Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Erase and Install Recommended for Bounce Issue w/ Logic Express 8

Hello All,

There was no solution found today and this evening with Apple for the inability to bounce a project to my internal or external hard drives with Logic Express 8.

At the Apple Store, a creative and technical person both suggested creating a new account to see if it would work and the problem continued.

Reinstalling the program twice this evening and removing certain files from the Library did not work with an Apple Software Support Specialist on the phone.

Since another erase and install would make my third one in less than a year, I have decided to forego doing another one at this time.

I will transfer the files or create a MP3 through other means and wait until a Macbook Pro or iMac purchase takes place in early 2008 before erasing and installing Tiger again during the holiday season.

I still thank everyone for their help, concern, and suggestions.

One interesting tidbit that was discovered on the phone with Apple this evening is that the earlier version of LE did not have to be reinstalled in order to get LE 8 on the system.  All that was needed was the LE 8 upgrade DVD itself.  With a PC, earlier versions typically have to be installed first before the latest version of a program can be used.

This will be a time-saver going forward within itself!



Friday, November 23, 2007

Thanksgiving Music Experiment Highly Successful:)

On this past Monday night, I discovered a video podcast entitled "The Weakest Beat" on Podshow.com. What made this discovery so cool is that I got it to work via Tivo first. I did not run across the show on the web.

On the show that lasts probably no more than 10 minutes, a music producer is shown a photograph and given two (2) hours to produce a song that matches the photo.

The host then talks to the producer about what they saw within the photo and how they were inspired to produce the song.

Two hours is clearly not a lot of time for most music perfectionists but one major benefit that the reduced time frame does provide is a single-minded focus and clarity that most music producers (including myself) pray for.

Being that the show appeared to be produced in or around Oakland, California and not with national correspondents, it dawned on me to try my hand at using visual photographs for musical inspiration since we were traveling out of state to Latta, SC for Thanksgiving and I knew that my musical productivity was being restricted home in Atlanta for some reason (probably due to our routines with school drop-offs and pick ups which provides a narrow window of opportunity as well).

So I took my Black Macbook, M-Audio Trigger Finger, and M-Audio Oxygen v2 25-key USB midi controller along for the ride. My Macbook was going regardless:)

I thought that I had all that would be needed but Murphy's Law kicked in within the perfect storm to limit my experiment.

My initial goal was to produce 15 songs over the 3 day period but had to settle for less when the dial up access kept the photos on Flickr from being fully viewable in a timely fashion. 5 songs per day would have been doable but after getting stumped at the entire process of getting online (this was not my first time using my Macbook with dial up at the same house either), I gave up and worked instead from a thumbnail photo of Chicago taken by a Twitter friend during her recent visit there while she was driving. Having traveled to Chicago in 1996, I knew how the vibe should feel and worked from there.

The song created is a medium to slow tempo hip hop jazzy ditty named "Windy City". At 95 BPM (beats per minute), I used only the instruments within Logic Express 8 without any loops or preset tracks.

During the 4.5 hours of travel time from Mableton, GA to Latta, SC, I listened to XM Radio. Using what I heard as a class in structure and music theory and as a result of my musical growth, I wanted to simplify my music composition style versus having too many parts within my songs. But I wanted to use point and counterpoint equally well for balance and creativity.

Chicago has a sophisticated vibe within everything except for my Chicago Bears this year. Other than kick off returns, it is a rebuilding year:) So the groove had to have a sense of style, class, and a clever nuance of elitism.

Near the end of producing the various tracks, I ran across an instrument entitled Atmospheric and lo and behold, it sounds just like the wind while soaring in a plane. This sound was the icing needed.

Upon playing the song for my family, they did not know what the sound was supposed to be and heard it as noise instead. So I lowered the volume on this track of the wind and the song fell into the pocket nicely.

The pizzicato on the violins and a spacey delay on a piano team up to square off against an electric guitar for anyone needing a rock star experience:)

Then while moving a section to a different place within the song, I moved it to the wrong instrument which played it as an instrument I am getting a huge mental block on the name now but it is like an octave curtain of small wind chimes.

The pattern can be heard near the end of the song and I learned that musical mistakes can sound better than intentional thoughts at times, so I flowed with my mistake and accepted it as divine intervention:)

I believe that "Windy City" was initially created on either Tuesday evening and fully completed by Wednesday afternoon.

I tried again on Wednesday to get my connectivity issues behind me and they remained. But I saved the thumbnails to my hard drive and proceeded to create more music.

One thought that is coming to my mind now is that the second photographer actually lives in Chicago and I totally love her photos of food and believe that she can seriously cook. I have never seen food photograph so well:)

While scanning through her photos, I ran across a photo of a cat on a bed with its belly exposed. We have similar photos of our pets, but this photo clearly had a cat that was not startled or surprised in any way.

A favorite song of mine entitled "Don't Disturb This Groove" by The System popped in my head as what the cat was saying to the photographer. I had the necessary vibe as a result and started with a simple piano part to say the words of the title.

More pizzicato violins were thrown in and I think that the same instrumentation set up was used from the previous song.

I found a nice snare-hand clap combo to match with a kick drum and stumbled on a sensual, minimalistic vibe that producers Tim & Bob created for singers Brian McKnight, Deitrick Haddon, and Joe separately.

A simple, descending chord progression quickly fell into my hands and the song took a cohesive life of its own. The bass line was kept to a bare minimum as well.

Somehow the song was missing a lower end anchor and I played the same progression on an electric piano as was played on strings. Then a nice and airy choir vocal instrument was added to play off the chord progression.

After adding an acoustic guitar to pull on the heartstrings and reducing the number of time a motif was played on alto sax, a gentle breeze of a vibe was created.

The final result is a track entitled "This Groove Is Mine" which has a vibe that I felt when I traveled earlier this year to Jersey City and stayed at the Hyatt Riverside which was my first experience with the Hyatt chain. The best keyword that describes my experience is PLUSH.

The groove is so plush that you can consume it either alone or with a loved one:)

The track alone has a chilled groove that says upscale in every way and the track would make a nice musical presentation within a commercial expressing an upscale and sophisticated lifestyle.

The hotel was playing similar music within the atrium and dining area. With the view of Manhattan and Hudson River, I remember being in the city of my birth (Jersey City) near Wall Street and feeling that I made it career wise. "This Groove Is Mine" is going to be an affirmation to myself musically as I write these words. No matter what happens or what others may say, you need to feel a vibe that lets you know that everything is going to be alright and you can make it with or without those who feel they hold the keys to your destiny.

You are not defined by what you do as much as you are defined by what you believe. The amazing thing is that a photo of a cat on a bed drove this point home to me on another level:)

The third song is one that I view as largely experimental, funky, and avant garde at the same time just as much as it is hip hop with a retro feel to something that Afrika Bambaataa might do as a collaboration with Mannie Fresh:)

I found a photo of a young lady walking out of a darkened tunnel and the sunlight was hitting her face for the first time. The photographer is one of my Flickr contacts, so his photos already had caught my eyes before.

Other than a Jam Master jay scratching loop and a loop with a wicked double-time hi-hat, the song is all me. The first discovery was the spacey, delayed bass which is the foundation for the song.

The name of the song is entitled "Step Into The Light" and is the fastest song at 106 BPM that was created during this period.

As a minister who performs gospel hip hop, this fishnet (what I call my songs) is going to be a life changer. The meaning is for the listener to give their life to Christ if they have not done so already. With the funky beat that is irresistible to dancing, everyone is going to celebrate.

I actually hear this song being performed by Kirk Franklin's choir with yours truly getting a short 8 or 16 bars to spit a verse. The song may not be considered a full blown hip hop track due to the verses not being 16 bars in length on the original song as it stands now. But it could be lengthened for that type of rapper.

But it is a party song no doubt that even a marching band may play in the stands.

I could not tell the ethnicity of the lady within the photo, but I found an Indian and Middle Eastern tabla percussion kit that I feverishly twerked as a mad genius:) Yeah, I said it. Your Brother got down thanks to God indeed!!!

Even though I had the Trigger Finger available, I played the tabla part on the 25-key Oxygen2 midi controller with only 2 keys on the keyboard. I think of each instrumental part as one who would actually play the instrument in order to not do anything too crazy or unrealistic.

The bass line leads one out of darkness while there is a clavinet part that sounds like a lead guitar to provide the title motif throughout the verses.

"Step Into The Light" has a couple of breakdowns thrown in for added surprise and to build intensity. I just heard a tom tom roll I added to not leave the percussion too dry.

The thought has just hit me to add the photos used to this blog even though I may just link the photos to the song titles. As soon as I get the MP3s created, I will upload them to my Seed Of Life Records' page on MySpace.

Finally, I created a new group on Flickr entitled FlickrBeats to see and hear others use the same process to create music. It may even inspire someone to shoot photographs for the purpose of inspiring music. The double helix effect should work wonders and create bridges musically, culturally, and internationally.

If the process of creating FlickrBeats inspires you, then join the group and get in where you fit in!

I truly enjoyed the experience although I did not handcuff myself to 2 hours for each song!

Thanks goes out to "The Weakest Beat" for your fine example! A special thanks goes out to the 3 photographers that shared their vision that expanded my musical vision!


Monday, November 19, 2007

Citigroup's Downgrade of ETFC Seems Fishy to Me Now

E*Trade Financial's (ETFC) stock took a "my name is Kunta" beating last week after Citigroup ( C) research investment analyst Prashant Bhatia had downgraded the stock.

I am not an investment analyst or an employee of ETFC any longer (exactly on the afternoon of the 50 basis Federal Reserve cut of all days-September 18th) and have nothing on the line either way but within my own opinion, I smell a "knock down the price and let's buy them cheap" move on the table.

Big fish devouring the little fish is what I am beginning to detect for some reason.

Now today Goldman Sachs (GS) kicks the chair out from under Citigroup while they were demonstrating how ETFC's demise might look to financial CSI types. Poetry in motion I say:)

If this is not a "Kill Bill" stand off in progress, then show me the door:)

Charles Gasparino is one financial reporter whose insights I trust almost blindly and his book "Blood on the Street" gave me a red pill on Wall Street wholesale, but the conspiracy theorist in me is seeing the string theory connect the dots like a room sweep flashback at the end of Mission Impossible. Why is everyone so quick to assume that it could not be a possibility in the wake of the financial service industry having to supposedly separate research analysts from investment banking activities?

Of course it would be premature to fully accuse
C or Bhatia of intentionally doing this, but game recognizes game and real recognizes real and C is not looking too admirable right now especially with former C CEO Prince falling on his own sword honorably (wink, wink).

I am not going on a hunting or fishing trip with anybody in this climate:) Any such requests are being turned down just as the numerous job offers from Nigeria, staff of disposed dictators, and to process orders for art dealers in the UK. Strings are being pulled somewhere for somebody.

The downturn appears to be a scenario where "I hope you die before I do to distract the attention from my own misfortune". Cramer may have this one right after all.

The best thing that everyone can do is to take a grain of salt with any analyst's upgrades or downgrades until February at a minimum.

No one has to the fortitude to downgrade
GS or challenge them honorably at the present time. Does GS have a bone to pick or are they looking for a discount? It does not matter since they have been doing so many things so right for so long, it would be welcomed if they were:)

I studied the financial supermarket concept in graduate school for my MBA in finance and it was a lofty idea back then in the mid 90s. But the execution of the idea has fallen short consistently.

Every company that I have worked for within the financial services industry has not gotten it right either. American Express (AXP) divested of its financial advisory division which is now named Ameriprise ( AMP). The only place where the consolidation of functions appear to be working is actually after an industry divestiture has taken place--the telecommunications industry.

After the US Department of Justice broke up Ma Bell (T) in 1984, time has revealed that the dry bones have been reconnected and a child (formerly known as SBC Communications) has grown up to consume the parent (bigger fish) through acquisitions.

Corporate philosophy and leadership are at an all time low right now. Too many companies are demonstrating that they do not know how to make money in hard times and the economy is paying the price through the wallets of the middle class. A hedge fund full of quants cannot save every company at the same time and although forex is a gravy train right now (even investing guru Warren Buffett has the Kool-Aid on his lips and tongue), corporate America is already busy forming a new bubble within foreign currency exchange from their long-term investments there.

Only after a system has been declared a failure has there traditionally been a restructuring and opportunity for new minds to be recognized and come to the table for implementation.

The AT&T that I worked in the early 90s undeniably failed just as those with a financial supermarket offering are doing so now.

I am not saying that the idea will never work, but clearly it will not work with the current personnel at the helm of these companies. The solution will only come from external sources or those not at the table when the current strategies were considered the right thing to do.

One significant problem that I saw at pre-
AMP is that the card carrying customers being called on repeatedly for a formal introduction to the financial advisory side of AXP at the request of managers and supervisors simply had a psycho-graphic composition totally different from what the marketing department thought they did. They were interested within the exclusivity and benefits of membership of the AMEX cards but not within investing.

Linking mentally (somehow as a great idea to an unnamed corporate John or Jane Doe) these customers' credit scores with their investing inclinations had the same effectiveness and was at the same level of doing a hardcore substance-abuse intervention for toddlers:) I kid you not!!! No one even looked at the advisor attrition levels to identify this as an input to my knowledge.

No one at pre-AMP had a clue of a suitable customer profile on any level (I asked repeatedly before taking things into my own hands) and as far as I can tell, the same is still happening there and is more prevalent than these all-in-one-stop companies would dare to imagine.

Anyone within any company that is being told to cross-sell and up-sell existing clientèle should begin to recognize the fallacy of this marketing myth.

You may ask what I am going to do as a result and I am glad that you have done so:) First, I am going to continue the implementation of a long-term proprietary strategy launched in the aftermath of my latest employment transition (nice way of saying that you will have to see my fruit since my seeds are more secure than VP Cheney's assets--LOL:) Secondly: since history has a fondness for repeating itself, I am going to keep my eyes open for the next SBC-type company that springs up within the financial services industry. I missed it last time due to working for the Death Star (as T was called back then in some corners).

Being outside the system is the only hope since the Kool-Aid has to be loyally consumed with every direct deposit.

Even since being terminated from my last employer, I still cannot get my jaw out of the divot from the mindset running rampant at the wholesale and retail levels within the supermarket segment of any industry pre-paradigm shift.

But I do know one thing that will absolutely never fail in my analysis of it all: the management severance packages and golden parachutes are being kept safely and securely by personnel dressed as the old Intel shiny suit commercials appeared. Maybe Diddy and Ma$e will auction their form of the shiny clean-suits:)

By choice and by force, no executive is fighting to stay in control in lieu of taking the big payday and running with it:) Their mamas did not raise any fools on that level!

May God help us all that are not as fortunate in our placement on the pyramid organizational charts.

Maybe the three-card Monty of network marketing may not look so bad after all when compared to this. LOL:) Surely I jest for the record.


Sunday, November 18, 2007

Interesting Soul Train Episode

This evening I saw on Tivo an old school episode of "Soul Train" that had BT Express on it.

Playing keyboard was a young Kashif.

I never knew his given name Mike Jones until today and believe that I remember reading that he had a conversion of religion that gave him the name Kashif.

He is one of my favorite music teachers although from a distance:)

I do not know what Kashif as a name stands for, but Kashif had written a book and given seminars on the music industry for years.

I think that I also remember being on a mailing list or newsgroup for him years ago as well.

The songs that BT Express performed clearly had a train theme within the music and nice structure.

Keep doing your thing "Brooklyn Boy" and thanks for the inspiration!


Friday, November 16, 2007

Two Ordinary but Unique Networks Created Tonight

I got a hair cut today which is not unusual but while my barber was cutting my hair, another barber who is moving to the area from out of town came into the shop. What made their interaction strike a chord within me I cannot determine yet but clearly as a result, two networks were created tonight to see what can possibly develop from the network of customers who get their hair cut at a regular barber shop of choice or upon visiting a new one.

I guess the idea was already within me for some time since I had mentioned to several barbers over the years that they should look to network their customers. This thought may have had too much risk for them due to their reputations going on the line for someone looking to get over on someone, but it happens anyway with or without the barbers involvement.

So why not take the bull by the horns and keep the ball in your court or at least have some online method to cast your support or disapproval consistently.

As a result the Barber Shop Network and Beauty Salon Network were created tonight on Ning which is a great web 2.0 platform.

I will readily admit that the names are not high tech or high definition, but at least you do not have to wonder what they are about:)

Barbers, hair stylists, and shop owners will have the opportunity to create their own networks within the network as well. It may become a Bronner Brothers Hair Show online or something since videos, audio, photos, and pretty much any type of digital content can be shared there.

So check these networks out and let's see where the technology and networks take us!


Thursday, November 08, 2007

Now Sen. Grassley's Investigation Begins to Make Sense

After reading this article reported by the Associated Press, the most unusual request by Sen. Grassley (R-Iowa) begins to make sense.

He is essentially investigating anyone directly associated with Oral Roberts University (ORU) it appears as well as their ministerial relationships to other pastors and church leaders. Three ORU board members out of the 6 ministries that received the senator's request for more information were named in his investigation.

There is an unworthy guilt by association and I suspect that this investigation will continue and go through several degrees of separation nationwide.

The development also goes to show the prudence and discretion needed to serve on a board of directors as well.


Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Congressman's Investigation Into Televangelists Stinks for Multiple Reasons

Immediately upon hearing the news about a request for operational and financial information from Iowa US Senator Chuck Grassley to 6 different international ministries, my reaction is that something is rotten not only in Denmark, but within Congress particularly from Iowa as well.

This is clearly the misdirected and asleep-at-the-wheel patriarchal hand of the USA at work directing people not only where they should give their money, but what constitutes their faith. The single request will have long-term ramifications and repercussions as well regardless of the short-term outcome.

Forget about the falling US dollar, war and deaths in Iraq, bin Laden still running free, Katrina victims, wildfire victims, and pending recession, Sen. Grassley is looking to earn brownie points somehow somewhere. He immediately raises the quote "You're doing a heck of a job Brownie" to another level.

Even without taking the time to put his political career on the witness stand, his request opens a door that will not bode well for Republicans nationwide.

Is this a final kick of some sort on his part regarding his tenure in Congress? Does Sen. Grassley have too much time on his hands?

Who would he have vetted such an idea within his own party at the least? Does he really need an opponent who will be clearly well-funded now during the next election?

Or is this some time of swan song before his soon political departure that sounds worse than the Aflac duck?

There is no need for some individuals, groups, and ministries to pile on because actions such as this indicate that there is clearly going to be room for everyone to sit in Sen. Grassley's barber's chair. Every church will have to justify its own existence without reason.

The nonbelievers nationwide will drink this Kool-Aid and rush to his side as fools often do. Be careful of what you ask for because you just might get it!

The White House had better pull on his coattail on this situation and give him room to start his own post-Senate nonprofit organization that serves as a watchdog group if that is his pleasure.

His request is not about federal grants or primarily actions taking place domestically since a part of his request to Joyce Meyer Ministries had to do with their international crusades.

His own fellow Iowa residents will not be suitably served through Sen. Grassley's actions either regardless of what their state reputation may have been before. Grassley's actions stains the entire state not with grass either:)

Even within the worst case scenario of financial impropriety by any of the ministries, Sen. Grassley's actions would have been better served if someone other than a member of the US legislative branch carried it out or started it. He needs to re-enroll into political science 101 or give up his seat in Congress more gracefully than the bathroom patrolling congressman.

This is the second most worst-than-amateur demonstration of politics after the chain of events which led to the war in Iraq.

Cheney, get your boy before he pulls down the heirloom china off the coffee table!

This fiasco is not about Sen. Grassley as much it is a pimp slap at the entire experiment known as the United States of America.