Calling the Bluff

I spent the greater part of yesterday testing a friend’s website that I neither own nor manage. This website is a rebuild of a previous version hosted somewhere else, and it’s supposed to open this Sunday. After some shallow testing using four tools, I was having grave misgivings. I spoke with the owner. Then I pulled the owner’s content to ensure its preservation just in case things should ‘go south’.

I don’t like messing with another’s website. I don’t like or want the hassle. However, there’s this sense of ‘what needs to be done’ and ‘what’s right to be done’ that won’t allow me to just turn my back. It’s the same core in me that makes me stop and help when another entity, regardless of species, is in jeopardy.

When it comes to webmastering, I think I’ve spent as much time rescuing domains for their owners as I have building them. That’s probably not at all accurate, but it often feels that way, because, often, it requires hours, days, and a lot of research and expertise to effect the necessary solution, and it’s always tedious and laden with bureaucratic nightmares. ICANN is not fun to deal with in these cases. and you’d better have your receipts and documentation in order, a good fax machine, a notary on standby, and some solid gold identity proof, because you’re going to need it along with me or someone like me to help free your property from danger. Else hire a very good, expensive lawyer.

In this case, it was a matter of getting the content as secured as possible — some thirty pages, only — then writing up some pertinent questions that should instantly demonstrate to the would-be webmasters involved that their bluff has been called. “Lay your cards on the table, boys. It’s over.”  Luckily, the owner retains complete control of their domain — the only saving grace to this. But not the content. The content wasn’t backed up before turning it over to the ‘boyz’. Hence, scraping it to preserve it …just in case. It’s now in a nice .zip file, handed over to the owner, though I retained a copy …just in case, as well.

I hate when things like this happen to unsuspecting people, and, actually, I’m very sure the webmastering dudes running this show are genuine in their desire to do the job right …for their fee. But it’s too obvious they are in way over their heads and don’t realize — not at all — that their underpants are showing, and those underpants have a very noticeable brown stripe.


Playing Tull’s Living in the Past

Living In The Past Strip


For me, playing Tull’s Living in the Past requires a lot of air. In fact, most Tull pieces require it. To be even modestly effective it trying to mimic the Tull flute characteristic sound, I have to push the brink of where the tone breaks to the harmonic and do so while purposely angling the air column so that it cuts across the outer edge of the blowhole just a certain way. I also have to adjust the delivery and shape of each note as well as my tonguing and how I depress the keys. Here are the details:

Overblowing the sound for this piece I accomplish by, both, pressurizing the air column and increasing the amount of air I’m pushing. This increases and intensifies the speed of the airstream as it cuts across the blowhole. Simultaneously, I also angle that airstream just so, getting the far edge of the blowhole to, quite literally, sharply slice that airstream. It’s what makes that ‘edgy’ sound — a subliminal whistling of wind that’s partly due to the speed with which the air is crossing the blowhole and rushing into and through the body of the flute, and partly due to the angle. This gives the resulting sound its intensity and razed effect. I’m using twice as much air as usual and the embouchure control has to be meticulous to control it. Of course, sometimes the sound does break, and that’s okay. That happens when I stop being so careful and drive the sound too hard. But I find I like the sound, even when it does break.

I also had to adjust my tonguing technique, going back to ‘the wrong way’ of doing it, using the harsher ‘t’ consonant taught by band teachers, instead of ‘du’ and ‘da’ flutists actually use for hard tonguing.

With that ground work employed, then the actual notes have to be formed with the breath using diaphragm control combined with the mouth shape and tongue so that the shape of each punctuated note, whether soft or hard, is shaped like a mushroom, not like the usual ‘O’ pinched at both ends, the soft, big pillow, or a wedge, these latter three being examples too classical in style to get the right effect for Tull rock.

I find myself shortening the duration of the notes, which I shouldn’t, but, with using the ‘mushroom’, I find I want to start ‘bouncing’ the notes — again, another classical technique — instead of what I’m supposed to be doing, namely, ‘punching’ them and then letting them (p)lay out.

Lastly, I have to use a lot of mouth effects in certain passages, but, in Living in the Past, the use is subtle, not overt, so I’ll talk about that when we release one of the pieces where the use of mouth effects is very distinct and noticeable.

It’s very typical of ‘rock’ flute to combine techniques not usually utilized together and do it in a way that produces a distinct and unique energy and grit to the sound. I’m not yet very proficient at it, but I’ve got a start, anyway.

Living In The Past, Video Size

Finished, I Think

I believe I’m done with site revisions, now. The new music, art, author, and videography pages are up, things linked in and not breaking. Now to finish up work on and (I’m working on it.)

Meanwhile, in other news, we’ve been without water here for over 24 hours for a second time since last Friday because Avista keeps breaking the water main as they try (and repeatedly fail) to get their new, improved, giant metal poles put up. They’ve destroyed my fences, they’ve destroyed the front of the property (it’s caving into their trench), and we’re suffering having to haul water, something I haven’t had to do in years and am ill-prepared for. There’s my pond, of course, and so at least toilets can be flushed…manually. Such joy to endure in the name of somebody else’s idea of progress.


Where Was I?

This may be premature, but I certainly hope not. I made a grave mistake. I bought somebody a birthday present. That led to a blossoming of complications, all of them due to the fact that the individuals involved, namely him and I, think differently, and, even though we both speak English, it’s like one of us speaks alien and the other speaks archaic Greek. (Yes, it’s that bad.)

So, for the last five weeks, I’ve been creating website infrastructures, only to tear them apart, then create different versions, only to tear those down and begin again. Anything I created wasn’t ‘right’. Hours turned into days, then weeks …upon weeks. Finally …maybe … I’ve managed to get at least one of the four domains involved set up enough that things will finally settle down for me. No guarantees on that, but I can hope.

…Now, where was I….