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    30th January 2008

    The past 6 months of work… (what has gone into making a full length CD, getting a lot of copies produced, and making a website where you can now buy them – www.saunisbigjump.com)

    So, if you read this blog at all, you probably know that I play in a band called Sauni’s Big Jump. And if you know that, you probably know that we have been working on a recording project this past fall. You might even know that the title of our album is Anything Could Happen. But I’ve held off talking about the process and all the work and making thank-yous and those kinds of things because I’ve been hoping to have a large order of CDs and a way to sell those CDs online before doing all of that – and that has taken much longer than I ever would have imagined…

    Back in August, when we started working with Don Mattson, of Loveland-based True Light Productions, I think that I thought we would be entirely done with the project sometime in October, and you would all have copies by now. However, it took us all the way to the first week in December before we even finished the recording process. Of course, the recordings are higher quality than I originally expected, also.

    For those of you who don’t know about the recording process, the deal is that for the most part you only record one instrument or one voice at a time, usually starting with the drums and then building up from there – but since a lot of our songs only have hand percussion, we started with the guitars on half of them. For every single part – instrumental and vocal – on every single song, we did at least 2 takes (at take is an attempt at the part that you want to put in, done over and over until you get it just right), but usually between 3 and 6 takes per instrument or vocal per song – and sometimes as many as 20 takes for some of the more difficult parts. And of course, we were even practicing for a good number of hours before each recording session so we would have each part as clean as possible so we could get it in the least number of takes.

    After all the layers were down, there was still mixing and mastering to be done. Mixing involves getting each part to be the right volume; adjusting the different frequencies so the parts don’t trample eachother; adding some reverb effects and utilizing stereo sound by putting different parts in different areas of the speakers (if you don’t know what I’m talking about, go to our myspace –www.myspace.com/saunisbigjump – and listen to The Hospital Song; the opening lyrics are panned to seperate sides of the speaker system to give the impression that two people are talking to eachother). Mastering adjusts the amplitude of the waves in each song so that you don’t have to turn your CD player way up to be able to hear the music.

    I’m not meaning to spoil the magic of a good recording, but just trying to paint a picture of the work that went in to the finished product.

    Once the music was actually done, there was still the job of getting a bunch of copies and creating some artwork for the CDs. My friend Stephanie Green is an amazing designer and put in time working on the art (which you can see on our myspace music playing thing…), and I found a company that could make us a thousand CDs at a reasonable price. Of course, it took more time to ship off our files to Arizona, have them do their thing and then ship them back, but we got them and they do look really good…

    Finally, my older brother Eric, of ericstips.com and prayway.com fame, worked on putting together our website… which became functional just last night. There’s still some work to be done on the site, but it’s getting there.

    Now, before I say what I want to say, I’m going to give a short catalogue of what getting this project to this point has been like for me:

    I’m a full-time student still, but over the fall I was spending at least 20 hours a week – and many weeks more than that – working on our music: either recording, practicing, or performing – or trying to get people organized to come to record or practice or perform or to come listen to our performances. And because for the first 5 months of the project I was the sole financier for the project, I was counting pennies and cutting corners on what to spend my money and time on. My wheelchair is in decently poor shape at this poing – the castors are about to fall off and the tires are down to the kevlar (I think I got Christmas money I was supposed to spend ordering new tires – maybe I’ll do that today…). My car’s windshield has a long thin crack that goes all the way across the bottom right above the wipers – and my trunk latch has been working on and off since October (I even had to have it tied closed with rope for a while!). My semester GPA was the lowest it has been since my first quarter in high school (it still wasn’t that bad, so I’m not going to say what it was). I didn’t shave for nearly three months.

    But!…

    But now, we have a CD completed and a bunch of copies ready for you all to listen to – and a way for you to order them from us!

    So, if you’re at all interested in what the past 6 months of my life has produced, you can go to www.saunisbigjump.com and order the CD or download MP3s of our songs. The album is called Anything Could Happen and there are 13 songs, 59 minutes of music, and I think it is all good stuff. If you’re not sure you want it, but want a free MP3, or if you really do want to keep up with the information about the band, you can sign up for our e-mail newsletter and we’ll send you a link to download a free MP3.

    And now, finally, thanks to a bunch of people: My family – my mom and my grandmother (Grandma Johnson), Carrie and Loren, Mike, my dad and Carla, my aunt Becky and uncle Bill for letting me crash at their place in Denver when I’m at school and for being super-supportive, Eric and Melissa and Josiah and Emmy and Isabelle – and especially Eric for believing in our music and getting involved with this project (he’s now our executive producer), Jeff Green – my music pastor and mentor for the Denver Seminary mentoring program – and Blake Bush as well as all of Third Day Victory Church, Stephanie Green for being a good friend and terrific artist, Ryan Green and Amy Green for being so supportive of my music, the Morgan and Jones families for being consistent fans, and of course Don Mattson and his family as well as Nick, Elle, and Jon, and Kristen, James and Julie Butler, Ben Johnson, Josiah Holmlund, Jared Banta, and Mitchell Vandenberg, who lent their talents to the project. And thanks to you out there who have been supporting me with your prayers and thoughts through the last several years. None of this would have happened without that either, I am convinced of it.

    Love and Godspeed,
    Daryl

    2 comments

    29th January 2008

    Playing this Friday at Everyday Joe’s in Fort Collins

    Hey y’all, we’re playing this Friday, the 1st at Everyday Joe’s in Fort Collins. The place is on Mason in Old Town, more specifics could be found on their website here. I’m not exactly sure what time we’ll be playing and if we’ll be playing with some other groups yet (we’re sort of filling in for another act that had to cancel) – but bank on things kicking off around 7 o’clock and going on till sometime after 9. Also, we’ll be playing without Elle, who had a previous commitment with a church group, so if she’s the reason you come we wouldn’t want you to be disappointed (tough hwe might work out a fill-in violinist). Anyway, more details to follow!

    26th January 2008

    New Issue of Comanionship Up Today!

    I got to interview this guy named Bradley Hathaway – he’s a slam poet. That’s pretty cool I think. And I wrote a little review of his latest album/book. If you have no idea what slam poetry is, check out a video of him performing his most well known work, Manly Man. Now he actually is writing songs, which you can listen to on his myspace.

    To read the interview, click here. To read my review of his album/book, click here. And to check out all the rest of Comanionship, just click here. There’s good stuff on there. Like an experiment that one of the writers did with romancing his wife for 20 days. He recorded the extra loving things that he did and the results in a sort of experimental log form.

    And in case you haven’t heard, Comanionship is a webzine aimed at Christian men. Comanionship is like companionship for the man.

    Ok, my love to all you out there in cyberspace,

    D

    5 comments

    25th January 2008

    Update on Mikey…

    My little brother goes to school in Hawaii. He has a blog that he never writes on – but he did update it last week. Check it out.

    22nd January 2008

    The ethics of banning medical research…

    From the Author’s Note in Michael Crichton’s novel Next, which centers around different aspects of genetic research:

    “Various groups of different political persuasions want to ban some aspect of genetic research. I agree that certain research ought not to be persued, at least for now. But as a practical matter, I oppose bans on research and technology.

    “Bans can’t be enforced. I don’t know why we have not learned this lesson. From Prohibition to the war on drugs, we repeatedly think that behavior can be banned. Invariably we fail. And in a global economy, bans take on other meanings: even if you stop research in one country, it still goes on in Shanghai. So what have you accomplished?

    “Of course, hope springs eternal, and fantasies never die: various groups imagine they can negotiate a global ban on certain research. But to the best of my knowledge, there has never been a successful global ban on anything. Genetic research is unlikely to be the first.”

    20th January 2008

    1048 CDs in the mail…

    So we’ve had a company called Disc2Day make 1000 CDs for us – the total package with all the printing of the cover art and traycard and printing the CD face and all of that – and they shipped them out on Friday… So I will have 1048 Sauni’s Big Jump CDs at my house somtime Monday or Tuesday-ish, which means I’m going to be looking for people to sell them to… So if you’re in the area and want a CD, let me know somehow. If you’re not in the area and want to order a CD, we’ll hopefully have it worked out so you can pay online sometime next week and then we’ll ship it out to you.

    The music is good. If you haven’t already done so, you can listen to 6 of the 13 songs on the CD at our myspace page, www.myspace.com/saunisbigjump (and even if you have listened, you could always listen again…). You don’t have to be a myspace member to listen to music on myspace, so the only excuse you have for not listening is that you either don’t have internet or have dial-up.

    I’m excited about this.

    1 comment

    15th January 2008

    On Being Disabled: Vacation (what happens in mexico… gets posted on the web)

    My family had the opportunity to go on vacation this past week. A real vacation with no other agenda. No weddings or funerals or graduations. We were in Cancun, Mexico at a fairly nice resort for a whole week. And when I say my family, I’m talking about my brother Eric and his wife Melissa and three kids, Josiah, Emmy, and Isabelle; my mom and little brother Mikey; my sister Carrie and her husband Loren; AND Melissa’s parents and three siblings, Micah, Kaitlyn, and Hannah. Fifteen of us.

    We played on the beach; swam in the ocean and in the pools at the resort; ate great food at the different restaurants; took a day trip to the off-shore island, Isla Mujeres, where we went snorkeling; and hit one of the outdoor markets to purchase things that they don’t sell here in Colorado (like fake-brand sunglasses and Cuban imports…). I brought my mandolin because I thought it would be easier to bring around to different places; and I played it poolside and on the beach and in the airport – my main goal was usually to play relaxing music that would put the people around me to sleep. (You can see some pictures of the family in Cancun at Eric’s blog)

    And I learned a lot about travelling with a wheelchair…

    Now, I’ve been all over the good ole’ U. S. of A. during the last three years, but this was my first time out of the country. Even at a nice resort in a modern city like Cancun, Mexico is a little bit less “wheelchair accessible” than northern Colorado. Not that I would have wanted them to change the place, but there were these steep bridges over the pool (I could make it over some of them without starting to flip backwards); many of the paths were built as ramps, but many of them still also had steps in them at different points; several of the restaurants had steps to get in and out; and the beach was down a steep hillside or long staircase from the main level of the resort. And when we first arrived, they had us in rooms in a building where there wasn’t an elevator until you went up a flight of steps! (Which I can do without that much difficulty, but I was still glad when they found me a room in a more accessible building…)

    So the whole place was for me a little bit like a skatepark is for a skateboarder: Fun challenges all over the place.

    You might not have ever thought of this, but sand is very difficult to navigate in a normal wheelchair. Folks who hit the beach a lot usually get extra fat balloon style wheels so they don’t sink into the sand pushing across. Most of the time when I was going someplace on the sand I would push my wheelchair like a walker and take little dragging steps, moving slowly to whatever spot I was trying to get to. A couple days we went to a beach where I didn’t have to go down stairs to get to the sand – and the waves were small so as to be better for the children with us. At this beach the depth of the water increased very slowly as you went out – and then right as if started to get deep, there was a sandbar. I would crawl into the water and swim a few strokes becore having to get on hands and knees and crawl over the sandbar before getting out into deeper water. I’m sure I looked rediculous, crawling over the sand, but it was worth getting into the water there.

    Carrie, Loren, Micah, and I rode the public bus down the Mercado 28. I would hop up and climb up into the bus and Loren and Micah would have to take the wheels off my chair just to fit it through the bus door. (All 15 of us also rode the bus to the ferry station, which was absolutely crazy.) At the market more than one seller of wares was impressed by my ability to bump up and down curbs.

    But the most trying wheelchair experience of all began when I realized on Tuesday night that one of my tires was going flat. Luckily I had brought a patch-kit (I had actually been thinking of my air-filled seat cushion); unfortunately I didn’t bring an air pump. The next morning I asked at the desk what they thought I should do and they suggested going to a gas station that had an air compressor. This was an ok plan, but I had to wait for some family members to show up before doing anything else. In waiting I decided to take off my tire and look at the tube to see if it was an obvious hole. It wasn’t. But while I was sitting there looking at it a hotel employee came and suggested we look for a pump in the activities shed, in which there are all kinds of volleyballs and basketbassl which might require a pump every once in a while. He came back a few minutes later with a pump and I was able to find and patch a small whole.

    My tire held air fairly well that whole day and most of the next. However, as we were getting ready to leave the beach on Wednesday afternoon, I realized that my tire was flat again – and on examination it was probably a new hole. Not only that, but I had somehow managed to lose my patch kit, and the next day we were planning on going on our day trip to Isla Mujeres. Ater dinner Loren and Mike and I brainstormed on what could be done and finally decided that those two would head downtown to Wal-Mart (yes, there’s a Wal-Mart even in Cancun…) to try to find 1) a new tube, or 2) a patch kit if that couldn’t be found; and 3) an air pump of some sort. So they took the public bus and headed out, leaving me at the hotel with a flat tire. (Loren and Mike’s trip to Wal-Mart was an adventure in itself, I think.)

    They were unable to find either a tube or a patchkit, but they did find a foot pump, which I proceded to use every hour or so for the next day and a half of the trip. In the meantime, I also discovered that one of my front casters (the little turning wheels in the front of a wheelchair) had become so loose that it had slipped into a position where it was angled slightly backwards. I asked the front desk if there was anyone from maintenance who might have the tools I needed (star wrenches to take the wheel out and a really big allen key to tighten the housing up). The guy came, looked at it, shook his head and pulled out a screwdriver. He jammed it into the hex bolt and tightened it as much as he could. This was a decent solution, though by two days later it was loose again, and so I pulled out my leatherman multi-tool and jammed the pliers into the bolt and did the same thing.

    Now there are only two more things that I’m going to say about bringing the wheelchair down to Cancun. The first is that there is one spot that I found that had good accessibility, and that spot was the bathrooms at the airport. There were these extra big stalls with their own sink inside of them with the universal handicap sign on them and the word “reservado”; it was wonderful to have the wheelchair accessible stalls actually be “reserved” for those who needed them.

    The other thing to say has to do with the air pump we bought. Going through airport security on the way back I had the pump in my backpack. They guy running the x-ray machine wanted to look inside my bag and asked me to open it for him, which I did. He called a coworker over. He pulled out the bright red foot pump and said, “Hablas espanol?” (Do you speak Spanish?)

    “Un pocito,” I replied (meaning, a little bit).

    “En espanol, esta es bomba,” he said, smiling.

    I had seen that on the label of the pump it had said bomba de aire de pie (pump of air of foot), but I certainly hadn’t expected an airport security person to make a joke to us and his coworkers about me having a bomb in my bag. The guy he called over rolled his eyes and gave an annoyed look and went back to his job. I grabbed my bag and headed off to join our small army of Holmlunds, Stovers, and Vervilles.

    2 comments

    Copyright 2005 by Daryl Holmlund - All rights reserved.