Saturday, September 5, 2009

300 Posts of Writin' on a Blog

Feels like just yesterday we hit the big 2-0-0, and here we are 100 posts later. Blogs grow up so fast these days. In commemoration of this momentous occasion, it was originally my intention to compose a Sing Along Blog à la Dr. Horrible. However, this proved to be a little bit too ambitious for yours truly. Instead, I've retooled Bon Jovi's Livin' On a Prayer (the song which previously propelled J-Rock and I into the realm of rock legends) into a meaningful ballad. So cover your ears and enjoy the ride...

Edit 30/04/12: Sorry, but the sound file hosting site has gone down... so you can no longer be subjected to my singing.

A long time ago
In a galaxy far far away...

Andy writes on Blogger all day
Writing for his friends
There's no time for school
Don't fail... don't fail
Mello got new braces to wear
Yubin got hers off
Straight teeth don't come cheap
It's pain... such pain

He says we've got to write on
'Bout what we've got
It doesn't make a difference
If it's funny or not
We've got six readers, and that's a lot
Of love - we'll give it a shot!

[Chorus]
Whoa, come rain or fog
Whoa, writin' on a blog
Read my page, or I'll be kickin' your dog
Whoa, writin' on a blog

J-Rock likes to duel on the Wii
Now he's falling off
'Cause he can't guard for beans
It's weak... so weak
Sandlot used to write a great page
But her pen's running dry
So I whisper, "Maybe it's old age?" ...old age

I've got to write on
Good times record
Cause if I don't keep it going
Kushima gets real bored
Kon and Stewie's comments reward
My blog - it won't be ignored!

[Chorus]

We've got to write on, sleepy or sore
We'll wear Ruru's tee as we stay up till four!

[Chorus x 3]

...

I'd also like to take a moment to recognize all the lovely people who didn't make it into the song: Brutus, Pomme, Sydney, Yee, Sam... and the ones who don't read my blog. Rest assured, you are no less important to me - the song just didn't have enough words.

Story time!

I knew from the onset that I wanted to do something special for my 300th entry - something creative in the spirit of my 100th (but perhaps less misunderstood). As you might be able to deduce, however, from my lack of entries for almost a week... it proved to be a more intensive endeavour than I had originally envisioned. This left my blog in limbo hovering at entry 299.

It did not help that 300 came amidst the transition from my unmanageable final week at work to my exhausting first week of school. Seven hours of lectures a day left little energy for blogging. Still, I spent all of Wednesday evening composing the lyrics. Do you have any idea how few words rhyme with "blog"?

Today, I finally got down to recording. The original idea was to record sound directly from Rock Band 2 to my PC. The game would provide the background music and the timing cues, and I would provide the vocals by singing into the Rock Band USB microphone. First, I attempted to output sound directly from the TV to my PC using a Y-cable. Usually, I use these to send sound from my PC to the TV and not vice versa, so I didn't know whether this would be effective.

After several unsuccessful tries, I went the JFGI route and came up with the suggestion of sending the sound through a VCR rather than directly from the TV. Luckily, there was a VCR handy. I sent the video from the Wii to the VCR, then from the VCR to the TV. The sound was a bit more complicated. I sent it from the Wii to the VCR, then from the VCR to the computer. However, since I didn't want the sound coming out of my computer speakers, I used another Y-cable to send the sound back from the PC to the TV. Even after all this work, I still struggled for awhile fiddling with my PC settings before the setup functioned appropriately.

However, as it turns out, the Rock Band mic is not designed to amplify your voice (à la karaoke). For the most part, it generates very little volume and is mostly there for the game to score you. Even when I turned the vocal track all the way down, I could still hear Bon Jovi singing; and even when I turned the mic volume all the way up, I couldn't hear my own voice over the background. I fiddled with the Options and took three or four goes at singing before I gave up.

As it turns out, there actually is a way to get rid of the vocal track in Rock Band altogether. I found the fully instrumental version on YouTube, ripped off the same game that I had been using. I asked the author how he had done this... he replied within a minute with a crypic answer telling me to fiddle with more settings. Taking this instrumental track, I recorded the vocals one last time using a PC microphone. It was then a surprisingly challenging task to sync the timing of the vocal and instrumental tracks. Lastly, I applied a little post-processing reverberation (the echo effect) to try make the vocals a little less damaging to your ears.

Altogether, I'm sure this entry easily took 10+ hours... All that work to assemble an embarrassing audio file of myself? That's correct. This is the extent to which I care about you, dear friends and readers. Happy 300th.

7 comments:

Jerry said...

Bravo! Encore!

This was definitely better than what I expected! Especially after you kept saying how horrible you sounded!

The lyrics are REALLY GOOD and your voice sounded good for the most part...except the part that needs a bit more of the screamin effect, but I know you'll work on that.

You've set the standard pretty high with your own song. I guess 400th post will be a video musical blog right?

Again Bravo and Encore!
p.s. I will own you in our next light sabre battle!

Joyce said...

Wow, i can't believe you spent so much effort on this... your blog has really got you whipped... lol

But hey! Your vocals turned out well and nice lyrics haha xD;;;

sandlot said...

LOL! Not bad!!!! The lyrics are really great... maybe it's time to give up this medical business and become a lyricist instead.

btw. there are tons of words that rhyme with blog... as we discussed before.

Teddy said...

lmao good job. next time we expect a video clip not just audio

Kushima said...

Haha you've raised the bar for yourself again Andy! But this is so original and awesome - I approve :D

shirls said...

Excellent work!!! I thoroughly enjoyed that :)

a_ndy said...

Thanks for all the encouragement and for not calling me out on my vocals.

@J-Rock: Dream on... I'll take you down any day.

@Joyce: I won't lie. I can hear the whip cracking.

@Sandlot: Yes, there are words that rhyme with blog. Sadly, words like Chohog are not particularly useful.