I just realized what a dipshit I am. Don’t know exactly when it began But it certainly wasn’t part of my plan.

I understand how condescending I’ve become. Thinking I’m the only one that gets things done. You can’t be productive if you are having fun.

Step Outside yourself for just five minutes. That’s all it takes to know who you are. Step Outside yourself: I can show you how. You really don’t have to go very far.

I know, ’cause I can hear what you’re thinking. Everyone loves me so why all the cursing? I hate the thought of endless reversing.

Step Outside yourself for just five minutes That’s all it takes to know who you are. Step Outside yourself: I can show you how, You really don’t have to go very far.

Step Outside and pay attention. It’s not like the rest of the world needs your attention. It takes a little effort and not much time. Come on out, the answer is in the rhyme.

Give me a minute And if you                 look at you The way I                  look at me We can Step Outside together.

Step Outside yourself for just five minutes. That’s all it takes to know who you are. Step Outside yourself: I can show you how. You really don’t have to go very far.

 I just realized what a dipshit I am. Don’t know exactly when it began But it certainly wasn’t part of my plan.

(C) MSK 2-5-2019

Image  —  Posted: February 6, 2019 in Poetry
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One night I was struggling with the towel over my head breathing in the incense-like vapors. My older brother David walked by and mentioned that it smelled a lot like marijuana. I was not familiar with his reference at the time. So when I was feeling better he filled me in on what pot was and that it was illegal but lots of people thought it was fun to do.

A few years later I was walking around in the city parks on a hot summer day (as I have a tendency to do). I met friends hanging out on the hill side and stopped to talk. One pulled out a joint and asked me if I wanted some. No personal experience here, but I knew more than years ago so I said sure. Almost immediately I felt comfortable and not scared or worried. After smoking I did not feel ‘buzzed’ or ‘stoned’ or ‘hi’. In fact, I felt almost nothing. Almost.

For almost a year I smoked marijuana and never did get the affects people talked about. At this point you are probably asking, ‘well, then why did you continue to smoke the stuff?’. I am not a doctor and even if I was US laws prevent doctors from testing pot. But when I smoked I felt relaxed. It reduced the panic I felt not only during an asthma attack but also doing things that were known to trigger them. During an attack I quickly calmed down after smoking it and I could lose my concentration on trying to breathe and focus on other things that did not make me panic. I stopped taking the other medications and tests.

After about a year I walked around a small pond at another local park and like a number of other people and animals….. I started walking in the shallow pool to cool down and enjoy the day. As I mentioned, there were a number of people and animals in the water at the time the police drove by, but only four people were pulled out and threatened with being “taken in”. Looking back I should not have been surprised that each of us ‘criminals’ were young and had long hair.

After the police men finally let us go (while others were still walking in the waters) I naturally started chatting with the others. They asked me if I wanted to hang out with them. I did not drive yet so I joined them on a beautiful day. They drove around and one of them mentioned wanting to get stoned. They were older than I was (college kids, I think) and they took really good care of me and checked to make sure I was OK. We stopped by one of their friends houses and bought some hash. I was not familiar with this but basically the same stuff only concentrated. We drove to their house, put on some music and then they got out the pipe.

That was when things really changed. The road got a little bit shorter that day, but the story continues.

Image  —  Posted: February 1, 2019 in Opinions and Observations
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“Night” was written in 1980 by a good friend of mine. I have mentioned him before in earlier posts as TR. (Tom Robinson). This is a great song from the past. I loved playing this in our group or as a duo with TR. I love the rhythm and intro motif.

The subject of the lyrics are familiar to me. Driving at night. Getting away. Pondering life and eventual death in the dead of the night are right up my alley!

I recorded the guitar track and wrote the MIDI drum parts to fit the groove and the opening motif. Then I re-recorded the guitar and added bass guitar from computer modules. Then it was time to add vocals and do the mix. I hope you enjoy this gem.

“Night” (C) 1980 Tom Rominson

Night is a ride you just get in a car and go cruisin on. On past the light of the city lights to the cool dark air. Night is a plunge into twinkling depths that can still your mind. Washing your wounds in nature’s rain, her fountains everywhere.

So let the magic continue while you search for an answer within you. And see that swiftly you fly. ‘ ‘Cause we always knew you had to die sometime.

Taking a life is a crime and you know you’re the victim everyday. They gave you a name and a story, not they’re showing you the way. Day is a desert of calendar deadlines, your life an empty phrase. London Bridges falling down, and the rent you got to pay.

But they can’t poison your fantasy in this refuge from insanity. You’ll be here till you kill the lie. And we all know you’re gonna die sometime.

Night is a ride you just get in the car and go cruisin’ on. On past the light of the city lights to the cool dark air. Night is a plunge into twinkling depths that can still your mind. Washing your wounds in nature’s rain, her fountains everywhere.

And when the story is over you will sleep in fields of clover. But your dreams will keep the night-time sky. ‘Cause we always knew you had to die sometime.

“Night” by Tom Robinson

Image  —  Posted: January 29, 2019 in Cover Tune Tuesdays
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In the 1960’s as a preteen I started to develop allergic reactions. At first it was not obvious but when I was tested, (I don’t know if they still do it the same way, but when things got really bad I went to a hospital for an allergy test. They take samples of allergens (30 or so?) and place each one on a separate ‘pin” on a bed of nails. OK, I could not see it but that is the result. Each pin stabs you in the back with a sample. If that area gets red or irritated, they look up the corresponding pin and tell you what you are allergic to and what to avoid, etc.) they could not see an area on my back that was not welted up. The doctors and nurses jokingly said I was allergic to everything. So the road starts.

In my early teen years the allergies continued and reactions got worse. I started having breathing difficulties and was diagnosed with bronchial asthma (among other things – another story). If unfamiliar, from a child’s point of view it is like having an elephant sit on your chest while you are trying to breathe. Your air pipes literally swell up from the reaction to irritants and allergens. Restrictions in your throat cause a wheezing sound that can be terrible to witness. You can’t run, play, climb or laugh. They only make things worse. After an hour or so of this you start to get scared and that is when things explode. The fear causes panic so you can’t breathe. Oh, wait a minute; you already couldn’t breathe! The child is just not strong enough to lift the elephant off their chest. As it progressed I would be gasping for more than a day and would eventually pass out from exhaustion. Sometimes I would wake up doing much better. Some times not.

From what I have been told, the difficulty is not getting air IN to you lungs when having and asthma attack; It is that your lungs are full and you can’t empty them to get a fresh breath of air. So you get enough oxygen to keep you in a state of panic.

The medications at the time included prescriptions, injections and inhalants. I was given something that sounds like “phenobarbital”?? It made me feel like jello stretched in both directions. I admit it may have reduced the number of attacks but as a preventive medicine taken daily I could not take it any more. I felt like a zombie all the time and I hated not being in control of my own body. The other remedy was inhalants.

I am not sure if the inhalers you see today were available back then or if it was very expensive but they did have a product that I remember being called Asthmador? Not sure and not worth fact checking, lol. It was like incense that you would burn and drape a towel over your head so you could breathe in all of the smoke. I am not sure if it helped much at all, but when things got really bad I would use it. Things got bad more often. Molds, mildew, dust, pollen, animals, certain foods and more were everywhere and I was not really sure what to avoid. Middle of the night hospital runs to the emergency room were common. Missing school and activities became routine. I kept walking down this really long road and found out a lot about what was to come as I traveled.

To be continued.

MSK 3
MSK 1
MSK 2

See Part 1 by clicking here: https://midimike.com/2019/02/01/the-long-road-behind-continued/

Image  —  Posted: January 25, 2019 in Opinions and Observations, Uncategorized
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Original by MSK

Over the last few years I have focused on recording and releasing songs I have written. Among these songs are a few co-authored works where portions of the music, lyrics or arrangement were inspired by friends in a core group of writers.

On my new Cover Tune Tuesdays series, I wanted to record songs that were written by people in that core group. (A lot of these songs also benefited from a little help from our friends, LOL) The first in this series is a song written by my brother David. He has been referenced here a number of times. This is a song of his called “The Magic Goes Away

I played his Martin six string guitar for this one. It is a delight to play and sounds great. I sing my harmony parts so the melody will be in the ear of the author! I added drum loops and used the computer for the bass guitar and strings sounds.

“The Magic Goes Away”

Though the feeling’s here to stay. The Magic Goes Away. As the method in our madness is exposed. Still there’s newness in the air. A warmth, a certain flair. And the knowledge that our hearts will not be closed.

We can’t say that it won’t end. It’s not in us to pretend. But at last the masquerades have all been played. There’s a quiet, hopeful sound. In the way that our hearts pound. It’s you and I, at last we’re on our way.

Though the feeling’s here to stay. The Magic Goes Away. As if we’d loved each other once before. Come and hold me once again. My lover, and my friend. As old magic gets replaced by something more.

It’s that newness in the air. A warmth, a certain flair. And the knowledge that our hearts will not be closed.

by Charles David Kennedy

Image  —  Posted: January 22, 2019 in Cover Tune Tuesdays
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We hear about local, national and international artists releasing new songs, EPs and soundtracks all the time.  Such fanfare and pageantry!  Producers, Engineers, Writers, Marketing Gurus and Designers are paraded through a gauntlet of praise.

Not so for me.  I write all the lyrics and music for my songs unless otherwise noted in the post.  Some lyrics take years to form after learning from time and experiences.  The odd one just jumps out at me and is written in one sitting.  There are verses or bridges waiting for a home.  Smashing them together will work in a pinch, but I have found that everything has its place and it is better to wait for the right project than to force a marriage. 

My early recordings find me singing and playing bongos or other cheap percussion toys that survived my pre-teen years.  I finally worked enough chores to buy an acoustic guitar that was a step or two above the ukulele and nylon guitars I would get for Christmas presents from my parents.  (As stated before – I blame my mom for all of this LOL)

Writing this I think that might have been my motivation for getting and keeping jobs at an early age….. It was so I could buy instruments, recorders, microphones, gadgets; toys no one would buy for a kid.  Hmmm.   

On this blog I post a lot of songs where I play all the instruments on the recording.  I use as many acoustic instruments as I can and these days the computer is also the recorder, FX, sound source and MIDI controller.  So I use a lot of strings, pianos, drum and mood sounds that are ‘sampled’ from the real instruments and stored on the computer so we can use MIDI controllers to generate the sound of each.  So, while I do not play violin or trumpet, I can do my best to recreate their behavior using various MIDI parameters.  I also have friends come over and record guitar or vocal parts.  My wife and I also sing vocals on the majority of my songs.              

After that I am the engineer, producer, promoter – ha!, and all the other knit-picking things one has to do to keep all this going year after year.  That, and have a regular day job and family.

Many recordings are not the greatest and are not as polished as I would like to see them some day.  I think a few are great.  I share them with you not as gleaming product ready for the digital consumer’s shelf.   I get a song to the point others can listen to get the outline and vibe.  Maybe the listener is a producer or band member that could see their group performing unique songs.  

With that in mind, thank you as always for your visits, and please enjoy songs I have written for the last fifty years.  I am excited to see what I will do in the next fifty!

Waiting for the band

JJAR in the Studio

Noodling at Night
Mix Session
Studio and Gig Set Up
Room to Play!
Careful with that Axe, Eugene!
Drums and Triggers
Full Studio
Racks at Night
Location Recording Rack

Image  —  Posted: January 18, 2019 in Uncategorized

I have been playing around with some themes, grooves, melodies lately. I have written a number of instrumentals over the years that are destined to have no lyrics. Sometimes the pieces are simple riffs and other times they can be full blown productions. I have a few I would like to share with you in the near future. Here is one I am still working on but I like where it is going.

This one I call “Another Dimension”

“Another Dimension”

Image  —  Posted: January 15, 2019 in MUSIC
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Last week I returned home from a short visit with my daughter and her family.

Last month I turned 65 and quit my labor intensive warehouse job.

Last year I enrolled in Medicare.

I am a procrastinator.  I rationalize my symptoms.  I laugh at me looking for a way to postpone trivial things all the time.

A lot of conditions are starting to be classified and quantified and turned into another annoying sound bite.  Dyslexia, obsessive compulsion and attention deficit disorders, anxiety, being introverted and living with depression are just part of the long list. When I was growing up and entering grade school no one talked about these things.  Few could diagnose and some treatments were still in the future.  At least I now know what some of the things I have been dealing with all my life are called, lol. 

Evidently there wasn’t anything extreme or I would be dead or in a prison somewhere or in an alcoholic state of bliss.  (IYou – Them)  Just enough to make IYT ‘odd’.  Just enough so IYT know we are different.  IYT literally see things differently than the other school mates and friends.  IYT understand things from a different point of view.  Where others find life fun, IYT see nothing but challenges and embarrassments.

It is funny growing older and learning of medical conditions over the years on the news and go, “OH!  That’s what I have!”  Of course, I procrastinate.

But back to rationalizations.

You have heard of Spring Cleaning.  Every season you get everything out and dust it off.  Some you decide to keep and some memorabilia is lucky to find another home.  Even if it is only for the hope of being uncovered again in the future.  Now think of that process in decades.  Other than family and friends, what have you accumulated over all the years that is truly worth anything?

I have an old photo in a frame of my late sister and her husband.  It needs a new home.  For days it has been sitting on my desk.  I see it every day.  I procrastinate.  I feel moods change whenever I look at the photo.  I wait.  I need to find the right place for it.

I am sure it will be obvious                                 in the future. 

Image  —  Posted: January 10, 2019 in family
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Here are a few pictures I took recently in the Red River Gorge, KY area.  We stayed in a cabin for my birthday and the first morning watched the sunrise over the hills and into the valley.  The fog was the best constantly changing eye candy!

Image  —  Posted: December 18, 2018 in Photography, Uncategorized
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          I see you are disappointed by the answers

          But it’s really the questions that you ask.

          Critical of the way things look

          Yet you will never remove your mask.

          So what if you keep painting masterpieces

          Clearly no one else will ever see?

          Surrounding yourself with splendor

          Makes you lazy and rarely sets you free.

                   So let me leave you with this;

                   It is but a simple gift.

                   Friendship is the only thing

                   That can reach across the rift.

                   Soon you may face the edge;

                   One you cannot cross or could not see.

                   Only friends will tell you when to jump

                   Or when to just let it be.

         

          From nowhere you are puzzled by a memory

          So clear you question who you are.

          You have heard it a million times before:

          You are the center of a fallen star.

                   Soon you may face the edge;

                   One you cannot cross or could not see.

                   Only friends will tell you when to jump

                  Or when to just let it be.

                   So let me leave you with this;

                   It is but a simple gift.

                   Friendship is the only thing

                   That can reach across the rift.

Image  —  Posted: December 11, 2018 in Poetry
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