Monday, February 28, 2011

My Blog is Moving, I Am Not

I am happy to say that I am not moving. I am very happy in Shallowater, thank you very much.

BUT, my blog is moving. This will be my last entry at this site. For future inane ramblings, you can find me at:

Come on over!

Friday, January 07, 2011

Church Presentation Software

This looks interesting. We'll see how it turns out, but it could be really nice for churches like ours with multiple leaders and people in the prep process...

Monday, November 08, 2010

NFL Red Card

Rant time. The violence in the National Football League is out of control. I like a good hit as much as anyone and I understand the physical nature of the game, but the level of aggressiveness has escalated beyond tolerance.

I watched two games this weekend (with one to go tonight). In both games, I was witness to flagrant helmet to helmet hits... hits which are supposedly against the rules. I squirmed in my seat as I watched Indianapolis Colt Austin Collie lay unmoving on the ground for over 10 minutes and then be carted off on a stretcher (where was the cart?). Later that evening I watched Dallas Cowboy Roy Williams collapse like a rag doll after a helmet shot from a defensive player. Too much.

After an over-abundance of these hits, the NFL has enacted a new policy of fines and possible after-the-fact suspensions for helmet to helmet hits. It appears to have done little to prevent the violence. Such a policy does nothing to address the gravity of the situation at the time of the offense. The punishment needs to be ramped up to match the level of the infraction.

Since I know that most of the top NFL officials read my blog, I suggest they copy a policy from the other “football”. When a flagrant foul is committed in soccer, the offending player can be red carded. The result of a red card is immediate ejection from the game and suspension from the next game. Occasionally, a fine is included from the league. If the NFL would adopt this policy - immediate ejection from the game, suspension from the next and $100,000 fine - I believe it might begin to have an effect on the violence of head to head hits. The punishment is immediate and effects the game where the foul was committed. The financial penalty has teeth. The pressure from the team is heavy because their actions have kept them out of the next game as well.

Will the NFL do this? Probably not, but something more has to be done. The NFL needs to fix this problem before someone gets crippled or, heaven forbid, killed.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Artist Promotion

More and more, it seems to me that the days of the corporate music label are waning.

As many of you know, I was throughly invested into that world for many years, working as an artist through The Acappella Company and as a distributed label artist through Word and Sony. The latter portion of my time there I worked as a "label exec" and had the opportunity to see the business from the other side. I know what it took to get an artist where he or she needed to be. What amazes me is that the things I formerly worked so hard at are now available to any up-and-coming artist through various online resources.

The resources that a label provides as an exclusive service, and therefore an incentive to sign with the label, are becoming fewer and fewer. This is probably one of the reasons that labels, as I'm told by the few contacts I have left in the label world, are generally concentrating more on building up current artists than on recruiting new talent.

One of the great new resources is a company called
Discmakers. They are not, by definition, a new company or resource, but they have made great strides in recent days in offering new artists (and established, for that matter) the tools they need to make a presence in the music world. Granted, their ultimate goal is to sell their service and make money, but they have figured out the best way to do this is to increase your chances of making a sell.

Take, for instance, one of their recent blog posts. It is a portion of Dexter Bryant's latest ebook
The Record Label’s Guide To Digital Branding & Music Marketing 2.0 which can be found in its entirety at this link.

I repost this bit of wisdom here, with due credit to Dexter Bryant and Discmakers:

Music Marketing 2.0: The Digital Brand Manifesto

Every artist needs a fully customized DIGITAL BRAND to succeed. Proper branding requires the following:

1. A unique web domain separate from an artist profile on the record label website. The artist’s website functions as the central web hub for that artist’s digital brand.

2. A simplified e-commerce system on the artist website. Easy check-out store supporting various forms of payment (PayPal, credit, debit, etc).

3. The artist’s web properties are interlinked for increased e-commerce (website | social media pages | web stores).

4. Preorders: the key to maximizing digital revenues. All retail digital albums should launch with at least 3 months of preorder promotions. Promote digital singles with 1 month of preorders.

5. Digital distribution of singles & albums to key online retailers in target markets worldwide (determined by the artist, management, and the marketing department).

6. Free mp3s and mixtapes “leaked” to bloggers, podcasters, DJs, internet radio, journalists, and e-zines.

7. Digital PR team working internet radio, podcasters, bloggers, journalists, and DJs. PR team handles online promotions for packages of similar artists. Use logic and common sense to assemble artist packages.

8. Cover/promo art for all mp3 and mixtape releases. Submit art to major search engine image directories (Google, Yahoo, Bing).

9. Web concerts, web TV shorts documenting the artist’s life & career, concert & tour footage, and interactive web events that allow the artist to build direct connections with his/her fan base.

10. A mobile app that is integrated with the artist’s web properties. App features frequently updated multimedia content with the artist’s music as the primary focus. App is compatible with iPhone & iPad. (Eventually, Android & Blackberry compatible apps should be explored for maximum marketing reach.)

11. Direct to fan (DTF) engagement on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. Conduct 2nd string social media marketing on PureVolume, Bebo, and MySpace.

12. Custom banners on social networks containing links to the artist’s other web properties.

13. Current electronic press kit containing 2-5 promo shots, 2-3 mp3s, a music video and/or mini-documentary featuring artist, vital info for all current releases (title | “buy now” link | Soundscan data | station adds & airplay | target markets), links to the artist’s primary web properties (website | Facebook | YouTube | Twitter | iTunes), and booking & management contact info.

14. An email list of the artist’s fan base. Post email list sign-up form on all the artist’s web properties (along with multiple sign-up incentives) and ask fans at concerts to sign-up. Communicate with the artist’s e-mail list regularly using an e-marketing service equipped with an autoresponder.

15. A frequently updated events calendar listed across all the artist’s web properties.

16. Negotiation of strategic brand partnerships and sponsorships to cross-promote releases and drive customer acquisition.

17. A 24/7 digital radio station airing current priority releases. Available on label website, artist websites, high traffic internet radio directories (Live 365 Radio, etc), and cable & satellite music channels. Brand this station as your record label’s official radio station.

18. A digital licensing platform for film, TV, multimedia, and ad agency professionals with a no hassle licensing system. Brief turn-around time for licensing quotes and approval from the label/artist. Reference existing music licensing platforms to research basics and best practices that you can implement on your platform.

For this system to be effective your artists must be encouraged to take an active role in their digital brand. Equip all artists with a mini HD camcorder, a 500 gig external hard drive (for video storage), and a 3G mobile device (netbook/notebook/iPad/iPhone/Blackberry). Require all artists to stay connected with fans on the go.

The aforementioned electronic devices are necessary items for artists who want a digital future in the music business. The expense of these items is negligible when compared to the revenues that can be generated from the post-production and retail distribution of inexpensively produced video content.

Creativity and direct-to-fan engagement are top priorities in the digital future. Each artist will personalize their direct-to-fan engagement strategy based on persona, image, and how much of his/her personal life the artist is comfortable sharing with fans. Fans demand direct relationships with their favorite artists and it is the artist and the label’s job to facilitate that relationship. Failure to engage fans will result in lost sales and lost opportunities.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Weird Summer

I haven't posted much, as this has been a strange summer. We've found ourselves meeting ourselves coming and going. Is that possible? Probably not. I need to ask Michael J. Fox.

The last real post on this blog was a panorama shot of Pine Springs Youth Camp. That was on the morning of Thursday, June 10th. Three hours later, my wife had a little accident. Pine Springs has a big deck around the "bus stop" where people congregate. It's sort of a flow area from the guys side to the girls side. The laundry room is at the back of that area.

The deck is constructed with 2x6 boards. In one area, near the back of the deck, 24 inches of 2x6 was missing. My wife stepped right into it. I was in the cabin working on the evening's worship order, so I did not see this happen. After she injured herself, she got up and carried the clean laundry back up to the main hall, which is up a long stairway. How she did it, I do not know.

After we got home and had a chance to see doctors and such, we found that she had 2 fractured bones and a torn MCL. The doc did not want to do surgery on the MCL, so her best course of action was to sit and do nothing for 6 weeks and let the bones knit. Then she got to start rehab. We spent the next 6 weeks in a wheelchair (in public) and with a cane (at home). She could not drive, so I got to drive Miss Daisy around.

About three weeks later on a Sunday afternoon, my daughter Ashley was at the High School for the Shallowater Community Theater rehearsal. She decided she wanted to roost on the handicap rail around the ramp. Jumping up, she overshot the rail and went off the back side. She reached behind her to pad her fall, which allowed her entire weight plus momentum to come straight down on her right arm. Snap goes the humerus (sung to the tune of that weasel song). After eight hours in the emergency room, our house now has two sets of broken bones. At this point, my son and I are walking around on tiptoe, watching our back.

Then it's August and our life is consumed with back to school schedules, band rehearsals, therapy for Sherri and my driving availability. So, it's been a weird summer.

Now that we're into October, things have straightened out a little. Ashley is healed and back to her regular schedule. Sherri is much better, though still walking with a pretty good limp... especially when she's tired. But she has come a long way. Austin is playing tennis and drums for the First Baptist youth praise band. Things are good for now.

Hopefully I'll be able to blog a little more. We shall see. Thanks for reading...

Why You Should Consider Using a Professional Recording Studio | Songwriter101 - Articles | Why You Should Consider Using a Professional Recording Studio

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Elk. Nuff said.

I have no idea if this pic will come through or not. It's a 360 degree panorama of a meadow about 300 yards up from the camp. Beautiful place.

Buddy Mills took Sherri and I up the mountain today in his honkin big truck. We traveled roads that looked as if they haven't been driven on since last year at least. We saw some beautiful sights.

At one point, we came around a corner and ran up on a herd of at least 60 elk. There were no bulls in the packs, but I'm sure they were hanging back and watching.

The herd ran up the side of the mountain and we parked and watched. This massive herd was about 1/3 younglings (what do you call a baby elk?). As we sat and watched, the air was filled with the sound of all these elk calling out for their babies in a massive group effort to connect. It was slightly reminiscent of a dock full of gulls in Corpus Christi, magnified greatly and an octave lower. It was truly an awe inspiring moment.

Two days left, and then back to the real world.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Holy is He

This has been a good week for me, even though I have been weakened by some sort of bug that has kept me chained to the cabin. I am currently at Pine Springs Youth Camp which sits at about 9000 feet in the Sacramento Mountains of New Mexico. I have been serving as the worship leader and food server (when it was safe for me to do so).

Our evening worship services have been punctuated by heavy thunderstorms. At points it was so loud it was hard to hear the evening speaker even through the sound system. It has led to a different outlook on corporate worship for all of us. It's hard to sing Awesome God while the thunder rolls all around you and not be moved.

The second night of worship, Monday evening, I wanted to focus on the holiness of God. We talked about the four living creatures of the book of Revelation and how they continually chanted "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come." We spent several minutes chanting this phrase as a group, and we repeated it after every song. I went to bed that night with the sound of 150+ youth chanting the holiness of God ringing through my head.

As the week has continued, I have been amazed at how often this theme has repeated itself in the songs we have sung. It's like God is using the weather and the recurring theme of His holiness to drive home the point to these kids. At least he has to me.

As I sit here preparing for tonight's service, the sun is shining across the pines from one side of camp, while the other end is covered in heavy clouds with flashes of lightning and roils of thunder. And tonight we are singing Keri Jobe's Revelation Song.

I get it, God.

Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Pine Springs Youth Camp

Last night was the first evening of camp here at Pine Springs. You can see the panorama shot of the worship service. Josh made the pic twice.

It was a beautiful evening. We had a strong thunderstorm right in the middle of worship. We were singing How Great is Our God while thunder and lighting were all around us. What a great way to sing that song. Next time we sing it at Broadway, maybe God will provide and light things up for us.

Friday, April 16, 2010

How Much Do Artists Make?

I ran across an article recently, suggested by Jeff Henig from Facebook. The article, from, is based on British royalty rates and info... but I believe it is still a good overview of the industry in general. The question is, how much do you have to sell to receive the equivalent of minimum wage? It's not very encouraging. As Jeff said in his post, "food for thought."

How Much Do Music Artists Earn Online?

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Pitch Pipecast Ep. 17

I added a new episode for the Pitch Pipecast this afternoon. Josh Wheeler of Legacy joins the Pipecast again, this time for a special pre-release sneak preview of their new release, Reliant. Josh introduces and talks about four songs from the album: Give Me Your Eyes, Slow Fade, Lord I'll Fly and In The Light. Some big changes have happened with Legacy, mainly the fact that they are now a full time ministry. Listen in for a rare chance to hear some of the album before it drops.

You can find it at or download it directly from this link.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Austin's Bill of Rights

My son is an auditory learner. He can read something all day and not learn very much. Let him hear it once, and BOOM. He's got it. Which is why he's having trouble in History (for the first time in his school career). His teacher believes in letting kids go to a quiet corner and read about it. When we found out she was doing that, we had to start teaching it over again at home. Rather frustrating.

Anyway, he has to know the Bill of Rights tomorrow. Here's what we came up with to remember. See if you can see the Bill of Rights in this...

One, YouR'e a SAPP.
Two, I'll shoot you.
Three, my house is for me.
Four, stay out my door.
Five Due Process of Law (think golden rings)
Six, the trial was fixed.
Seven, Jury heaven.
Eight, what is my fate?
Nine, my rights are fine.
Ten, the power's in.

Feels a little bit like the Dirty Dozen, huh? Here's it is again with the actual bill under it.

One, YouR'e a SAPP.
1. Freedom of Religion,Speech, Assembly, Petition and Press.

Two, I'll shoot you.
2. The right to bear arms.

Three, my house is for me.
3. The right not to quarter soldiers in private homes.

Four, stay out my door.
4. Freedom from unreasonable search and seizure.

Five Due Process of Law (think golden rings)
5. Due Process of Law (right to remain silent, right to an attorney, etc)

Six, the trial was fixed.
6. The right to a speedy trial.

Seven, Jury heaven.
7. The right to a trial by jury.

Eight, what is my fate?
8. No cruel or unusual punishment.

Nine, my rights are fine.
9. Constitutional rights do not deny other rights not listed.

Ten, the power's in.
10. Powers not listed in the Constitution belong to the State.

How would you learn it?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Merry Christmas from Studio 84

Here's a fun little video we put together at the Studio. I ran around the office with a digital recorder and sampled all the sounds. Then I put together a midi sequence using all the sounds. After that, Stuart, our head video guru, went to work filming all the sounds and all the staff. Put it together and what have you got? Merry Christmas from Studio 84!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Pimp my iPhone #1

If you've followed my blogging, you'll remember I've posted a couple of articles called "Pimp my Mac." I recently purchased an iPhone and have been busily attempting to fill it up with apps. I figured I might as well talk about the good ones. I've mentioned a few on Facebook. I'll probably post more here, since my blog is echoed on FB as well.

Today, I bought an app called TrueHDR. For those of you unfamiliar with the term "HDR", it stands for High Dynamic Range and refers to a photographic process in which a series of photographs are merged together. Usually, a minimum of three shots are taken, one at normal exposure, one slightly over exposed and one slightly under exposed (real photogs will quibble at my choice of terms, but this is the easy explanation). These three (or five or however many you wish to use) are woven together within your software of choice to provide a much more detailed photograph than is usually possible.

The iPhone has never been able to provide HDR shots, since the camera/phone cannot change Fstop and exposure settings. Most of the HDR apps available just mess with the saturation levels and call it HDR. TrueHDR is different. This little app utilizes the tap-to-focus feature of the 3.0 software in the iPhone. After you launch the app, it walks you through the process of taking two shots of your subject. In the first shot, you tap on the brightest spot in your frame and then take the picture. On the second, you tap on the darkest and repeat. The software does the rest. It will align your shots and merge the two pics, giving you a wider range of colors, lighting and resolution.

It's not as good as real HDR with multiple shots, but it's a big step for the iPhone. Here are a couple of HDR-ish shots I took this afternoon, just before sunset. It's not true HDR, as the app title suggests, but it sure makes an iPhone shot look better than it would normally.

While I'm talking about iPhone photos, I might as well mention a couple of photo editing apps. Photoshop Mobile is a good app. It does a good job of editing shots, but I prefer an app called PerfectPhoto. It offers more filters and options and I get generally better overall results.

Another fun one is Lo-Mob. This little program is chock full of special effects, the likes of which would have cost a pretty penny even just a few years ago. It's worth the few cents that it costs. Enjoy.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Birmingham 3-Day Diet

My wife stumbled upon a diet recently. I had serious doubts that any 3-day diet would make any kind of an impact and may even prove unhealthy. I guess I was wrong.

According to the old copy we received, this diet was developed, or at least used, by a cardiac unit in Birmingham for patients who need to lose large amounts of weight heading into a surgery. The claim is that you can lose up to 40 lbs in a month. After doing it I suppose that it’s possible, although I wouldn’t recommend trying it without the oversight of professionals.

The goal is to diet for 3 days, then spend a few days eating responsibly, then back another 3 days, etc. Sherri has gone through it three times in three weeks and I’ve done it twice in two weeks. Sherri has lost 12 lbs and 2 pant sizes. I’ve lost 14 lbs and a belt notch. It hasn’t been hard at all.

There are some substitutions allowed. I didn’t know that when I first saw it, which was the first thing that turned me off. Keep that in mind as you read it and I’ll tell you about the possible changes in a minute. So, here it is:

1 cup black coffee or tea
1/2 grapefruit or juice (8 oz)
1 slice toast
1 tbs. peanut butter

1/2 cup tuna
1 slice toast
coffee or tea

3 oz. any type meat
1 cup string beans
1 cup beets or carrots
1 small apple
1 cup vanilla ice cream

1 cup black coffee or tea
1 egg
1 slice toast
1/2 banana

1 cup cottage cheese or tuna
5 saltine crackers

2 wieners (franks)
1 cup broccoli or cabbage
1/2 cup carrots
1/2 banana
1/2 cup vanilla ice cream

1 cup black coffee or tea
5 saltine crackers
1 slice cheddar cheese
1 small apple

1 hard boiled egg
1 slice toast
1 cup black coffee or tea

1 cup tuna
1 cup beets or carrots
1 cup cauliflower or greens
1 cup cantaloupe
1/2 cup vanilla ice cream

The paper says, “This diet works on a chemical breakdown and is proven to work. Do not vary or substitute any of the foods. Salt and pepper may be used but no other seasoning. This diet is to be used 3 days at a time. In 3 days you will lose 10 lbs. After 3 days dieting you can eat your usual food, but do not overeat. After 4 days of normal eating, start back on the 3-day diet.”

I did some substituting within the diet. For instance, on lunch for day 2, I would do a 1/2 cup of cottage cheese and a 1/2 cup of tuna instead of one cup of either one. I don’t handle fruit well (it’s a texture thing), so whenever apple or bananas were called for, I would drink grapefruit juice. On some days, I would substitute 5 crackers for a slice of toast (we have no toaster at work). We also found some tuna packages that came flavored... 1/2 cup of sweet and spicy tuna or lemon pepper tuna. They’re new. Even though seasoning is off limits, I did it anyway. I still lost 14 lbs.

As I’ve told others, anyone can do 3 days. Try it once and see if you like it. If so, try it again the next week. I did it Tues-Thu so I could have my weekends free for normal food... in moderation, of course. Good luck!