, it seemed fine. On closer inspection, it was clear that the upper left hand portion of the photo had somehow been tapered off. Well, now, we can’t have that!
Using appropriate software, it was possible to re-create what was missing. As there are no single buttons to push for this kind of photo restoration, it was done with hundreds of tiny strokes with the equivalent of tiny digital paintbrushes. As all of this could be done within 30 minutes, it fell under the standard rate for custom CD covers of $24.95 for processing, plus $2.75 for each cover printed. The restoration allowed including the entire photo, not just most of it.

A Lucky Save
Although I normally retain digital audio files for only a year, some instinct borne of decades of experience leads me to save some of them even longer. A recent request for a single copy of a piano recording proved that to be a useful practice. With the file still in the system, no processing was required and the extra copy was ready in just minutes!

Word Gets Around
Because the menu of services available here is diversified far beyond the norm, happy clients tell their friends and word gets around. This results in inquiries and orders from beyond the immediate neighborhood. For example…
• A call from Oklahoma City developed into an interesting restoration project. An old tape of a musical family get-together had gotten mangled in the recorder and needed repair. In the absence of a suitable local provider, a search of the Internet led to the tape arriving here.
Opening the cassette shell, I found the damaged portion of tape to be quite short – only two or three seconds of music would be lost.
Using a precision splicing block and special adhesive tabs, the damaged portion was carefully removed and the remaining ends joined.
The repaired tape was then reinstalled in the cassette shell, tested, digitized and transferred to disk. Once all was processing was completed, two CDs and the original tape were sent to the client by certified mail.

HINT: After playing a cassette tape, wind it completely to one end or the other. This will prevent a loop of loose tape being caught in the machine and damaged.

• A caller in North Carolina provided a challenge in the form of a poor quality video file of what appeared to be a talent show. The file was made from an original source, which had then been discarded. Somewhere in the middle of the video was a five-minute segment needing improvement.
Since the file I received would not import directly to any useful application, I resorted to trickery and deceit to fool the computer into accepting the file anyway. The requested improvement proved to be possible and, along the way, I had an interesting learning experience.

• From a client in Colorado I received a VHS tape of an original school performance of The Sound of Music for transfer to disk.

•A client who makes his home on the island of Maui keeps rummaging through his garage and finding more tapes of his original concerts. The two newest were recorded in Grand Rapids, Michigan and Panama City, Panama respectively. I wonder what he’ll find next?

NOTE: For safe delivery in sending original recordings here, please send by Certified Mail with a return receipt request.

 

 

 

June 26, 2019 at 5:51 pm Leave a comment

OPINIONS & OBSERVATIONS

NOTE TO A YOUNG WRITER

I’m an old writer. Let’s make that a seasoned writer. In the past I was an enthusiastic writer but with age the energy has waned. The ideas still come but many go no further. Although a few produce unpublished stories.
In bygone days I wrote nonstop, every chance I had. I wrote, on the job.. I published short stories and a novel. These days the desire to write is there, but the energy is not.
As I said before one factor, which continues undeterred, are the ideas for future projects. I jot down ideas – short stories and projects that lose their way in a lifetime of books and the debris of long forgotten projects.
What I want to convey with this piece is a realization, from personal experience. I was shocked as the length of my life increased and how I changed.
I find that in youth you will have the constant desire to write. The day job is just a way to pay the bills. You will have the drive to create but not enough time to feed that hunger. In old age you will have the time but lack the energy to complete projects and begin new ones. I have two novels requiring editing and come across short stores I don’t remember writing. Now retired with plenty of time when I think about that needs to be done, I think that I’ll do that tomorrow. But as you age, that tomorrow becomes less and less a guarantee.
I say to you young writers take advantage of your youth, your energy to create, to develop your craft.
You may see these words of and old man having little value. But time will show you I’m not far from wrong.

May 11, 2019 at 10:40 pm Leave a comment

TRANSITIONS

This blog will morph to a direction I had not expected it to go. With the tumbling of respect the world has on our country’s value due to current conditions of decisions recently made by our government, something must be said by all those who recognize our decline. The value of our country is facing a challenge of existence. I still want to write articles to assist writers, but I must also address what is happening to this country.
When you cannot rely on our president to tell the truth, when all around him find the norm is to lie, I cannot help but think we are in a downfall.
The rant today is ‘false news’. But the reality today the only place I find false news is in the local news. In the rush to get the information out first they will distribute what little the know no matter how accurate.
So false news does exist in the quest to be first. But the argument today about false national news is an effort to conceal the truth.

April 18, 2019 at 11:19 pm Leave a comment

The three elements of success — Cristian Mihai

There are three elements to becoming successful in any given area. Motivation: I also like to call it willpower. You simply want to get from point A to point B. You want it. You are driven. You are willing to go the distance.

via The three elements of success — Cristian Mihai

This huckster had been begging for money for years.

September 24, 2018 at 10:22 pm Leave a comment

OPINIONS & OBSERVATIONS

A LOOK INTO THE FUTURE, PERHAPS
I know, I know, this blog is meant to benefit writers on trying to get published. But there is so much ‘stuff’ going on in our country that I find it difficult to concentrate on this blog’s purpose, and for that matter, on this country’s current purpose.
I will return with information for writers. I promise. But I cannot ignore what is happening to the country I love, why it is happening and what the future may hold.

Shortly after the new tax bill was passed, I read or heard a prediction. Unfortunately I cannot quote the source. But the prediction was you would be able to tell which companies were using the new-found wealth to benefit their company and improve the economy. You could also identify the companies who didn’t give a shit about the economy or their workers. There only aim was to benefit the stock holders by buying back their stock.
The information that follows is from an article written by Stan Choe of the Associated Press. I read the article in the Daily Local New, a Pennsylvania paper 6/28/18. In this article he states:
“Stock repurchases hit 189.1 billion dollars in the first quarter for S&P 500 according to preliminary results from S&P Dow Jones Indices. That tops the prior record of 171.9 billion set during the summer of 2017, just before the Great Recession struck.”
There is a great deal more information in the article, and if you are interested in this country’s future, check it out.
This country has become a fiction which I cannot believe.
I tried to find the article to include in this piece. It’s like it disappeared.

 

June 30, 2018 at 9:41 pm 1 comment

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