In My Mind's Zen Garden
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Random Notes: For Monday, September 20, 2010

A Day Off Today

The past 6 days have been very busy for me. From Wednesday to Saturday I had 5 gigs with 5 different bands. With one of the bands, I had to learn a LOT of new music, or music I hadn’t played in a very long time. Sunday was very busy too, with my wife doing a lot of things. Monday was finally a day off to really rest, but I’m still busy doing a lot of things.

Alleviating Writer’s Block

In my wordpress “queue” were several drafts of potential posts, that simply gave me problems in getting to that final draft.

Of course, I must learn from my own set of rules for curing myself from writer’s block, because that’s precisely what happens every time I accumulate several drafts in my queue.

Anyway, I’m fixing the problem by making sure I finish this post and publish it tonight!

. . . .

Amarok 2.3.2 “Moonshine” for Ubuntu Linux 10.10 “Maverick Meerkat”


Today I downloaded and installed the latest version of the Amarok music player. Amarok is a full-featured player that seems quite overwhelming when you first start using it. And it’s main interface has a LOT going on. But you can adjust things the way you like, and it’s pretty customizable.

I’ve been true Maverick in also downloading and upgrading to Ubuntu 10.10 “Maverick Meerkat”, as this is still in BETA and there are bugs here and there. When something goes wrong I have the option to report the bug so that the developers can fix the problem.

But, despite a few little bugs here and there, Amarok is an amazing music player. I wrote a blog post comparing my favorite music/media players in Ubuntu.

. . . .

A Couple of Big Reasons I Like Amarok The Best

  • Out of all the players I’ve used, Amarok somehow sounds the best on my Altec Lansing speaker system. I did some close sound-to-sound comparisons and to my ears Amarok seemed to have a more pristine sound, the stereo image seemed to have more depth and clarity.
  • Once I had gotten used to the seemingly complex features, I found I liked them quite a bit. And, had gotten used to the interface. Although, I still think Banshee has a nice display of album covers, and the album currently playing is shown pretty big in size, which is always nice.

. . . .

The Latest Gigs

I had a really good string of gigs this past week. It’s significant to me because this year (and the prior year) has been SLOW. So, for me to have the opportunity to play in 5 different bands in in 4 days was a big deal for me.

  • WednesdayDonnie Finnell and Company East (jazz/swing/pop). The Modern Ancients (jazz/experimental/improvistional).
  • ThursdayBig Daddy Orchestra (dance/big band/jazz/ latin) @Anthology for the ICON Awards.
  • FridayFederal Funk @Harrah’s Rincon Casino (soul/funk/old skool). This gig was pretty demanding for me since I had to learn and re-learn many songs on my own, and with only one rehearsal with the rhythm section. It was a TON of fun though, and I got to perform with a couple of musicians who I performed with way back in high school.
  • Saturday – George Farres Quintet (jazz/blues/classic rock). Bassist couldn’t make it and we got a sub-bassist who came directly from an orchestral gig (still in his tux). It was a great time and low stress. A great gig to finish the series!

So, today is a rest day, but tomorrow I have another gig playing at a private event on a yacht called the “California Spirit”, which will sail around the bay while we perform.

. . . .

The Music Collection

The ongoing project to “digitize” all my CDs still goes on. I’m doing this a little at a time while I’m working in the Amarok music player to further organize my music into playable lists.

I have most of the major Beatles studio albums, so that has been my most recent mini-project. Making sure everything’s there. And I’m digitizing the music in the FLAC format instead of MP3 (whenever I can).

I have noticed that FLAC has a superior sound to the sometimes brittle and shallow-sounding MP3 files. Sorry MP3 fans but I guess I can tell the difference, almost to the point that sometimes MP3s hurt my ears. And it doesn’t matter whever MP3 files are at a higher sampling rate. I can still tell the difference.

And even though they aren’t as popular as MP3, I feel there is a big need for me to digitize all my music (as much as possible) as FLAC files. And they are don’t take up as much room as OGG files, yet still retain a high level of clarity and depth.

Anyway, that’s part of why it’s taking me longer to digitize all my music. And by the way, there is a great Linux program that converts FLAC files to MP3 if I need to.

. . . .

The Modern Ancients

Then on Wednesday it’s back again @Kitima Thai Cuisine with The Modern Ancients for some experimental and improvised jazz.

But, I still need more work, and I can walk in and do pretty much any gig as far as standards, pop, blues and jazz is concerned. Somewhere out there, a band has a drummer that can’t make the gig. That’s where I come in….

You can reach me at: (858) 231-2569



About the author:
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Carlos Rull is a musician living in the San Diego area. His interests include Yoga, Eastern Philosophy, Zen Buddhism, and Gardening. He plays drums, piano, and composes New Age & Ambient music, and his albums are available on iTunes and Amazon.com.

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