Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Harvey Ray

This is a bit experimental. The idea was to write a song consisting entirely of TLAs -- Three-Letter Abbreviations -- with one exception.

I'm debating whether to explain who Harvey Ray is. Yes... No... Yes...

Harvey Ray* was a fellow who stood on the corner of Beltline Blvd and Two-Notch Road in Columbia, SC over 30 years ago in our youth. He sold peanuts and trinkets. Many people knew him only as "the Peanut Man". Rain or shine, without regard to current events, Harvey Ray was there, selling those peanuts. This is for him.

WMD is really hard to say in the meter. Pronounce it “DubyemDee”. I originally thought of this as “Shatnerized” with the Grand Moff Tarkin voice, but the more I think about it, the better it would sound performed by Roger Moore.

wmh - 12 December 2006

Triple A, DMV
HIV –––– RIP

FBI –––– DOJ

APB –––– Harvey Ray


I just spotted
Harvey Ray

P.S. I don't know why, but it's bugging me extraordinarily that I could, after quite an exhaustive search, find only this one reference on the web to Harvey Ray, and it's an anecdote in the comments section of a post about a different business on that same street corner. The more I think about it, the more glad I am that we have a song for Harvey Ray. He deserves one.

Friday, February 11, 2011

MuseScore 1.0

I know I've mentioned this software before, but it's worth mentioning again. One reason it's worth mentioning is that it's recently, quietly, hit the 1.0 release.

MuseScore is a free music notation program, similar in purpose to Sibelius or Finale. You create your score on the screen, and not only can you then print the sheet music out, you can export to MIDI or render the file as Ogg Vorbis (.ogg) to play or import into mixing software.

It being free software, the developers don't have an endless font of time and money to throw into development. Nevertheless, it does quite a lot... I find it meets my meager needs quite well. And, it has quite a good user community. One of the nicer resources is the MuseScoreHowTo YouTube channel. Short lessons, competently produced, to show you how to use the product. Here's one on how to enter triplets:

Even if you can't play a note and can't afford expensive software, you can, with MuseScore, create multi-instrument arrangements that will do you proud. You can find plenty of reviews of the product through Google, but keep in mind that most of them were examining early versions of the software.

Monday, February 7, 2011

The Periodic Table of Geek Musicians.

I've started a new project for charity, thanks to Edric. Click on the Periodic Table above to see what this is all about.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Lake of the Flowers

I'm not exactly sure what I ought to tell you about this one. I was flattered to find that SpinTown actually beat me to writing a commentary about the song, including an interpretation of the lyrics. Talking it over, William and I agreed that Spin's interpretation was as good as any, so that's what it's about (Unless you have a different interpretation, in which case that's what it's about).

That said, there is a specific place that is the subject of this song, and it's Edisto Memorial Gardens, in Orangeburg, South Carolina. Also, there are at least two other verses included in the lyrics that will most likely never make it to a recording.

wmh, around 1980

In the old days, living in towers
Took a trip out to the Lake of the Flowers
Stopping by for a day, had to get away

And what was it they'd say?
(so wise and hair of grey)

Lake of the Flowers
It's been so inspiring
Where are the hours?
(They've all gone away)
Lake of the Flowers
You know my desires
So what's transpired
Since my escape?
(my escape!)

Take a drink here and never grow old
Beware the current where the river flows cold
But see the water wheel, it meant a great deal

Oh, what a way to feel!
(the picture is unreal!)

Lake of the Flowers
It's been so inspiring
Where are the hours?
(They've all gone away)
Lake of the Flowers
You know my desires
So what's transpired
Since my escape?
(my escape!)

[Repeat chorus]

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


So you think you're into geek musicians? Well, if you don't 'get' the above reference, then you're Johnny Wannabe. Move aside, Coulton! Back of the bus, Paul and Storm! Edric Haleen is a brilliant musician whose work shows influences from Sondheim to Tom Lehrer, with a few stops in-between. Those of us who have participated in or followed the Song Fu or SpinTunes songwriting competitions know Edric well as someone who's sure to wow the crowd with a show-stopper. And so what if he never wins? That's only because his music is over the heads of the Neanderthal judges. It's probably over YOUR head, too.

I was discussing this in chat with some fellow musicians, and it occurred to us that anybody so infuriatingly talented... so impossibly intelligent... and so disgustingly pleasant... deserves his own merchandise. So I set out immediately to remedy that injustice. So here it is... The EDRIC HALEEN FANBOY T-SHIRT!

click on the images to supersize them.

Believe it or not, this shirt can be yours! NOT A JOKE! Be the first on your block to get one, before Edric notices this blog entry and makes me take it down!! (It could be tomorrow, or it could be next week. Edric's currently music-directing a play. That's right. As if you didn't feel inadequate enough*)

Look folks, you can't BE Edric. But at least you can admire him.

* Edric is currently busy music-directing a show by Adam Gwon called Ordinary Days. The show runs from January 27 - February 5 in Lansing, Michigan, which means you might still have a few days to get your shirt before he notices he has a fan club.

** UPDATE **
Due to popular demand (that would be JoAnn's demand), I've added the MATH QUIZ version of this shirt. to the store. Now's your chance to weigh in on one of the more important issues of our age... does 0.9999999999... equal 1? Well.... does it?  This is a True/False test presented as multiple choice for those who like to sit on the fence (or are simply partial to fuzzy logic). So buy the shirt, use a Sharpie to answer the quiz, and don't forget to show your work!

Now here's the really AMAZING part of this product... If you happen to be in or near Lansing, Michigan, you can answer the quiz, explain your answer, and then stop by and have Edric himself grade your work! Right there on the shirt! Is that cool or WHAT?!?