A Big, Big Box

Another odyssey. I went to Antwerp to pick up a big, very big box that contained an ARP 2600 synthesizer. Finally, after waiting for 8 months the synth arrived.

As I mentioned in a previous post, Jimi’s Odyssey, the ARP 2600 was the last synth on my bucket list I really wanted to have in my studio set-up. The ARP 2600 is a semi-modular analog subtractive audio synthesizer, designed by Dennis Colin for Alan R Pearlman, and manufactured by his company, ARP Instruments, Inc. in 1972. Unfortunately, the company was declared bankruptcy in May 1981. In 2015, some ARP instruments were revived by Korg. On January 10, 2020, Korg Inc. of Japan reissued a one-time-only limited production run of the ARP 2600 as the ARP 2600 FS, a faithful reproduction of the original 1972 gray version. With a little luck and a lot of patience I was able to buy one.

Jimi (and especially his shadow) seemed to be interested in the big flight case that came with the synth. Maybe he can use it to build a fortified castle. It looks like we both will have a lot of fun the next days…

Enjoy this beautiful day, my friends, wherever you are. Peace, love and understanding.

PS: I hate hate hate the new WP Block editor!

This Is Not My Beautiful House!

Jimi’s check-up visit. Medical care is as essential for your cat as it is for you. It’s a good idea to get a checkup for your cat once a year. Jimi was due for his first annual checkup today. All went well. Jimi is in top condition – though the vet told me I got to keep an eye on his weight.

For many cats, a veterinary visit is a stressful experience. Mr. Bowie was always relaxed and enjoyed the car rides. But Jimi was so stressed, the poor boy. He was so happy to be back home.

And you may find yourself
In another part of the world
And you may find yourself
Behind the wheel of a large automobile
And you may tell yourself
This is not my beautiful house!
And you may ask yourself, well
How did I get here?

“Once In A Lifetime” – Talking Heads

Enjoy this beautiful day, my friends, wherever you are. Peace, love and understanding.

Lifeline

A way of getting help. Jimi throws me a lifeline to save me from these troubled times. He wants my company for a nap in the afternoon. So live and let live in love.

Enjoy this beautiful day, my friends, wherever you are. Peace, love and understanding.

SETI Part 2

Jimi’s preliminary conclusion. Only about 0.0000000000000000000042 percent of the universe contains any matter. The universe is a pretty empty place! Empty like the little pot of yoghurt from the human…

Planet Earth is blue. And there’s nothing I can do.

“Space Oddity” – David Bowie

 

Enjoy this beautiful day, my friends, wherever you are. Peace, love and understanding.

Jimi’s Odyssey

New toys! I had a secret “bucket list” for buying synthesizers I really wanted. Recently I could finish off the list with placing orders for the ARP 2600 and the ARP Odyssey. ARP Instruments, Inc. was an American manufacturer of electronic musical instruments, founded by Alan Robert Pearlman in 1969. Unfortunately, the company was declared bankruptcy in May 1981. In 2015, some ARP instruments were revived by Korg. 

The ARP Odyssey, an analog synthesizer introduced in 1972, arrived today at my home. There were several versions of the Odyssey over the years, and it was reissued by Korg in early 2015, in cooperation with the original designer and ARP co-founder, David Friend. As always, Jimi was very interested to see what was in the box. But he preferred to go for a walk outside in the garden and to the bedroom for a nap afterwards.

And introducing in the photograph, the new guardian of my electronic devices, a retro tin robot from a Berlin shop. I call him Metal Pete, in analogy to the classic John Foxx song ‘Metal Beat’ from his legendary 1980 album ‘Metamatic’. Metal Pete is very terrifying, he doesn’t feel anything, especially not mercy. It looks like nothing can stop Pete, except rust, perhaps.

Meanwhile, Jimi was grounded for a long time. He found several ways to break out of the garden (via espaliers, the roof of my pavilion, and various trees). The cat-friendly fence doesn’t seems to be working for him. Jimi managed to get back in my garden after wandering around in the gardens of my neighbours. Unfortunately, one day I got a call from one of my neighbours. Jimi was stuck in their garden and I had to catch him quick because they have 2 dogs; one is a mean big dog, from the breed that likes to hunt terrorists. This is such a shame. Mr. Bowie never tried to get out of the garden in 10 years time and was happy with the area he had to wander around. It shows that all cats are different. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to explain this new situation to Jimi (the adventurer & acrobat) and he doesn’t seems to be happy after going outside for 5 weeks. It was so great spending time outside with Mr. Bowie all those years. I’m afraid it’s going to be very difficult and unpleasant to do this without Jimi.

Oh, stop whining, you human! There are worse things in life; like queues for food in democratic and civilised countries, recurring police brutality and crazy lying politicians all over the world. Snap out of it, get yourself another espresso and watch some clips of the amazing Sarah Cooper! It’s a mad world out there…

Update: I’m letting Jimi out again with a new strategy. He can go for a walk in the morning (around 7 AM) before he gets his breakfast. After a while he comes back inside because he’s hungry. The rest of the day he has to stay inside. He seems to accept the new situation. Thank goodness.

I want to thank you with all my heart. All your heartwarming comments in the Teared Up A Little Bit post made me feel better and helped me get through this empty and sad day. I sincerely apologise for not replying to your comments.

Enjoy this beautiful day, my friends, wherever you are. Peace, love and understanding.

Watching the Detective

What’s up, Doc? Cats seems to sense when something is wrong. Jimi noticed strange sounding noises in the neighbourhood and went outside to check it out. It appeared to be my neighbours working in their vegetable garden so everything was safe. Thank goodness there were no idiots, even some morons carrying heavy armer, outside protesting against COVID-19 measures like in other parts of the world.

We’re almost 2 months in lockdown modus. Up to last week my family and friends were all safe and healthy. Unfortunately, recently some friends got sick due to the Corona virus. And an elderly couple in my circle of friends passed away both, in one week time. This is hard and confrontational.

That night, to my surprise, I heard a certain idiot in the U.S. of A. saying his country is doing great compared with some countries in Europe, especially Belgium. Well here are some other facts. Public healthcare in Belgium scores well thanks to its combination of health insurance and social security contributions. Belgium didn’t need to deploy a 1,000-bed hospital ship or set up field hospitals in parks or convention centers. Even during the highest peak almost 50% of the hospital beds with respiratory equipment in the COVID-19 IC units were still available. Why is Belgiums death toll so high? According to Belgian authorities, that’s because the country has chosen a reporting system that differs from pretty much every other country’s method of counting.

Okay, sorry for talking politics. Next post will be about cats and a dead fish. And now if you’ll excuse me, I need an espresso and chocolate. Stay safe and healthy!

Enjoy this beautiful day, my friends, wherever you are. Peace, love and understanding.

Delta Echo Foxtrot

What’s in the box? Yes! After searching for years to buy a vintage Roland RE-201 Space Echo I finally found one in absolute perfect, near mint condition. The RE-201 Space Echo is an iconic audio effects unit that produces delay and reverb effects and inspired a generation of musicians. It was produced by the Roland Corporation from 1974 to 1990. I used to own one decades ago but sold the unit to buy a digital delay and reverb. Nowadays, a lot of musicians miss the real analog, moody, warm, gritty and unique sound of the Space Echo and they call it “the holy grail piece of equipment”.

I’m so happy that I found this iconic Roland Space Echo at a company in Antwerp, specialised in pro audio equipment and instruments. Anyone with even a passing interest in music production must surely have heard of the Space Echo at some point. Even Jimi was very interested. So I’m a happy musician and Jimi is a happy cat.

Enjoy this beautiful day, my friends, wherever you are. Peace, love and understanding.

Tough Times Part 3

Easter 2020. Well, this is the most weird Easter celebration of my life. All family celebrations and gatherings are canceled. We are now 4 weeks in lock down modus and everyone’s convinced the measures will be extended next week by the National Security Council. But hey, there are also some benefits: empty streets, no traffic jams, no chemtrails, the pandemic has cleaned the polluted skies.

I’m spending a lot of time in the studio during the day and in the evening I’m catching up some series and movies. I recently watched 10 seasons of Larry David’s ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’. Larry David stars as a fictionalised version of himself in one of the funniest comedy series ever. He also created the television series ‘Seinfeld’, together with Jerry Seinfeld.

Today was a big disappointment. The Easter Bunny, a folkloric figure in this part of the world, didn’t show up to bring me chocolate Easter eggs. I don’t know if it’s related with the Covid-19 situation or Jimi who’s on guard in the garden. After staying inside for months he can now check out the garden. So far, he seems to like it out there and thank goodness, zero escape attempts.

Enjoy this beautiful day, my friends, wherever you are. Peace, love and understanding.

Blue Cat

Feeling blue. Blue Cat Audio is a privately held company based in Paris (France). They develop audio software for musicians and audio professionals. They create real time audio processing plug-ins for computers. I’m using their plug-ins on a regular base. And they also sell beautiful t-shirts too…

Enjoy this beautiful day, my friends, wherever you are. Peace, love and understanding.

Unhappy Cat

Not at all happy about it! I sold a Roland synthesizer last week. There was nothing wrong with it but I wasn’t using it anymore. And I need space in the studio because I bought/ordered new (and exciting) equipment. I was happy to get a good price for the instrument.

Unfortunately, Jimi was very disappointed he couldn’t keep the original box. But don’t worry, my furry friend, you’re going to get a bigger box very soon…

Enjoy this beautiful day, my friends, wherever you are. Peace, love and understanding.

Any Way the Wind Blows

I’m very lucky. There are a lot of intersections in my neighbourhood where you can switch from one trail to another. I do this on a regular base so I can go from one beautiful spot to another. I love to walk in areas where there are rivers, canals, lakes…

 A few days ago I followed a trail on the Albert Canal. It passes an industrial area with big petrochemical plants. On the left side of the photograph you can see the new bridge. I wrote a post about it some time ago. Thank goodness you can also find a lot of windmills. But I switched very quickly to another trail and got back in the nature.

Enjoy this beautiful day, my friends, wherever you are. Peace, love and understanding.

Left Alone

Let’s go for a walk! A friend told me recently the Department of Nature Conservation (re)opened a new hiking trail that follows the riverside of the river Grote Nete (aka Molse Nete). The hiking trail crosses a natural region where you can see a lot of different wildlife animals. That’s a bonus for me because the trail is only a few km away from my house.

 

Last week I went walking for hours on this trail and I had a great time. I had a lot of encounters with all kinds of animals. I also met this strange dude. It’s a sculpture made by a retired stone carver.

Pleased to meet you!

 

Coming back home I saw that Jimi was very disappointed he had to stay at home. Well, if you were a dog you could join me for these long walks, my furry friend.

   

Enjoy this beautiful day, my friends, wherever you are. Peace, love and understanding.

Steppin’ Out

Jimi’s first days out. I let Jimi outside in the garden a few days ago. The first time he was very cautious but the second day he was climbing into all the espaliers trees. And that’s a big problem… If he reaches the top of the trees, it’s rather easy to jump on the roof of my neighbours garage. And then it’s very easy to get in their garden. But my neighbours got a big mean dog, one of the breed that loves to chase terrorists in dark tunnels… Mr. Bowie never climbed into a tree and the fence was high enough to keep him inside the garden. I’m not sure what I’m going to do in the future, keep Jimi inside or let him out again. I’m afraid that Jimi wants to discover the world on the other side of the fence after a while…

Meanwhile I received a photograph of 2 Maltese dogs who follow Jimi’s blog. I wonder if Jimi would love to play with his 2 new friends… 

Enjoy this beautiful day, my friends, wherever you are. Peace, love and understanding.

Jealous Guy

I’m clean. I have trouble falling asleep. I’m a very light sleeper. I just lie awake and worry. Over the last 10 years I tried so many different things. Yoga. Meditation. Walking and running. Herbal teas. I was constantly taking medication. Plain sleep medication. Tranquillisers. Anti-anxiety meds. Anti-depressants. I had good nights from time to time but I was also suffering from the side effects and nightmares. But today I’m clean! I started to reduce the medication this spring with succes. I stopped counting the days but I guess I’m clean for almost 3 months. I’m only drinking a herbal tea before I go to bed. And I feel fine.

You shall not pass!

 

That’s why I’m so jealous at cats and the way they sleep. They don’t worry about a hard, soft, warm or cold surface. Cats just lay down and fall asleep. Immediately. I wish I was a cat.

Enjoy this beautiful day, my friends, wherever you are. Peace, love and understanding.

The Spirit of Mr. Bowie

Adapting to a new environment. Adjusting to a new home is never easy, but who is to say that it’s impossible? Jimi’s adjusting quickly to his new home. It almost seems an invisible force guides him, as if the spirit of Mr. Bowie guides Jimi in his new forever home. Sometimes I notice an astonishing resemblance with Mr. Bowie, but on other moments he reacts completely different. Well, I guess we have to get used to each other.

Meanwhile Jimi likes to keep me company while I’m working in the studio. He seems to like my musical projects but I had to turn down the volume. In fact, Jimi can complete a traineeship for the job of studio technician. He’s very interested in all the wires and cables and maybe he can hit some hot jazz notes too!

Enjoy this beautiful day, my friends, wherever you are. Peace, love and understanding.

Theremin

Ghostly sound. I bought myself a theremin, a belated birthday present. A theremin is an electronically musical instrument controlled without physical contact by the player. The exact date of the theremin’s invention is unknown, historians place it somewhere between late 1919 and early 1920. It’s named after its inventor, Léon Theremin, who patented the device in 1928. The instrument has been used in movie soundtracks (such as Bernard Herrmann’s The Day the Earth Stood Still and recently Justin Hurwitz’s First Man), concert music, popular music, television and video games, (info Wikipedia). Feel free to check out some clips on YouTube.

I used a friend’s theremin years ago for a few musical and sound design projects. I never became a professional player but I loved using the device. Now it will be mostly used as decoration. As you know from previous posts, my house got a complete makeover. I created an industrial style living room and the theremin will look very good on the dresser.

Mr. Bowie was also very interested in the device. Or maybe he was only waiting to get into the box? Rock on, Mr. Bowie! Right now I’m working on an experimental electronic piece, maybe I can throw in some theremin sounds?

Enjoy this beautiful day, my friends, wherever you are. Peace, love and understanding. 

Sea of Green

Goodbye winter, hello spring! Well, this post is not about SOG, a gardening method that cannabis growers use to grow the maximum number of plants possible in the shortest amount of time. This is about the fresh, new green colours I see in nature while I’m walking in the first days of spring.

Green is not my favourite colour (it’s grey and black) but I love all the new green colours of spring plants, first leaves and grass. Spring wakes me and I’m calm again, just like Gustav Mahler said.

Enjoy this beautiful day, my friends, wherever you are. Peace, love and understanding.

 

Man/Cat At Work

It’s oh so quiet… I have noticed nothing much is happening on HoB. But I’m still very busy and helping a crew is always fun. I’m giving my house and recording studio a complete makeover. The studio was rewired and got new furniture and equipment. All the (6m high) walls , ceilings and doors will be painted in colours based on black and two grey colours.

These are exciting times for Mr. Bowie. It’s a big challenge of supervising the painters and becoming friendly with them.

Enjoy this beautiful day, my friends, wherever you are. Peace, love and understanding.

Ecological Footprint

Walking in the snow. Following Mr. Bowie’s ecological footprints wil guide me home and ignite my bones. Giant steps are what he takes. Paws they hardly touch the ground. I hope my legs don’t break.

Enjoy this cold day, my friends, wherever you are. Peace, love and understanding.

 

Choose Happiness Today

Happy New Year! Here’s to a great and prosperous new year, filled with love, kindness, and creativity. I hope you’re enjoying the holiday season, and getting time to relax with friends and loved ones. May all your dreams come true. Don’t let bad news get you down. Don’t allow anyone to put you down. Things will get better, they always do. Choose life. Choose happiness. Choose cats.

Thank you for hanging out with us at HoB. Thanks for all your likes, comments and kindness. Love, peace and happiness.

Mr. Bowie says “Happy Meow Year!” Viva la Vida!

Just A Quick Note

4 Sec! Looking after number one, Mr. Bowie? It started 3 days ago, the sun will be up for a few seconds longer each day. Why does it make me feel so good?

Happy Holidays, my dear friends and followers!

Enjoy this beautiful day, my friends, wherever you are. Peace, love and understanding.

 

Seriously?

Seriously? Is this for real? This cup ain’t big enough for the both of us!

Enjoy this beautiful day, my friends, wherever you are. Peace, love and understanding.

 

Top

I’ve been around the world
Had my pick of any girl
You’d think I’d be happy
But I’m not
Everybody knows my name
But it’s just a crazy game
Oh, it’s lonely at the top

“Lonely at the Top” – Randy Newman

Enjoy this beautiful day, my friends, wherever you are. Peace, love and understanding.

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