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Luke Melia

3/30/02, 1:36 pm

I rebuilt the front page of my dad’s website to add a section for him. In the process, I’ve made the page table-less and learned some more about CSS in addition. As far as layout goes, the float part of the standard and implementation seems to cause me the most problems cross-browser. Despite that, I really enjoy coding presentation and layout with CSS. It achieves the goal of separating layout from structure admirably.

Dave’s coming over to play some guitar. I’d better get dressed.

3/29/02, 2:52 pm

As promised, here’s a rough take of the new tune.

You may need to right-click and save as depending on your local configuration for handling .mp3 files.

Let me know what you think.

3/29/02, 3:19 am

Gorgeous spring day today. I enjoyed it with a trip to my foot doctor. I took a cab over there and bounced into the office on crutches, but I was pretty sure I’d walk out of there. Sure enough, I’m off ’em, and walked up Greenwich Ave. in the clear sunshine, over to my office. I’m cleared to play volleyball again in time for the spring season, provided I can get some sort of ankle support by then.

The doc identified my bunions as a causal factor in my injuries. He suggested I consider surgery to fix up my feet. That’s not very appealing to me, but neither is reinjuring my foot again. Something else that would help is orthotics (shoe inserts), but my insurance doesn’t cover them, and they’re around $400. Interesting choices ahead, I guess. Or should I say, afoot? I know, I know, I’m corny.

Get it? Corny…

Anyway, I had a nice meeting in the park with my boss over lunch, and am feeling relatively good about work. I bet I’d feel that way everyday if I had lunch in the park in the sunshine everyday.

I had a nice chat with Rich the other night on AIM. His username is still all over the stuff he worked on, so it almost seems like he’s still around the office. He’s happy in Seattle with his sweetie and is working for a biotech company that does protein memetics.

We’re joining a new volleyball league for the spring season. Big City. The change of pace will be nice. I’m looking forward to it and to the team. I have a feeling we’re going to get pretty good this season. Looking forward to playing in some more tournaments, too. Maybe some beach games.

Tonight, Elbert and I recorded my new song. It’s a rough take, but I love how it’s sounding so far. Guitar, vocals, bass, and drums. I’ll get an mp3 posted here in the next few days. Probably going to redo the guitar (my first time playing with a click track, and it didn’t go as smoothly as could be desired), maybe add some organ, and perhaps get some harmonies going. Then, we’ll probably do another version remixing the whole thing with a house beat, just for the hell of it. Elbert’s been a great mentor on the digital audio stuff, as well as composing in general.

I feel like a rockstar. A rockstar who can walk without crutches. Woo hoo!

But even pedestrian rock stars must sleep…

3/27/02, 1:44 am

Melissa came by after work and we sang. Well, I played guitar and she sang. And I sang a little. We did Tangled Up In Blue, Long Black Veil, and Leaving on a Jet Plane. I also played her the two new songs she hadn’t heard. She likes the one for mom the best and described the chorus as falling sunshine. I’m totally in love with this song. I wish I could play it right now, but I’ll refrain in deference to my neighbors. Or maybe I’ll play it softly before going to sleep. Times like this I like living alone.

After musical hour I had a conference call for my potential freelance web project. Being on the call, lying on bed exhausted, reminded me of my days of yore in Charlottesville when I never had less than 3 or 4 business projects going on at once.

I went off to meet Melissa, Carrie, Jess and co. at Half King. Big crowd tonight for what someone dubbed the “love fest”. Bloggers represented. D Storchan and the Mighty Geek were in the house. It’s funny is that I met both of them through their girlfriends. I offered the Geek a perl lesson. I hope he takes me up on it.

Work has been in the background lately. Music has been in the forefront. The highlight of my days recently is rapping with Anthony and getting into coding grooves where I’ll listen to music and forget about everything but the application I’m working on. It’ll come around, I’m sure. It always does.

I ordered the first pieces of my digital home studio today. An M-Audio Duo, a pair of headphones, and a copy of MicroLogicAV. Just UPS Ground and a few more purchases between me and some serious recording/sequencing/mixing power!

3/25/02, 11:43 pm

Three cheers each for:

The springtime.
Going to the gym on crutches.
April, for coming to visit this weekend.
The haircutter who was disappointed that I was straight.
Anthony, to goad him into updating his blog.
Ex-girlfriends that are nice to you.
Wayne, for becoming an excellent volleyball player.
Liz, for her quiz.
Perl regular expressions, for positive look-behinds.
Alec and Elbert, for being musical mentors.
Jessica, for being so far away and giving me a place to visit.
All the people that hold doors for me while I’m on crutches!
Listing things to cheer about when I still have work to do.

3/25/02, 1:44 am

I’m writing a new song. This one’s for my mom, and I’m really excited about it. I don’t want her to know about before I’m ready to play it, so please don’t tell her. That means you, Monica. (Mom doesn’t read this blog.)

Today, I worked on this new song, had a nice brunch with Judy and Dani, and cheered on Bizarro Block Island (same name as the original volleyball tournament team, but only Celinda and Matt played on both). It was really relaxing watching the games, actually. A bit frustrating not being able to play, but otherwise a nice way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Man, I was so excited to try get to bed before two. Ah, well…

3/24/02, 2:10 am

On Friday, I left work early (I’d been up late working from home the night before and so felt not a shred of guilt) and took the subway to Penn Station and the Long Island Railroad out to Mom’s. I did this all on crutches. Whew. (I was tempted to consider if a workout for iPod goal purposes.) The purpose of the trip was to see Isabella perform in her high school production of “Guys and Dolls”. She played a rookie police officer. She didn’t have a lot of lines, but she did a great job with what she had. “There are no small parts, only small actors.” Three cheers for small actors. And small sisters!

I saw a few of my former teachers, lunchladies, etc. at the high school, and had nice chats with some of them. It was especially cool to see Jordan Hornstein, an english teacher and theater director. He taught one of the best English classes I’ve had, and directed me in numerous plays.

High school theater is great for so many reasons. When else to kids get to stand up and perform in front of hundreds of people, and have their full attention. I guess it has a lot of similar benefits as high school sports. Teamwork, discipline, hard work. One cool thing, though, is that theater is co-ed, where most sports aren’t. Learning to be trust, communicate with, and collaborate with members of the opposite gender is huge.

Isabella used to be a shy girl, and she seems to have left that shell behind somewhere along the way. Good for her!

Monica’s been sick lately. (That’s another sister.) She still has more energy with a hundred-and-something fever than most people have on a good day. She was home from school one day this week and IM’d me at work. She wanted me to send her the lyrics and chords to two songs I’ve written. I obliged, of course. After all, if you’re an eleven-year-old girl home from school with a fever, what else are you going to do but learn how to play your brother’s love songs on your guitar?? She’s a piece of work, that girl. An inspiration to all who know her.

Alec came by today and we had a great perl/guitar session. Talked a bunch about regular expressions, and about references, and some about interwoven. He’s making a lot of progress. I asked him to talk to me a bit about his digital studio set up, and he taught me some skills, techniques and ideas for playing lead guitar. I learned the blues (pentatonic) scale and the major scale. We recorded some progressions and then practiced lead licks while they played back in a loop. Really fun! In the blues scale, everything sounds good. You can’t go wrong. In the major scale, nothing you do sounds bad, but not much has soul.

After the lesson, we had dinner at Spice and then went over to my office (empty on a Saturday) and set up the ping-pong table. We pulled in an iMac to use as a stereo and played some Grateful Dead while Alec beat me in three close games. My podiatrist would not approve if he’d have seen me hopping around.

Alec is going to “produce” one of my songs. I’m really psyched about it!

Last night, after I got back from Long Island, I was about to turn in when I read John’s blog entry. It addressed me by name and the title and was nothing short of a geek challenge. Not one to shirk from a challenge I had an RSS feed for my blog working within an hour or so. It’s a good thing I did it, ’cause the masses were clamoring for it… don’t know how they’ve live without it. Yeah, that’s sarcastic. I don’t see it getting much use. But it was fun.

Whoa, I almost forgot to include this: I bought my tickets for Peru! Mom and I are going to visit Jessica in early June. I’m psyched!

3/22/02, 2:43 am

I love how creative New York is! My friend Shannon just painted a wall of her room. It’s irregular and textured and came out great. Shannon’s brother and roommate, Baxter, is a rock star, on his way at least. He’s got the requisite musical chops, work ethic and the sunglasses at night. Yaron, Sam and friends (making up the band “Red”) performed their first gig at a bar tonight. They were great for their first real show. I saw a few friends there who also are learning guitar from Alec. We laughed about him having a recital. Anthony arrived late, raving about the performance of NimprovYC, his friend Dave’s improv group. Now he’s eager to redesign their site.

We hung out at Arlene Grocery for a while after Red finished listening to a trio from Utah who proclaimed how “psyched” they were to be in New York City!

My sentiments exactly.

3/21/02, 9:38 am

As promised, a rough sketch of “Bulletproof”, recording, mix and bass courtesy of Elbert. You may need to right-click and download, depending on your setup.

Worked until midnight last night and still didn’t get my project done. Frustrating. On the other hand, a good portion of the new work stuff is up, and it looks pretty and works well.

One more thing. If you haven’t seen the headline, the campaign finance reform bill passed. A bit of my faith in humanity has been restored. It’s been a long battle to get this passed, and I’m glad that I did my small part.

3/20/02, 1:08 am

I’m somewhere in the middle of a musical adventure. Earlier this evening, Elbert and I recorded one of the songs I wrote.

Before we recorded, he walked me through his whole digital audio setup, teaching me several weeks worth of a computers and music college course as he did. The whole thing is incredibly cool and (incredibly complicated). Elbert’s little iBook sits in the middle of it all, running the show. The software on the iBook replaces thousands of dollars worth of audio hardware (processors, compressors, samplers, mixers) and makes possible things that Bach would have believed was magic. On-the-fly, as-you-play musical notation is an example.

We recorded a guitar track, after a failed attempt where I forgot to not sing. Pretty funny, considering it wasn’t so long ago I was worried if I’d ever be able to play and sing at the same time.

recoding sessionThe vocal track proved trickier, because Elbert’s microphone had no windscreen to keep the vocals from popping and hissing. We rigged up a hilarious-looking contraption out of a mic stand, clothes hangar and a synthetic t-shirt that did the trick. I had to keep my eyes closed while I sang, though, because singing into a t-shirt is, well, pretty silly.

We applied some effects to make the levels and fullness of those tracks work and then Elbert picked out a bass line. Unlike the recorded portions, the bass part was captured in the iBook as pure MIDI data, which meant that after the first take, we could go in and adjust and modify individual notes. Which we did, and it added a lot to the tune.

I’m going to get myself the gear and software (entry-level to start with) I need to do some similar stuff at my place. It’s oh so far out to continue to see music unfolding in such interesting ways before me. Other upcoming stops on the magical musical mystery tour: seeing a friend’s band (called “RED”) play at Arlene Grocery Thursday night, a guitar/perl lesson with Alec Saturday, maybe catch his band, The Flow, play Sunday. The Fab Faux soon, too. I’m curious to hear Rusted Root‘s upcoming album. Melissa and I need to sing together soon, too. It’d be cool to take a month off and do nothing but music. Of course my friends would all have to have the time off, too.

Enough. I’ll post an MP3 of the result of our recording session soon.

LukeMelia.com created 1999. ··· Luke Melia created 1976. ··· Live With Passion!
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