I write about computers for a living. I enjoy writing a lot more than I enjoy writing about computers. So to relax, I often write about other things.
My biggest hobby is writing about my hobbies. Sometimes I write about writing. When I’m not in the mood to do a lot of research, I sometimes write about stuff I know firsthand, like what it was like to start a technical writing career while mainframes were still “boss.”
As a result, a number of my articles on various sites are more like memoirs than anything else.
Ironically some of those memoirs have gotten more reader feedback than some of the “important” articles I put all kinds of time and research into. So I think listing them here makes sense for anyone who wants to know things like why a fellow who “invested my soul on that Rock and Roll road” forty-some years ago is still working “for the man” all those years later.
Note on Self-Indulgent Rambling and Foggy Memory – Some who know me may remember things hapening differently or in a difference sequence than I do. These are memoirs. Get over it. On the other hand if you see something that really needs correcting, or if you have something to add, please contact us and let us know.
I have tried to stay upbeat about most of the roadblocks I hit at one time or another, etc. In part that was because I don’t want these to be a downer. My life has not been a tragedy – rather it has been a series of blessings, some of which didn’t necessarily feel like blessings at the time.
Also, giving too many details about some of the apparently “bad things” that altered the trajectory of my career, my music, or our family would help folks who know us figure out exactly who I am talking about that, and that isn’t the focus.
Memoirs about Music
You’ve heard of “guitar acquisition syndrome” – GAS for short, in which guitar players keep adding “one more guitar” to their arsenal, especially when they’re looking for a specific sound. What about people who play multiple instruments? A lot of saxophones, guitars, and banjos have come into my life over the years. Here are two articles about those, and one article about the joys and follies of trying to live life as a musician with specific tastes and skills that, frankly, don’t always line up with what people want to hear that week.
- Music Memoirs – Way more than you ever wanted to know about my musical (and spiritual) journey. Includes song samples from various stages and projects (we hope to include more eventually).
- Axes in My Life – Guitars, banjos, bases, and mandolins I have known. Some I kept until I could upgrade to better. Some I still have because they have unique features I “need” every so often. From the CreekDontRise.com site, which started out as a support site for a folk-based musical, then rapidly expanded to serve several folk communities.
- Horns in My Life – Mostly saxophones, including student models I cut my teeth on, professional models, and everything in between. From the SchoolOfTheRock.com site which started out as a resource for worship teams and young CCM’ers, but quickly got overloaded with saxophone articles, due to reader inquiries.
- Home Recording Memories, Volume 1, 1968-1977 – The first of a series describing my own experiences with home recording, starting with a two-channel tape recorder and moving – eventually – through multitrack recording, MIDI synchronization, and full-blown DAW. The first volume talks mostly about doing multi-track recording BEFORE consumer-oriented multi-channel recorders were available (much less affordable).
- Home Recording Memories, Volume 2, 1968-1977 – The second in the series, focusing mostly on the forces that led to multichannel home recording being possible. This includes a discussion of the history of tape recording and the various formats uses, which might help “fill in the gaps” if you’re ever working with old-timers who know about such things and are constantly talking “over your head.”
- Home Recording Memories, Volume 3, 1983-1987 – The third in the series. This volume talks mostly about the ways normal people used home four-channel decks and the way I used them. There’s also an overview of the difference between Dolby(r) and dbx(r) noise reduction, as well as how I used to plug dbx units into my setup. It ends with a description of a real recording session I did for friends about 1985, using a Dokorder 8140 and a bunch of contemporary toys – including a drawing that shows how I plugged everything together.
- Home Recording Memories, Volume 4, 1988-1995 – The fourth in the series. This volume talks mostly about the ways I started incorporating MIDI sequencing into my setup. There’s a basic description of early MIDI developments and how I used MIDI sequences to create backing tracks for my public performances and demos.
- Home Recording Memories, Volume 5, 1996-2008 – The fifth in the series, and the last one for now. This one talks about moving from MIDI-assisted multichannel tape recording to MIDI-assisted software-based hard disk recording.
Memoirs about Writing
At this point, I have been a professional communicator for 35+ years. It paid the bills, usually, and has led me into every possible kind of work situation, from the supportive to the Kafka-esque. Sometimes people ask me why I don’t enjoy certain situation comedies that attempt to derive humor from arrogant engineers, clueless bosses, lazy coworkers, schmoozy account managers, etc. The answer is that those people are a lot funnier on television than they are in the cube next to you. But in my years of teaching and mentoring, I have learned that sharing these kinds of experiences often helps encourage other folks going through the same sort of thing.
In fact, I derived pleasure from rehearsing some of these experiences as I wrote this, and realizing that things that seemed monstrous at the time were really trivial – I just didn’t have the perspective I do now. Hopefully my experiences will help you gain some perspective of your own.
If I live another 63 years, I’ll probably add to this list, but for now, I hope it gives you some enjoyment and maybe even answers some questions, about musical instruments, about technical writing as a career, and about human behavior under various kinds of stress.
Enjoy your hobbies, your music, and your vocation!
Paul D. Race