21 December 2009

Music by Daniel J Hay...

I've installed PodBean podcasting service so that I can selectively put my compositions on my blog page. I don't know if I want to try and squeeze it into the FaceBook and MySpace pages or not. I may add it to some of my personal websites later. But for now, these are somewhat like sneak previews.

This first PodBean driven playback is Susan's Concerto: for English Horn, Bassoon, and Violin.

Although I have performed many of my solo works the only chamber piece ever performed to date is the Two Flutes and A Cello I mentioned in an earlier blog posting. Of the 300+ pieces lost in Hurrican Katrina in 2005 most had been choral pieces and a good number had been performed.

Among the many tasks I have assigned myself, which includes writing more childrens stories and getting them published, and composing more music, I wish to get my music published. To do so I am squeezing time in on preparing collections for print and CD. The ones featured on my blog, PeriODDically... will be part of that process.

I am interested in forming or working with one or more chamber groups to get my works performed. Currently in the northern portion of California, I could be available locally. Or, perhaps something could be arranged for long distant contact.

18 December 2009

(Book) -- The Lost Lullaby...

(Sneak preview...seeking publisher...excerpt...send links to friends...by Daniel J Hay.)

Once upon a time...(You know all the best stories start out this way. Just say, “Once upon a time,” and your story is off to a good start.)...

So...once upon a time there was a lullaby sitting in a meadow of wild flowers. She was watching a Lady Bug. First the Lady Bug crawled up a flower stem. Then she crawled across a leaf and onto a pretty yellow flower. She stopped there, to eat her lunch, and noticed Lullaby sitting across from her.

“Well, well, a lullaby,” she said after politely swallowing her salad. “What are you doing here? I have already had my nap. It is not time for my children to go 'nite nite' yet.”

Lullaby said, in a thin and quavering voice, “I don't know where I am. Nobody has called for me in a very long time.” She paused, took a very deep breath, and added, “I think I have been lost.”

“Dear, dear,” Lady Bug declared. “All mothers know a lullaby. Somewhere a mother knows your song. Maybe you just need to visit the mothers so they don't forget.”

“But I don't know where I am. I don't know where to go,” moaned Lullaby.

“My, my, little Lullaby, you are in the wild flower meadow. I think you should follow the path to the house. Check with the mother. All mothers have children. Surely they need a lullaby.

Lullaby looked happy with that idea. Smiling, she thanked Lady Bug and started down the path. After a few steps she turned and waved, saying, “Bye!”

“Bye, bye” Lady Bug sang back. And then Lady Bug crawled under a leaf and disappeared from sight.

The path seemed longer and longer with every step she took. Lullaby could not see a house but eventually she came to a large pond. There were cattails sticking up and dogwoods leaning down at the water's edge. Feeling tired Lullaby sat down on a rock that tilted towards the water. Not far away she could hear birds singing in the trees.

“Maybe I should go ask the birds for directions,” she said in a tired voice.

“Are you speaking to me?” A great big green nose poked up out of the water. “Ribbit,” croaked the frog behind the nose.

Lullaby tumbled backwards in fright at the sudden appearance of Frog. “Oh my, you sacred me,” she gasped.

“Ribbibbit...so sorry. Nobody seems to see me until I speak. I was right here when you sat down. I thought you were talking to me. Please sit down and share my rock.”

Grateful for a place to rest, Lullaby sat down and Frog hopped up next to her. He blinked a great big eyelid at her and asked, “Where are you going?”

“Oh, I'm looking for a house with a mother. I am a lullaby, but I think I have been lost.”

“Well you aren't lost now, ribbitt, but even daddy frog's know lullabies. I'm sorry, but I don't think this is where you need to be. You could ask the birds, I guess, but they are tucking their babies in their nests for naps. You can hear them singing lullabies right now.”

Sure enough, Lullaby could hear mother birds singing lullabies to baby birds. “Frog, do you know where the house is?”  ..... (the rest is hidden in the book...)

15 December 2009

(Book) -- Pooka's Story...

(Sneak preview...seeking publisher...excerpt...send links to friends...by Daniel J Hay.)

The story about Pooka is very, very long. It is so long that you do not have time to listen to it unless this is Wednesday. This story takes many, many pages to make into a book. In fact, her story is so long that I know you won't listen to all of it. So, I am not going to tell you her story.

Nope. Not at all. I absolutely refuse to tell you that Pooka was a puppy with a special name. You can look for Pooka in that big book of words that tells you what words mean. Go ahead. Do it. I don't have the time to tell you Pooka means "animal spirit". When you see who used that word you will know it was a special word.

Since you won't listen to this story why should I tell you that she got her name because her heart didn't pump when she was born. Oh, and her lungs didn't give her air. And, her people were very sad.

You are not reading the book so you won't know that the house cats meowed at her. Pooka didn't hear them. Her mommy nudged her and she didn't nudge back. Her oldest and older brothers whined. Her younger and youngest brothers were waiting their turn to be born. But mommy was sad. Her people were sad. Even the cats were sad.

Of course you aren't sad because have not heard this story. You have not read the book because it is so very long. Suddenly people-daddy thought of something and you don't know what he thought. While you are ignoring this long story the people family took the tiny bundle of black fur and wrapped her in a towel.

They rubbed her briskly and vigorously just like a person drying their hair. Daddy breathed into Pooka's nose, "Puff, puff, puff." They tapped a finger over her heart, "Tap, tap, tap." In a few minutes she open her mouth and whined. She wiggled a paw. She was waving at her people and asking for warm milk. Soon she was tucked into the blankets with brothers and mommy.

Did you have to use the big word book to look up some of these words? Oh, I forgot, you aren't reading this story because it is so very long. You might not even know that there are words to be learned.

After a while all the people were sure that Pooka was warm and snoozing. They could see her lungs were working and could feel her little heart pumping very strongly. They kept her tucked into the blankets with her puppy family. Mommy kissed her over and over. Brothers rolled over and went to sleep.

If I was not trying to make this long story short I would tell you that this is how she got her name. She has a very special spirit inside of her.

Many pages and a great amount of ink were required to tell this part of Pooka's story. I am not going to waste more paper and ink. This is a very long story. You are not reading it so I can skip all of the long parts. You won't miss them anyway, right?

In the long story book I would have to tell you that Pooka had a very special mommy. Her mommy told her stories about her people. Pooka knew that mommy was named Kita. When they asked her if she liked that name she wagged her tail and yipped in agreement. Besides, the people name didn't really matter to her because she knew her puppies would always call her mommy.

Do you know that in the long story I would tell you about Pooka's brothers? I could tell you their names. Each of the four had white fur of different length than his brothers. They could have been named Longest Fur, Long Fur, Short Fur, and Shortest Fur. But they weren't. That would be ridiculous so none of them were named Fur. In the middle was Pooka with her black fur. This book is to long to spell out her brothers' names.
After a few weeks of warm milk Pooka had a big little tummy. She could sit up and look like a grizzly bear except that her ears flop over. Mommy's ears stand up. Brothers' ears stand up. Pooka's ears flop.

Yes, I know, the story is already to long to be telling you about ears. Pooka's ears do flop. When she runs they flop. Do your ears flop? Silly question to ask somebody who is not reading this story. Sorry. I'll go back to making this a short story.

Puppies grow faster than people children. Soon they get older and need their own new people families to play with. Sometimes they get to be pets and sometimes they get to work with their family of people.
Kita was a breed that protected people from little creatures and big insects ................. (the rest is hidden in the book...)

13 December 2009

Half A Can...

A few weeks back, not too many, I purchased a 24-can pack of soda (pop). It's not something I do often because I know that if I have it I'll drink it. As fate will have it, since obviously my own will power has nothing to do with it, such a purchase never lasts as long as I convince myself it will.

"Wow, 24 cans for $6.00. Hmm... that will last me a month or more," says I to self. Myself agrees with me and quick as a flash the package is in my cart, to the registers, and out the door.

Then, it sits there next to the table for a few days as I school myself to ignore it in preparation for stretching the life of the unopened box, and extending the time frame where there will still be unopened cans. A month I said, and any mature adult can stick to such plans.

It is a good thing that I don't have to claim to be a mature adult. I won't even have to explain why. Sure, the box got opened too soon, and the drinks got drunk too quickly, and less than two weeks later there was only one can in the box. I reached for it, grabbed it, and then let out a cry of anguish. I know, I know, some of you would have let out a blue streak, but I didn't. It was more along the lines of "Ahhhcckk!"

Now that ack sound is reserved for one can being sticky from having somehow sprung a leak. Or at least in the past such an ack would have sufficed for a can in that condition. In this case I should have used half an ack, as in "Ahck!" for there was only half a can in the box. Yes, the top half of the can was there, but the bottom was missing.

A bit on the strange side of things I'd say. Should I return it to the store, or call the producer and threaten a large settlement lawsuit for having upset my mental balance? Ah the money sounds good. So I went for the money.

Yep, at $6.00 each can of drink cost me $.25 (not counting the sales tax) plus the CA CRV $.05 fee to make me take the empties to the recycle center to get a nickel back. I went for the big money. I wanted that nickle back. So I took it to the recycle place and they refused my nickel because the half can was not a can and therefore could only be scrap metal at about $.01 a pound (or pretty near to that price.)

They wouldn't accept my plea that the can obviously was worth the nickel because it had never been opened. The tab was still flat, the hole still sealed. It even bore the CA CRV enstamped  to indicate it is worth a nickel. Drat, I shouldn't have gone for the quick money I should have asked the store for a refund and then offered the can on ebay since the missing edge did sort of kind of look a bit like a religious icon facing an Elvis icon, and used that for proof of its existence, to sue the producer for millions of dollars. I guess I feared that officially they would discover I was housing a newly discovered metal eating termite.

Instead I stealthily slid the partial can over the bottom of another can and held up one red can top and said "One." With sleight of foot I bumped the basket to make it sound like I dropped in the red can, and with sleight of hand I flipped it and showed the attendant a black can and said, "Two." With more sleight of foot I banged the basket in a tumble while dropping the can in, and it swirled away into the mass of other cans. Then I said, "ten cents, please."

I slipped my new dime into my pocket, walked back to my truck and drove the return 38 miles, changed one flat tire, and got home in time to pop a cork for dinner.

12 December 2009

Veteran and Humane Care...

One of my contacts has a contact that I thought I recalled having seen and/or photographed so I clicked on the button to view their profile. From the picture I couldn't be sure if I had or if I had not met or photographed them, but I noticed where they worked.

I am moved, deeply moved, by human care of animals -- and more so by our mistreatment of them. It bothers me a lot.

So I sent the following mesage because this person works at an important humane care facility. A new friend I hoped, and that was based upon the pet theory that my dogs have always upheld. If they like somebody then I'll probably like them. If they mistreat my dogs I don't feel inclined to respect them or include them in my biosphere. Well, being a friend of a friend, and being friended by animals she is befriending, should be a pretty good vote of confidence. Now I haven't mentioned her name because I didn't ask her to let me write this. But some of you know her and if you don't you can choose any humane society individual to befriend.

Anyway, long winded that I am, here is my message to her:

"As a veteran, this past year I've been thanked by a number of people for serving. Its good that the current new vets are thanked although I wonder why it took so long to remember the other vets.

However, I wanted to thank you for taking care of those animals that have often seen the bad side of humanity. Please tell your co-workers that many of us are thankful because there was nothing else we could do to help.

When the police in Fort Worth told me there was nothing they could do about the man beating his dog I was shocked. I hope that the good you and others in humane care can do outweighs the evil of so many pet owners.

Again, thanks."

And in response I got a great note when all I was seeking was to add a worthy friend link. She replied:

"First off, Thank You for your service. I am a former Marine Reservist and my father was a Disabled American Veteran in the Air Force.

Secondly, thank you again. It is folks like you that keep folks like me doing what we are doing. Some days it seems we are outnumbered and overwhelmed, but we continue to preach animal welfare and responsible pet ownership. I believe education is the key. Yes, there are those out there that will abuse an animal just because, but there are more that do it unwittingly... They just don't know any better.

There are laws that need to be changed and updated and made easier to enforce, and that is where we need to start.

Thank you again for your support and well wishes. It makes it easier to do what we do knowing we have people behind us!"

You may note that I only told her I was a veteran. I didn't mention that I am a disabled veteran and that I served in the Air Force. That, to me, is some coincidence. You may ask why I even mentioned that in the first place?

I find it easier to write things even in messages that have lead-in to the topic. Even more so, if the reader is a stranger or an unknown recipient. It sets up a comparison that can be related to. In this instance that opening comparitive subject just happens to fit her father, and herself.

So this total blog is not about Veteran Care as some may have expected. That in itself is a touchy subject. Nor is it about just Humane Care. But, after I got her response I realized that I had material for a blog that could touch on two subjects I favor.

One, the longer our military personel are out and away the lower our national respect and concern gets for those individuals. And as many of us know, in previous military clashes our veterans were ignored, disdained, and sometimes forgotten. This time they aren't. Not YET. Please don't forget what they serve nor forget that they do serve.

Two, the many shelters and humane care facilities in our country are often understaffed, and under funded. Animals under human control can suffer many of the same mental and emotional traumas that we humans do. They also suffer physically from mistreatment. Be sure to have all pets spayed/neutered. And remember that you can help with even the smallest donation of money or time.

So two birds in the bush with this blog and now you can listen to them sing.

11 December 2009

Nutritional Data (for real)...

Do you read the label on the food products you buy? They put them there to help us help ourselves stay healthy. What you find on some of them should warn you off of ingesting the contents, but most people glance at part of the label and then just chomp chomp or chug chug.

At the bottom of this blurb there is a link to an intriguing site about nutrition. Why would I have an interest in nutrition? Well its actually three fold, or maybe only two fold with a twist or an extra wrinkle. Maybe there are no folds which certainly is best for my waist, right?

In 2004 I was diagnosed with diabetes which as we all know is a metabalic disorder characterized by abnormally high glucose levels in the blood. Yeah, the blood sugar stuff. As a matter of fact my glucose level was so high it was off the emergency room's meter, off the hospital lab's test chart, and had to be diluted to come to a number. Whew....and I was laying on the bed in a flimsy robe in a freezing exam room suffering severe cramping in the bottoms of my feet while they tried to figure that out.

Hence I had a thirteen hour overnighter at the hotel Hospital. In that time they ran three insulin IV bags through me, gave me several handfuls of little tables, and not only injected me in the ole tum tum, but had me inject me in the ole tum tum every two hours.

Then they sent me home because I had no insurance and told me how to take the pills and change my diet. BOOM! instant diet change. Two years later, after numerous evaluations I was told I did not have diabetes.

Now, either the first diagnosis was wrong or the second set was wrong. I don't have diabetic symptoms any more, but I used to. Am I cured? Its a miracle! Its my guess I was, am, are, is, borderline diabetic so I continue to stay fairly faithful to my diet. "Faithful" brings up another topic that I'm not going to bring up. And I'm not going to tell you all about my diet either.

I'm going to tell you why I'm even discussing this. You see, one thing I did was immediately switch to a grain/seed breakfast nearly every morning. And, I'm nearing production of this particular mixture for resale. So there is a reason to be tellling you about it, and about the nutritional webpage I started out leading you with. You can order Daniel's Power Cereal at http://bit.ly/6dEWto .

That page is loaded with the nutritional details of so many things that it will be odd for you to try one that they a haven't compiled. Wanna go see? Of course you do. Just visit http://www.nutritiondata.com/ and know that I am not associated with them in any manner. (Isn't that how you state there is no financial gain for me to have you go there?) Go ahead, try Alfalfa Seed. Yes, of course, you've always wanted to know the nutritional value of that tiny little seed that grows up to be cut down and bound into bales for feedinf four legged farm critters.

Not only will they have the food-label style of information but they have wonderful color charts of the values for most foods and ingredients. I've checked all the ingredients of my Power Ceral mix and got information on most of them. I didn't find any complete data on Flax Seed or Hemp Seed, but there is info on Flax in other forms.

So what is this Power Cereal mix? Its my own personal blending that I eat nearly every morning and is about as quick to fix as instant oatmeal. Oatmeal is good for you, you know, but my blend is even better, and you can always add the oatmeal to it. How's that for a useful product?

I'm not going to tell you, dear reader, (Like that personal touch?) the exact ingredients and quanity of each here because that would be, well, just giving it all away. But I am going to try and sell by mail-order, fairly soon so you'll probably see an announcement flash by -( see announcement flashing by? )- and then you can take a look yourself.

The twofold and threefold mentioned are that I lost 30 pounds in the first six months of my diet change. That change was only three things, my ceral mix most mornings, no fast food meals, and no more sugar in most instances. I wobble in my keeping to the no sugar and no fast food meals, but still, almost six years later, stick to my cereal. Yeah for me!

If you have health problems - FIX your diet.

( This blog edited 12/13/2009 to include links to Daniel's Power Cereal at http://bit.ly/6dEWto )

09 December 2009

Plumber For A Day...

If you have read my blogs you will recall that I am not a mechanic. I do well with tools but don't know a motor from an engine.

Unfortunately for me, plumbing is a similar category. Again, the tools are no problem and I have most of what I need. However, spending a couple of hours bent over working on frozen pipes, or on my knees repairing somebody's haphazard under-sink work leads to a severe increase in the pain level of this body.

It isn't a bad body for a 52 yr old with years of accidents and worn joints. And it was never a bad body, just average physically and not pro-sports. It has had its moments. Good moments. I ignore the bad moments.

Back in North Warren Regional High School I was on the wrestling team. Most times I was JV because I couldn't beat long legged Ralph and his long legs during the weekly wrestle-off for the Varsity spot. He was just probably better than me, but I did wrestle varsity in one very important match. Before I can go on about plumbing I just have to relate this match.

Ralph didn't make weight the night we wrestled Belvidere (I think). He was a few pounds over, or sick, or maybe he didn't want to face the undefeated state champion. I can't remember his name, and I should because he went to Blair for a post-grad year. I'm sure I met him on the mat again during my short-lived Blair wrestling career. But its been more than 30 years and I have forgotten some details of those ages. (If somebody can refresh my memory I'll edit this and correct it.)

Anyway, Ralph didn't make weight and I was moved to the Varsity team. This was only my second year of wrestling. Just a mere sophomore. Suddenly I was matched to the undefeated state champ who was a senior with many years of experience including preschool, gradeschool, junior high and high school, and dozens of wrestling camps.

He was good. I didn't win. He was very good. And, although I lost on score, I was not PINNED by the state champ. A proud yet somber moment for me.

I remember being stuck in a back-bridge unable to see anything except one light on the ceiling and the time clock ticking down from 1:04 in the third and final round.
Tick...tick...tick......tick...........tick...............tick and each moment took longer and longer.
He was unable to break my bridge, you know with feet on the mat, bent over backwards to top of head on the mat, twisting and turning trying to toss him off, trying to stay up so he couldn't get my shoulders down on the mat.

The referee warned him about delaying, and I think I got a point on the second warning...but that could just be wishful thinking. Eventually the time ran out before I collapsed. He had the win. He was still undefeated. I was JUST a two year JV wrestler that he couldn't pin.

This was the only match my father ever attended. And there was a very cute girl on the cheer leader squad that I wanted to ask to the next dance. (She also later attended Blair Academy.)

So why tell you about this? Because it is proof that the old body was never that bad, and still isn't all that bad. Yet, bending over working on rusted, corroded pipes behind the tub, or kneeling and working on fouled up plastic pipes under a sink -- they just don't fit me.

However, the work got completed. The leaks are gone and everybody is happy except for my back, my neck, my knees, my knuckles, and my pet gorilla.

Uh, sorry, there is no pet gorilla. And there was no plumber's crack either. So the body is still holding up even when I have to be the plumber for the day...

08 December 2009

Twitterbration With Milla Jovovich...

It's December 8th, 2009 and the followers of the Milla Jovovich tweet have surpassed 100,000 individuals. In celebration Milla and her tweet friends held a celebration that may last for 24 hours.

As part of the celebration everybody is asked to donate to one of two charities. A dollar each would be great for the them. And if you are not able to do so, just do something nice for somebody. Its a great idea and I'm proud to have followed along - how about you.

You can follow Milla's tweet thread at @millajovovich and join in the cheers, the fun, and pass along a few bucks to charities. As Milla's tweet said, "i'm going to make my donation now to both batteredmother.org and savethechildren.org hope u can donate to 1 of them as well!" And bear in mind that Milla and friends planned this while she has been on a movie shoot.

To the best of my understanding Milla is not associated with either organization, and in fact asked for suggestions. A great many people made suggestions and did some research and these two were chosen as part of the ongoing Twitterbration. However, if you have a favorite please do donate to it. It is hoped that with over 100,000 followers making donations right now that a substantial amount of donated funds will become available to these organizations.

Lastest word in the tweet is that PayPal seemed to be down. Hmmmm.... an overload of donators?

And here is a link to a video Milla upload with thanks to all the followers who donated. http://twitvid.com/5F16D

06 December 2009

Lemon Squeezed...

What do you do with a blog posting that is empty and won't allow itself to be deleted?

Apply lemon juice to it.

Exactly! Since it was seen as place holder with no text in it and obviously was a mistake glaring with strobic effect, the solution is to Edit It Into Lemonade. This particular blog entry is now being squeezed and twisted, juiced out, and teased into something fruitful.

This container is now filled with something useful instead of just announcing to the world that it was a mistake. Now it is sweetened to taste and can be poured into your routine with some assurance of sparking a smile or chuckle.

By the time you see this posting it has undergone a unique metamorphosis. It is no longer a creepy-crawly bug-like burp on the screen. With this final sentence it takes wings and flies in gentle spirals to its rightful position within the blog as an acceptable entry.

(Book) -- Henny Penny the Singing Rooster...

(Sneak preview...seeking publisher...excerpt...send links to friends...by Daniel J Hay.)

Once upon a time, a very long time ago, there was a chicken named Henny Penny. She thought the sky was falling and began a long journey to go tell the king about the falling sky. Of course, she was mistaken as you can clearly see. Go outside and see if the sky has fallen.

It hasn't.

However, this is not the story of Henny Penny of "the sky is falling" fame. No. Not her. This is the story of somebody else who just happened to have the same name. Yes. It is the story of Henny Penny. (Remember, this is a different Henny Penny. Okay?)

Now, since Henny Penny didn't live a very long time ago we have to start the story over. So...

Once upon a time there was a rooster with a magical voice. His name was Henny Penny. It is true that most of his friends thought his name was really the name of a hen, but since his parents gave him the name, well then, it must be a name for a rooster. People who came to visit at the farm where he lived might laugh at his name, but once he stood up and fluffed his gleaming feathers out, puffed up his chest and sang ?awk-a-doodle-doo? at them they stopped laughing.

Everybody praised Famer Dan for his wonderful rooster. The first awk-a-doodle-doo they heard caused them to admire the handsome Henny Penny. Why, if Henny Penny had been a king they would have bowed to him. Many people came just to hear Henny Penny singing his rooster song.

That's right, his rooster song. If you ask around you will find that most people say roosters crow. That just isn't right. Roosters are not crows. Maybe some roosters sing so poorly that people think they sound like crows, but not Henny Penny. In fact, Henny Penny had blue ribbons and gold medals from many contests because he sang so well. So, no, he didn't crow, he sang.

If you remember, we said that Henny Penny was a rooster with a magical voice. When he sang at contests and sang to the visitors at Farmer Dan's farm he didn't use his magic voice. The magic was very special and had to be saved for his job.

Yes, roosters have jobs. They are supposed to sing every morning and every evening so that all the animals and all the people on the farm know when to wake up, and when to go to sleep. Some people use an alarm clock to wake up and then just guess when to go to sleep. But all the best farms use rooster song. And at Farmer Dan's farm they used Henny Penny songs. They did not know that his song was magical but they knew he had a very fine awk-a-doodle-doo. Just ask anybody ................. (the rest is hidden in the book...)

05 December 2009

Naming Music...

When I start composing a piece of music it usually is because there is a melodic phrase POUNDING between my ears. Most instances there is no name for that music so the piece gets started with a number as the file name.

When I switched to using Finale for scoring I started using Opus numbers so that I would have a convenient way of naming files. Up until Hurricane Katrina I had just over 300 pieces of handwritten music stored in my lockable file box. When the box was stolen I started numbering at 313 to be sure there was no overlap of the earlier pieces. There was a slim hope that the filebox would be recovered and I didn't want to renumber later. I actually think 307 was the last piece prior to Katrina, but the memory is questionable.

I have recovered the first and second pieces I wrote. They were both written at Blair Academy. "The Hermit" for Oboe and Strings has never been performed although the computer playback is great. "Two Flutes and a Cello" was performed at Blair by myself and classmates Louise Ewing and Donald Blocker. (I have mentioned this before.) At least a few of our classmates were actually at the Headmaster's home for that performance. Not an exciting name for the piece, but it certainly was descriptive. As a tidbit, the only other piece I have written which is named for the instruments it uses is "Trombone and Timpani, with Piano and Strings".

Three other pieces, "Sarah's Trumpet," "Horn March," and "Brash Brass" have different stories. Both Sarah's and Horn were written for Recorder although the Sarah in question was actually a trumpet player and both are now stored on my computer with brass voices instead of Recorder. Brash Brass is an eighteen-voice brass piece that was written for a Dallas Symphony contest but due to illness was not completed in time to meet the deadline.

Names for my music generally come to me as I am completing the work, or later when I am rehearsing it. Some of my music has remained numbered and hence, unnamed, for years until the feeling that I knew the name I wanted came over me.

On the other hand, I do have pieces that are named from their very first note. Some of these are the four piece Blue Ridge Mountains Water Music, Sorcha Lawhir, and Shasta Snow Light. At a guess I would say that maybe 30-35% of my music compositions start out with names.

On the other hand, some are actually renamed because the music evolved as it was being written from the concept the name originally portrayed. Some had names applied for competitions and then renamed when I didn't win, and others get renamed to fit or to honor individuals such as "Susan's Concerto" for Englilsh Horn, Bassoon and Violin or "Bodil Diesen" who is the maker of two of my Recorders. And a few still bear the "Ode" titles with a number because I couldn't remember the original purpose of the music.

So is there an art to naming music? Most assuredly, but it is exercised differently for each composer. As a larger portion of my works are for solo performance it would be repetitive to name the piece for the type and number of instruments. Just a number for a name doesn't feel right to me. But still, at times the name is nothing more than a convention because it gets attached to the music that has been struggling to get out of my head.

One thing I promised myself was to never name a piece for the key it was written in. As an example, consider a Dance in A-minor; once it get's transposed it is no longer a Dance in the original key. So at least I have one restriction in my naming process even if the others all more closely follow gut reaction.

04 December 2009

Submitting Query To...

The process of submitting email query letters to literary agents or publishers is just as fraught with potholes as is the snail mail process. I have to say I don't enjoy getting rejections, but then, who does.

Some of the agents/publishers make good use of the email process while others seem to have that process glued down to the stack of snail mail piled in the corner.

As an avid researcher, digging and delving into every topic that interests me I do watch a FEW blogs. Too many of them would be way to much information, tiring, and ultimately both boring and a waste of productive time.

One blog I watch is that of Nathan Bransford of Curtis Brown, Ltd. After having determined that Nathan was a good potential literary agent for my Grandpa Jester story I sent the email query.

Sadly, Nathan didn't feel the way about Grandpa Jester as I thought he might. So, I received another rejection notice. However, I must say that he has what appears to be a nice way of handling it and does not ramble on about how the story doesn't fit the genre, or the author should have paid attention to the categories this agent is interested in, yada yada yada.

Nathan merely thanked me for submitting. And then excused himself as not thinking he was the best agent for my work. Although this query led to another plodding step, it does put me closer to publication because I now have one less agent/publisher to go through -- therefore, I must be closer to finding the correct one.

Whoppeeee! Uh, sorry about that. Did you feel the tension release? Okay then, back to the writing, the reading, the joy, the fun, SNAP... ooops my pen broke.

03 December 2009

Henny Penny...

We had a rooster named Henny Penny when my children were young. He would dance around your feet, drag a wing like he was injured, and if ignored would bat your legs with his "injured" wings until you picked him up. He liked to be hugged and would tuck his head under my beard and go to sleep.

I remember this because I was given an idea to write a story. The idea came from a friend to whom I was telling about the rooster in my story The Lost Lullaby. So I did research on Henny Penny and learned that the oldest stories about Henny Penny came from a time when he was a hare, or a rabbit. But the stories in England were of a hen named Henny Penny, also known as Chicken Little.

I have lost a great many of my memories but they tend to come back when jarred loose by similar thoughts, or hands on experience, etc... It is difficult at times to feel normal. Heck it is down right nerve wracking, but as with all problems it is something to overcome and to deal with.

Back to the friend and The Lost Lullaby... she suggested I expand on the rooster. She then told me about the rooster they'd had (until recently) named Henry. So off I go working on a new story...

This story is about a grumpy rooster who won't let anybody go to sleep because he doesn't want them to know he can no longer wake them up. I chose to use the name Henny Penny even though most people expect that to be a woman's name, err... a hen's name.

Since I am actively trying to get my books published via traditional publishers, via literary agents to them, and by author paid publishing, I think I'll take this story and run a different route and use Print On Demand.

That would give me three channels of potential publication. It is also one of the channels I am perusing for publication of my music. (Arrrggghhh, got a reject notice today on the music.)

Factoid: In some areas chickens were known to have gold in their crops. Yepper, tiny little Chicken Nuggets.

30 November 2009

(Book) - A Castle and Giant Rings...

(Sneak preview...seeking publisher...excerpt...send links to friends...by Daniel J Hay.)

Once upon a time, in a small town, lived two friends. A girl and a boy...

You knew this story had to start with “Once upon a time.” It just had to. There really is no other way for a really first-rate story to get started. In fact, it is so important that we better do it again.

“Once upon a time, in a small town, lived two friends.”

Well they didn't really live in a town. They lived in what might be called a village, or maybe a hamlet. You see, there were exactly three houses on the road where they lived. Two roads, actually. One went west and east, and the other went south.

So, on the south road lived a very poor goldsmith. Also on the south road, facing across the road lived a very poor blacksmith. One worked with gold. The other worked with iron. On the north road that ran west and east, but facing south, and just across the road from where the north road really went south between the home of the goldsmith and the home of the black, stood the other home. Perhaps home is not accurate. It was, you see, and perhaps still is, an old, yet beautiful, castle. An empty castle.

Now, in once upon a time stories friends are truly friends forever. Not so for the blacksmith's daughter and the goldsmith's son. They fought all the time. They yelled at each other and promised to never speak again. One such promise worked for an entire three days. Normally they would be meeting again by the next day. And often they were only mad until after lunch. It is hard to stay mad at the only other person you have to play with.

What usually got them mad was when one decided they were boss because they were older. And in fact, they never knew who was oldest. Their birthdays were the same day of the same week of the same year. And in this story their births are so important that we just have to tell the story. So...

Once upon a time...two mothers were expecting the births of their children. They suspected the babies would be born at very nearly the same day. Being the only two women................. (the rest is hidden in the book...)

27 November 2009

Publishing Hopes...

I have a rather long list of children's book titles to which I am seeking receptive publishers. This is a time consuming process and can only be handled in stages. Right now I am shopping three of my titles to both literary agents and publishers.

Wanting to speed up the process I have completed months of digging and delving research on alternate ways of publishing. Print-on-demand (POD), eprint, vanity press, full press but no marketing, etc... I have chosen DragonPencil Press as my best alternate solution because they have well structured process from design, illustration, editing, printing, warehousing, marketing.  Yet, it is costly.

Would you be interested in helping? Ah, the pitch, here it comes... but first let me ask another question. You know all the producers and directors you see listed on movie credits (do you read them)? Some of them are only listed because they put up money. They do so, of course for the clout but with the intention of making a profit off of the film.

Would you be interested in helping publish? What it means is that you make an investment in my publishing effort. In return I will list you in the book as an Associate Publisher, or Assistant Associate Publisher, or Assistant Publisher. The level, and the size and prominence of the type used on your name, would depend upon your investment amount. You would be in the credits.

Your return?  Of course there is no way to guarantee the total return and like any investment it could be a loss. What I can guarantee is that you will recieve a prorated share of 50% of the proceeds again based upon your portion of the investment for that book. You will continue receiving your share from any reprint runs until you have received your investment plus 12%. Although your name will always be in future reprints, your return ends on whichever run completes after hitting your minimum. You might make more if that run is large. It is simple but must be considered a high risk.

Details... I have chosen DragonPencil because of the entire process and quality of product. Publishing is not cheap. These are hard cover books, with or without Read Along CDs. The cost varies from title to title based upon things such as word count, page count, illustration counts, marketing plan, number of books printed, etc... I am going to choose three titles to work with but only one at a time. Their entry onto the market will be timed only by available funding assistance.

How much? The first title has an estimate of $11,000-$13,000. Therefore I am going to ask for assistance in a total of $13,000 but will accept it in increments from many people or larger increments from only a few, or even one sole investor. Your choice of amount. When the total is reached I send it off to press. If enough funds are made available I will do up to three titles in this manner.

Added benefits... I will continue pursuing the Grandpa Jester series of four books with lit agents and publishers. Each publishing pathway will enrich the other. Being in print either way supports the titles of any publishing method. Showing that one title sells well is an added consideration for the large publishing houses. DragonPencil is part of Whimsical which includes Big Tent Books and Castlebridge Books. Since I am still seeking big house publishing, and expect that will happen one day, I will tag 25% of any royalties earned off of any other title published and use it to speed along your investment return.

If you are interested in this project please contact me at danielhay@gmail.com and we will arrange funds and a letter of agreement.

26 November 2009

Why Giving Thanks...

Giving thanks is often forgotten in Thanksgiving.

As with all holidays many people forget the reason behind it and dote on their comfort and enjoyment. It is great to have family gathered, to enjoy extra special foods, to be off work perhaps, to relax...

Relax! What... who is getting to relax. For every holiday parts of the family are working harder and with much less thanks for the effort than they generally do. Do we remember them and make an extra effort to let them know. Do we let them know they are appreciated with more than just saying, "That was very good."

The labor in celebrating should be as shared as the euphoria in enjoying. The holiday should be shared not just partaken of. The appreiciation should be remembered throughout the year.

While we are enjoying the fruits of somebody's labor, perhaps our own, are we remembering the reason for the holiday? Are we thinking of those who can not enjoy the holiday? Do we recall that there are many who no longer have a family to celebrate with, those who are unable to find their families, those beyond holiday reach?

As you share your holiday spirit with your family remember those who have no way to share. Remember that there are many who are lonely, struggling, or remote. Make an effort year long to share with them as well. A little bit multiplied by often and many can make a great effect.

25 November 2009

Inept Mechanic...

If you are like me and inept at auto mechanics you should take heart at my success. I've learned that my old truck is a Slant 6, 225, 3.7 with a single barrel Holley Carb (now that I installed it). It claims to be a Dodge Ram 100 better known as a D100. Says so right on the side of the truck with a fancy chrome name plate that says Ram 100 Custom.

Whoa... the VIN plate translation claims that it is a D150. Hmmm.... it is a 1984 but usually we can't find parts for it that match unless they are for a 1983 or a 1986. It was one of the early models that included an Engine Control Computer unit that hangs on the side of the air cleaner housing. Nobody seems to be able to get a replacement for mine so I had to retrofit my truck to match a 1973 system.

I have rerouted wires, removed vacuum hoses, plugged hoses, installed an older distributor, replaced my ignition coil, installed a resistor on the firewall (virus not included), snipped and capped this wire and that wire, pulled plugs, taped every which way. I  hooked springs back up to the new replacement carburetor and generally fumed with busted knuckles and nails torn to the quick.

However, a generous pumping of the accelerator pedal and a simple turn of the key was responded with the truck perking up and saying, "Oh, you want me to start?" And then it did. It started.

All this has been a very long process, since way back when I bought it last year. And I, the inept mechanic, have finally got it running and only a few rather mild choice words were ever employed. I didn't even break my foot with a swift kick to the truck's ribs.

I'll still call it "Beastly" in anticipation of the next set of problems to overcome but now with less rancor and more affection. It is now my blood, sweat, and tears I get to drive around in.

The Blog Path...

When I canceled my Anon Blogs and began this one I didn't think I would update it more than once every blue moon. I hadn't updated the blog on MySpace in at least three blue moons so why would this be any different. I don't really enjoy writing odd-bits on either it or Facebook. And just now I think I realized that the clutter bothers me, the screen noise irritates me, and I feel like I'm being watched very closely.

A Blair classmate, Les Oakes, did remind me that I am indeed being watched. So off I went to my new blogspot and began entries. Now I find that it is only my own words in front of me while my fingers dance around the keyboard. I have no interruptions to trains of thought other than the music roiling between my ears.

I had a blog on Word Press under a name I don't want to reuse. I tried to rename it but they don't allow changing the account name that matches to your email address. They told me to go into the old account and change the email address and after it is verified then I could open a new blog account with my email address. Yep! Only problem is that I only have one email address and I'm not going to bother to get a new one just to fake out their computer. In fact, they should not be telling us how to fake them in the first place. Duh!

So I just stay here and explore thoughts and polish words so that they shine as bright as the lights I envision. I struggle daily, hourly, with music pounding in my head clashing with stories trying to get out. Sometimes I
 succeed in calming them by getting one of the works into the computer where it quietly awaits the interest of a publisher. And even though I thought I wouldn't be writing much in the blog doing so seems to act like a pressure valve venting explosively with steam. Surprisingly, instead of loosing the thoughts and forms it feels like what is formulating is doing so with more precision.

This funneling has provided me with some peace of mind as well. In just the short life of this blog, and of the twitter stream, I've made more progress on other works besides my childrens stories and my music composition. In fact, when I figured out how to set up both the blog and the twitter posts on the same page I actually felt like an accomplished web author. Of course, partial success could be rewarded with publisher contracts, but that is still to come.

Those of you who find me on MySpace or FaceBook get the twitter stream automatically. In fact, you may never get to the blog page here. I am not writing either for you. I am writing them for myself only. I narrate to an invisible audience, I know, and I see some of them float in and then float out far quicker than a reading should allow. (Seeing them floating means they are not so invisible.)

At least here I can reaffirm to myself that I am. I am a composer. I am a writer. I am a photographer. And when those lives don't seem full enough I enjoy pulling tiny bits of gold from large piles of rubble.

24 November 2009

Recorder Music...

When I was younger, in school in Hastings, Nebraska, I started playing Cello. The strings program there, in fact all the orchestral instruments, was fantastic. Then my family moved to New Jersey, and I had to go along with them since I was just 12-years old.

I spent two years at North Warren Regional High School. The first year I was the only string player in what was mostly a marching band that did two concerts on stage per year. I got featured in a front stage position and they taped a mic to my cello. Our band director didn't really understand strings and couldn't deign to note that I was trying to tune my cello from a string slippage. My A-string broke as I frantically tried to tune and I ended up playing the last two pieces entirely on the D string using advanced finger positions that I didn't really have mastered. Only a few people noted the difficulty, the adjustment, and the beads of sweat forming on my forehead. Two of those few were my mother and myself.

I learned to play both trombone and baritone and actually marched a few times with the band. I had tried using a wheeled device to trundle along the cello but it just wasn't successful. I wish now I had learned the flute or oboe then, or later.

Then I transferred to Blair Academy and although I still was not in a strings program I did have a private
teacher come out from NYC. I fear that teenagedness took over parts of my brain and I did not pursue my cello education as I should have -- but I did get a college scholarship on it and in voice.

While at Blair I was asked if I would join a starting Recorder Class. Ms. Kathyrn Phillips-Price, flautist, got me started on an instrument I have played ever since. In fact, even though hurricane Katrina was the indirect cause of loosing most of my music scores, and Recorders, and Cello, I still have the Soprano, Alto, and Sopranino Recorders from my Blair days. That makes a few of my instruments well over thirty years old.

Now I compose a great deal of music and much of that is for solo instruments. I started doing that because I wanted more music to play without having to buy it. On the computer I often voice them as Oboe because it sounds better, but I play most of them on Recorder. I like to think most are suitable for Cello as well and I have transposed some for Cello.

One day, perhaps, I'll begin marketing the music through a publisher. At this time I just fill an annual subscription to customers that gives them nearly everything I compose. This includes duets, trios, quartets, quintets, etc... in various instrumental groupings. Composing has become a large part of my life and I think I owe part of that to Blair and the Recorders.

So from Nebraska and my Cello, to brass and Recorders in New Jersey, there is an instrumental part of me that coincides with my vocal part. I've been in the business world and enjoyed the money but I much prefer the musical part of me, the peace within after completing a new piece of music, even if it means I join the starving artists.


Dear ol'beastly is still out of commission. That should not come as a surprise if you consider who is doing the repairs. Moi! I know a great deal about tools, but I know next to nothing about engines. When you turn the key the dang thing is supposed to run.

So I have been forced to begin learning about engines, how they work, what is bolted to mine, what it should do but doesn't do, and how much it costs to replace parts. Every Tom, Dick, and Harry has a different solution to my truck not starting when it is cool, damp, cold, wet. So far, every one of them has been wrong.

Let's not forget that they were kind enough to stop and try to help when i was stranded, each and every, very many times. And that I do thank them profusely for the efffort. One old gent (old being older than myself) stopped three different times, tried the same processes each time, and told me three different reasons for my trucks failure to be more than a mass of metal in the parking lot.

Well, anyway, today I put a replacement carb on after finally getting the correct base mounting gasket thingy-ma-jiggy. This is supposed to be the final solution. I have yet to find out, because part of this replacement
meant replacing the distributor, bypassing some vacuum hoses, replacing the ignition coil, and some electrical bypasses as well as installing some parts that weren't even in the truck before. And, I have yet to attempt the electrical stuff.

If I could make some sense of this I could possibly write a book about it so some child would know how to do what I can't figure out on my own. I have to admit dealing with beastly leaves me feeling as if I were swimming at the bottom of a quicksand pit.

23 November 2009

The Art of Women...

I ran across a blog that consists of artwork. I have always been an artist myself, only I am limited to music and literature. This blog should be shared because it is filled with powerful paintings of women painted by female artists. http://womenpaintingwomen.blogspot.com/

I once filled in for an art teacher as a substitute. I spent three days in art class. Surprisingly I learned more about creating art then than I had enjoying art in all my other years. To claim I took art class would be most misleading. I had art in school but never took an art class for very long. At North Warren Regional I did take art for a short time but then managed to weasel out of it. At Blair Academy I appreciated the results of the art students but considered myself a music student and had no time to pursue other arts.

Yet, art appreciation is important for it opens other channels in our thoughts. It gives us views that we would
 never conceive of on our own. We should always strive to improve the arts in schools; the visual arts, the aural arts, and the literary arts. By providing our young students the chance to experience arts we increase their understanding in all their other subjects.

Claiming to not be an artist would also belittle my junior high years when I did create art of my own. Down on our basement floor I used a hammer to crush rocks in baby food jar lids. Many of those rocks came from the Platte River in Nebraska. Using good ole' Elmer's Glue I would glue powerderized rock in landscapes of trees and mountains onto boards. They were much like sand paintings. I was proud of those pieces. I no longer know of what happened to those works of art, but to me they were my highpoint in artistic concepts. I can still see the beauty of those pieces within my mind's eye.

So, please, go visit the Women Painting Women blog and enjoy each woman's expression.

22 November 2009

Grandpa Jester strikes again...

Let me tell you about Grandpa Jester.

He's a bit strange although very quiet. Soft-spoken when he does speak, but generally doesn't need to say much at all. He often strokes his beard, tugs on his left ear, and nods.

Yes, he nods. He nods when making a point. He nods when answering a question with just a nod. He nods when you suddenly realize the answer to your own question.

Grandpa Jester also seems to have the inside scoop on the 1893 Storybook. He should since he gave it to his grandchild. There is something odd about that storybook. It seems to always open to the center page, and I'm not sure anybody has actually read a story from it. Instead of reading a story the owner becomes a part of the story and makes an entrance into what's happening through the closet. Yepper, the old secret
dimensional access through the closet trick, and thank you very much Maxwell Smart.

Grandpa was a Jester within the confines of the 1893 Storybook. Now he is introducing his grandchild to the denizens of literature as the next Jester. Although we tend to think of jesters as clowns, in truth, within the Storybook a Jester has to be both funny and wise. With Grandpa Jester hopping, skipping, or twirling in place, hilarity is bound to shine. Can the new Jester fill his shoes, or would that be, his robes?

Adventures to the literary realm of The Three Little Pigs, King Arthur's Court, the Queen of Hearts, and even into a Future Conundrum are awaiting publication. Other adventures are pending. Guide me to the right literary agent, or publisher, and I'll make sure you get a free copy of each Grandpa Jester book as it comes out.

Since Grandpa Jester is also planned as a children's show if your guidance succeeds in placing it in production for television show or a cartoon I'll suggest your child or grandchild as the character or voice-over.

Now you know about Grandpa Jester.

21 November 2009

Time a wasting...again...

Just went through install of IE8, dumped all the added trash, but it won't connect to any URL. So back to a system restore point, trash the trash IE and go looking for something better. I've tried Google's Chrome a few times but it never installs correctly on my system. Perhaps I'll try FireFox.

Under foot...

Beautiful sunshine and wonderful snowflakes make slippery, sloshing, slimey mud.

To Tell a Tale of Three Trios...

The last three trios, in reverse order, Op 477 Romance Turmoil, Op 472 Taking Tea With Lady Grey, and Op 470 Shasta Snow Light. While picking pieces for the Cello music collection I realized I probably have a collection of trio. Problem is they aren't all the same trio configuration.

Regardless of the instrument configurations I went through the list this early a.m. and find the second piece I wrote and the last piece I have written are trio works. The first, Two Flutes and a Cello I wrote at Blair
Academy and there it had its only performance thanks to Louise Ewing and Donald Blocker on flute and myself on cello.

I seem to have migrated to more Oboe and Cello groupings because I play Recorders and the Finale Allegro voicing for Recorder is poor - but the Oboe is great. The Cello voicing is great, but the Viola isn't. Its a shame since 477 is for Oboe, Viola and Cello.

Oh well, some day I'll have the extra cash to upgrade the software, (and then the hardware, and then the brain surgery too).

20 November 2009

Flakes! All of 'em...

Big, fat, fluffy, all of 'em are flakes. They crowd from the left, slip in from the right, swirling around and glomming onto the glass. Do they scream at the end as they hit the ground and melt? Flakes, snowflakes, floating down and melting into the ground. They are all flakes.

Concert Tour...

I am beginning plans for my second concert tour. If anybody has suggestions please feel free to share them. I perform on Recorders and am available as well for school programs.


Soon I won't have to change pages to post comments to webpage, to blogger, to twitter, to the stars and back again. Hmmm.... getting deep here.

Wind blown...

I posted earlier, on a different page, but having just finished setting this up I felt the need to repost.

The wind gusts last night were powerful enough to swivel my camper nearly 30 degrees. This was done with me inside, all 196 lbs of me, all my gear, both dogs, and with the camper sitting down on both blocks and all four (4) jack legs. It took me nearly an hour to rotate it back using a very large lever after I pulled the legs up. Then had to reset them - I suppose the camper would have been toppled instead if the legs had not been extended for added support.

Opening move...

I find it hard to believe that I get all the way through the Blogger creation process and then can't have my name as the blog name. There aren't that many Daniel Hay folks running around the world. How dare they use our name instead of letting me use our name.