Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Bachelorhood... or, it's a boring life.

The Wife took The Boy to quartet rehearsal tonight, because I was teaching a clarinet lesson. It's hard to teach private lessons with the baby around, for obvious reasons - babies like attention, and they don't like loud squeaks. (All clarinets squeak. Even the highest level professionals squeak - just not so much, and usually in a way that sounds like music. Saxophones are just LOUD.) Plus, the baby is used to going to quartet rehearsal... so, off they went, leaving me all by my lonesome.

This was, by far, the longest stretch of time that I've been home and babyless since he was born on August 30. It was almost six full hours... it was weird. The house is different when they're not around... kind of creepy, actually. I hate a big, empty house (even though the house isn't so big). I hate - and usually won't - going into the garage / Comic Book Room when I'm home by myself. Call it a too-vivid imagination fueled by WAAAAAY too many horror flicks.

So, what did this wild and crazy dude do, stuck at home by his lonesome? Lots of exciting stuff: cleaned & vaccuumed our bedroom. cleaned the downstairs bathroom, halfway. finished the laundry. taught a lesson. did statistics homework. washed dishes. cooked & ate dinner - two english-muffin-egg-cheese sandwiches, with ketchup & onion salt.

I did play "Rock Band," for fifteen or twenty minutes. I've finished all 61 songs (the 58 on the DVD and 3 that I bought) on "medium" on the guitar (I'm done with about 35 of them on drums at the same level), but I decided to go back and try to get "5 stars" on the songs that I didn't get five stars on. Three songs, doubled my score & got the requisite stars; the fourth, did just as badly as I did before. I have a lot of trouble with one-note-repeated-quickly stuff with the guitar, because my inner rhythm / feel for 16th notes is very different from the computer's feel. I think I'm more accurate, because the computer is playing along with recordings, and rockers don't use metronomes often.

That's it. Boring, boring, boring. Although, I did spend fifteen minutes organizing episodes of "Bleach" on my iPod, making sure the titles & episode numbers were correct and unifying the album artwork.

Back to Rock Band... it is interesting, though. My rhythm is way more "behind the beat" than the machine will allow... it comes from playing in too many bands. I have good anticipation when it comes to following a conductor: I can flawlessly interpret a conductor's intent and execute it, usually without any conscious thought. That's what 25 years of playing an instrument in various ensembles will do. But, when I'm playing chamber music - which, in a sick, twisted & warped way is what rock & pop music are - I tend to play responsively instead of aggressively. Don't know what to call that, really; it's just what I do. I'm usually not the leader in a quartet / quintet setting, so I'd rather blend with the leader and work it from there. The game, because you're punching buttons in a rhythmic fashion, needs your beat to be on the FAR front of the beat - actually a 32nd note or so ahead of what you're actually playing. This is distracting to me, and it causes problems until my internal pulse adapts to it.

The problem is happening when one note is repeated for several beats of 16th notes. For whatever reason, I fall out around the 7th or 8th note; this is preventing success on some songs, which are made up of that sort of rhythmic pattern. It's getting better, but not by much, and not quickly enough. I don't want to spend time practicing this, necessarily; I can't justify the time practicing a video game when I should be practicing saxophone. Still. It's interesting.

1 comment:

Paul D. Keiser said...

Weird how your priorities change after a kid, isn't it? Bet you went around LOOKING for things to do before you chose the game. I can almost never get myself to play games before cleaning the house and organizing some pithy thing on my laptop. I end up feeling strangely guilty for "wasting" my almost non-existent "free-time" when the wife and kids are gone.

Then, once they're back, I regret all the fun and/or more productive things I could and should have done with that time.

As for the game, glad to know it's not just me. Only played it for about 10 minutes at a Wal*Mart once (don't ask why I immersed myself in that pit of consumerism) and had the same problem. You just explained it to a "T". I suddenly don't feel like a suck I simply suck at video games anymore.