My New Year's resolution is to make one thing--music, photo, writing or video--each month for 2012. Follow along as I document the process
I’ve just been busy. And from that busy-ness comes March’s thing.
Yesterday, I was part of the team that put on BarcampICR. If you don’t know what a Barcamp is, it’s a user-generated conference. People show up, pitch ideas, attendees vote, and the most popular talks are scheduled throughout the day. I was asked to help out in January and it was a great experience.
I shot about 25 minutes of video throughout the day yesterday, so this month’s thing will be a 90-second to 2-minute video about BarcampICR. It’s going to take a little while, since I’m not getting any less busy, but I’m excited for it.
I’m going to be consolidating all of my Thingamonth posts over at my main blog. You can follow me there or just track the thingamonth tag.
I might stop using this sub-Tumblr and move my thingamonth posts over to my main site and just tag them with thingamonth. I feel like I’m not paying much attention to this site as I’m wrapped up in actually doing the things rather than writing about them. Thoughts?
I can mess up sewing even more quickly when I use a sewing machine!
One of the (many, many) skills that I’m lacking is the ability to sew. I can re-attach a button, given enough time, but other than that, I’m useless with a needle and thread.
Part of the reason is because my mother and my aunt are both skilled seamstresses. Another part is that I’m lazy.
So to remedy my lack of sewing skills, I am going to make between five and 10 pocket squares this month.
I’m going to work from this tutorial, and I’m going to use old shirts that I don’t wear anymore, but aren’t in good enough shape to give to a charity. I’m planning to make at least two by hand and then christen the sewing machine Emily and I got for our wedding (four and a half years ago!) and do the rest by machine.
By the time February is over, I should have at least one pocket square for each work day, and I’ll start wearing them to work in my jacket pocket.
Ten years ago, as I was getting ready to graduate from college, I had no idea what I was going to do for a job. I knew I loved music, but that I wasn’t good enough to be a professional singer or guitar player. I loved my campus job of running live sound for events, though, so I applied to the Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences in Tempe, Ariz. I got in, which I don’t think was a major feat, but there was a 9-month backlog. By the time I was supposed to be heading out to Tempe, I was working at a newspaper and I loved what I was doing. So I put it aside and forgot about it.
That’s part of the reason I tried to record a song as my first project—to use the skills I once prided myself on. It didn’t work out as well as I’d hoped, but it’s passable, at least, and I learned a lot this month.
First, I miss making and recording music. Years of apartment living and being busy with work have meant I don’t practice very much anymore. That sucks, because it means when I try to play, I have to start nearly from scratch. I think I’ll be playing music a lot this year to keep myself fresh.
Second, I love the editing part of the process. I already knew that, to some extent. I love shooting video, but what I love more is taking the raw footage and turning it into something. That was my favorite part of this month’s project.
Some smaller lessons:
- It takes a lot of work to put together a coherent cover of a song that’s both original and honors the spirit of the song.
- I need a keyboard, even if it’s a cheap USB midi one, to improve synth parts.
- My guitar teacher in college was right: Practice doesn’t make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect.
Things have been hectic at Chez OTAM, but I have all the tracks laid down. I’m likely going to re-record the vocals tonight, then mix it and should post it soon. But I’ve been thinking about what I’ve learned. I don’t think everything we do teaches us a lesson, but I have gotten a few out of this month.
1) I’m not sure how to blog about the progress I make on a single thing without becoming repetitive. If I decide to build or sew something, it’s easy to mark progress. But writing: “Still recording vocals” or “On my nth draft” doesn’t sound very interesting.
2) Ironic distance and creativity don’t mix very well. As I posted yesterday, you have to commit to something, and holding it at arm’s length doesn’t work. That is hardly a unique idea, but one I need to bear in mind.
3) I don’t know that I’ll ever be happy with the things I make. I’ve tried to make the song as good as I can—not easy, I’m a so-so musician at best—and I think that’s a start.
4) Sometimes I feel like this resolution was really on to re-wire my brain so I can focus on things other than work and sitting on the couch. We’re 22 days into the year and not one has passed where I haven’t at least thought about this project. And I’ve been busy at work, as well.