Boring updates…and a side of ranting.

So, this post is basically going to be an update on where I am in project land. With the Steampunk World’s Fair this weekend, I’ve been somewhat distracted, to be honest.  Even with 3 days of festivities, there’s still no way I’m going to be able to see everything I would like to, and looking at the scheduling I find myself very torn between which bands to see and which ones to let slide. A lot of my time this week has been sucked up by trying to figure out the schedule that will cram in as many bands as possible, and also to assembling 3 days worth of costumes. (A thrift shop trip and $15 later, I have managed to closet dive my way to three low maintenance costumes, none of which involve skirts or corsets. YAY. Well,  I wouldn’t mind the skirt, to be fair, but it’s looking like it’s going to be a wet weekend, so I don’t want to be dragging anything I don’t absolutely have to.)

That doesn’t mean I’ve been totally lax on things though.

In Music Land:

I haven’t been doing a lot of moving forward on practice, but I have been practicing the songs I’ve written, and have two almost mostly sort of memorized without my cheat sheet.  there are places I mess up. Some spots where I strum too long trying to remember a lyric, others where I hit the chord too early or late, but I can get through two entire songs (One 5 minutes long, the other 3-4.5 minutes, depending on which version I do.  To deal with time constraints, I found what I can cut out if I need to abbreviate the latter.) without looking at my chord sheet.

I’m also working through the new song I showed you a rough version of, tightening it up and smoothing it out, and that will debut at the usual open mic later in the month.

In Poetry Land:

Having roughed up all the recordings and started the clean-up process, I now have to make what I suppose you would call the post-production adjustments.  One thing I’ve really noticed in the recordings is that the mic I’m using to work on the laptop, while being very decent for the price, does leave the acoustics a bit thin. It’s particularly lacking on the bass end. Now, I haven’t got a heck of a lot of bass in my voice to begin with, so when you minimize that down to nothing, I sound like a little kid.

This means that, in order to get the best quality my equipment is capable of, after removing the noise, I have to then mess with the bass and treble to try to get as close to a replica of my actual voice as I can.  You might be wondering how I’m supposed to do that, when I hear my voice from inside my head. It’s simple, really – it’s called a phone. My current cell has fantastic front facing speakers, and when paired with a good sound recording app, I can use that as the baseline to match to. Really, my phone mic is good enough I could theoretically use it as my primary recording device (which I am not ruling out as a possibility if that ends up being the better bet, though I’m loathe to start from scratch a third time as I try to chase the best possible sound quality), but the functionality of working directly into the laptop, and directly into Audacity holds more than enough weight to justify trying to manually adjust for what my mic lacks. After all, I just have to find the magical bass/treble settings once, and then apply them across the board. If, after that, the sound still sounds comparatively thin, then it’s time to consider whether or not I might be able to produce higher quality recordings via transferring files and converting formats.

An album cover is also well underway, as is the creation and adjustment of the social media accounts. I’m fighting an uphill battle with username availability, as I’ve mentioned before with having to take the twitter @sonicShel for lack of really any remotely decent options (though, to be fair, it’s growing on me).

In the interest of attempting to be consistent, I used the same for Instagram. I say that, but it’s going to be impossible to be consistent across the board. Really, I just think it’s in my best interest to pick something short where I can. While I do like my domain name quite a bit, it’s also quite a bit to type, and while that doesn’t bother me, abbreviating things a bit is probably for the best. Since I can’t use my name, a hybrid like ‘sonicShel’ is short enough and easy enough to remember.

…which is why I did battle with Instagram to keep it as soon as I registered. I’m gonna be up front here, guys. Instagram and I are off to a rocky start. I registered. The name was available. The second I hit submit, the app goes “something went wrong, try again later”.  I tried again later and it said suddenly that the name was already taken. I KNOW. BY ME. So, I tried to log on only to be told I’ve been deactivated for violation of terms. Now I’m peeved. How the hell does one violate terms before they even manage to log in? It’s fucking impossible, that’s how.

So, then I have to jump through the hoops necessary to get it corrected. This starts with filling out a contact form if you think that you were banned in error. Fine. Whatever. …the contact form gave my phone a seizure, and it hasn’t worked correctly since. It went through a rather abrupt reboot, after which all of my internet access was turned off. I still haven’t figured out how to restore the weather on my lock screen, though my other settings are back to normal.

Next, I have to jump through these ridiculous hoops of taking my photo, with a piece of paper including my username, email, and real name, before they’ll do anything. There’s a part of me that understands this logic, but the more sensible part of me is damn sure they can skip this nonsense for an account that they can clearly see has ZERO ACTIVITY.  I’m not going to deny for a second my picture was accompanied by a very snarky email. I was good though – no cuss words – that has to be a record for me.

It took 3 days for them to get back to me with a form letter that basically says ‘we fixed your account’.  How much investigating does one have to do, really to go ‘hm, gee, we banned this account 30 seconds after it was created. Yup, that’s on us.’? Inquiring minds want to know.

In any case, I now have an instagram. I’m not happy about it, but as a blogger, I’m supposed to or something, so it exists, and I will, in theory, maybe get over my aggression at some point and start posting pictures of trees.

I’m also in process of a new redbubble (again, for consistency. I want to retire the ‘shelby stronger’ name once and for all, and my redbubble is still using it), where you’ll be able to buy my art and photos on things, if you want to. I looked into a few options for how to make photo prints available, and at the end of the day, redbubble seems to be the best combination of cost and ease for everyone. I looked into DeviantArt as an option, but since they charge you service fees(fairly ridiculous ones) just to give you your money, I’ve sworn off the idea with righteous indignation. Spare change is one thing, but when artist profits are already a pittance, the idea of forking over several dollars for “processing fees” to get access to one’s earnings? Yeah…no.  And, I’m not saying redbubble is cost efficient; no print on demand service really is, but it’s less cost-rapey than the alternatives that I know of, so it’s what I’m going with until better options that don’t require me to process orders myself (something I just don’t have the time for) come to my attention.  I don’t have a link for that in the menu yet. Once I have all the little threads together, I’ll do the menu updates all at the same time.

I’m working on an about page, too…which has to be the most boring possible thing in the universe short of watching paint dry, but, I will eventually have a real about page. Honest.

For the moment, I’m still on the small detail stuff, but I don’t want you guys to think I’ve gone completely off the rails just because it’s spring and I want to go play outside.  I am still hard at play.


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