covid stories

Rain, and a snow day?

Coronavirus lockdown day 19

Monday, is a Monday, Tuesday’s a perfect day with a wind that chills you to the bone …

DD Smash, Outlook for Thursday

It rained, which we needed, but it was cold. It feels like snow tonight. I’m eagerly looking out for the pumpkins to sprout or the citrus to spring into life. A small joy was picking some coriander of the plant to add to the night’s curry.

A very quiet day, with some late work tasks.

Found a helpful, and often updated timeline on the RNZ website.

covid photos stories

What day is it? Where am I?

Coronavirus lockdown day 18

Sunday? Yes, It’s Easter Sunday. I know this because I went out today. Yes, into the real world. The supermarket. It’s this place where food and drink and household products are stored in something called aisles.

You get hand sanitiser at the door, navigate your way around line by line, keeping distant from others.

It was raining and cold when I went, about 7pm. There wads zero traffic, and only a few people in this place. No security or police anywhere, just a few folk quietly going about their lockdown.

We now have resupplied, and will last another week before another trip is required.

Finding your inner Nick Cave

While working on one thing with the band, another thing came up. Using some old lyrics I had, I added a deep and gravelly vocal – well as low and grumbly as I could get, with the aid of a little compression). It came out kind of desparate / country / Nick Cave / Johnny Cash. Pretty happy with it.

covid stories

Average Saturday

Coronavirus lockdown day 17

The dog was restless. Up several times. Each of us got a turn to be barked at and ignored and to stand by the door waiting.

Morning chores were going okay until I was outside putting stuff in the rubbish and heard the drain bubbling away. So it was off with the cover, on with the gloves, and yep: Autum drain dig. Hair and gunk and leaves and who knows wtf else; I’m just pleased there weren’t any rats this time.

Cleaned up. Had lunch. Watched the broadcast, more deaths, sadly.

Hacked more of the hebe and watered the citrus plant. Dug some holes for some hostas, but the soil was very dry, so not sure how they will go. need to water tonight. Got some wood in for the rain ahead, just in case it’s cold.

Had a good recording session before tea, put a new twist on an old thing. Took many, many takes but I think it will be okay. After tea was woeful, so I stopped. Fingers just not working. Lost motivation in the evening, meh to everything. Usually a sign of tiredness.

Got the Wii out of storage so we can have a bit of a tournament later. Something to look forward to!

covid stories

Good Friday: the hacking of the hebe

Coronavirus lockdown day 16

As good a Friday as could be expected, I guess. Early start, thanks to the dog. Fine weather. Worked on some music. Did gardening – or more correctly hacking of hebe. It was about 3m in diameter and not much foliage. It’s a stump of twigs now really.

Also trimmed the feijoa – this will ensure the fruit doesn’t drop on the neighbours. It’s obviously a stress point for them, as we got another reminder today.

I cleared the little garden down the front of the section. Found a citrus plant behind the hebe – we have some vague memory it is a mandarin, but we will wait and see. Pleased that it lived, hopefully some sun and water will help it on its way.

The best thing of all this is that we’ve opened up a nice view from where you get out of the car and the driveway, all the way down to the port, so it’s gradually coming together. Once we can clear it all up, that is. All the gardening means a lot of garden waste. Some we can compost, but there’s lots of bigger branches and other stuff we’d normally take to the green waste depot. I can imagine there’ll be massive queues when that place finally reopens!

Couple of rainy days ahead, so need to clear the decks for some indoor time. Played 500 online with friends in the evening, then a chuckle about the day’s music; it seems to have taken a cowboy kinda feel. Yeeha!

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You’ve yet to have your finest hour, radio

Coronavirus lockdown day 13

In the blink of an eye, I missed three days? Where did that time go?

I mean it’s Easter, so you could use the joke about disappearing for three days and then coming back and taking all the credit … but that isn’t the case here 🙂

Instead it’s been rinse and repeat days of a little work, a few chores, shared meals and catching up with friends and colleagues over video channels.

We’ve used Zoom, Skype, Teams, Houseparty for about 5 minutes, Facetime, facebook and probably others. But at the same time, one of the teams I’m in is preparing to use radio.

Recognising that some people don’t have access to the technology others do, or reliable broadband, and the geographical reach of radio is wide, it seems to me that there’s a chance for local media to shine here, and get back to what radio does best – connect people. Hearing a a friendly voice can be very soothing.

It might not be the finest hour for radio, but it could be the start of something great. As commercial stations struggle with advertising drop-off, some have already disappeared. Local access stations could fill the gap and offer different programming, different voices and most importantly, local content.

So How did we spend day 13?

It’s probably time to stop asking that question, but for the historical record. One of us went to the supermarket for the first time in two weeks. It was relatively normal.

audio covid sights stories

And the wind cried, really?

Corona virus lockdown day 12

Sometimes you surprise yourself. You work on something for a while; it’s good. But then you collaborate with someone and something unexpected happens. Flamenco triplets turn up in a straight 4/4; a new cut builds momentum where there was a lull; Random chord injections, resolve and make sense. Suddenly the thing takes off and flies!

Does it mean change? Yes. Does it mean dealing with the unusual? Yes. Does it matter? No. The thing is better than when you started. So it was today with something we dubbed a frankensong – made up of bits of old songs strung together differently put together over a new drum and bass combo. It took an unexpected twist for me that evoked Tex / Mex, Lucky Luke style horse-race through tall stone columns and cacti.

It’s like being physically separated makes us more disciplined at the music. That sounds unlikely, but the advantage of it is that what we hear, in the end, is most important. If we were in the same room would it be the same?

Certainly it would be harder to play what we’ve made, as we’re all using effects and multiple tracks – rather than playing a single part, we’re mixing fx and double tracking, improving what we’re capable of.

And it’s freeing creatively, and better bang for your creative time. One drum and bass mix can lead to two or three – wildly different – interpretations. It also allows for creative difference, I guess, so there’s little need to worry about the creative choices. I suspect we’re all too old to care anyway.

So how did we spend day 12?

Metting each other in brief moments around the house. Filling up the rubbish bin. Cleaning, working. Is it weird that we’re enjoying it and all getting along? Even the dog was well behaved today!

For your viewing pleasure, an old episode of Lucky Luke; originally French, great voice acting and more political than I remember.

covid stories

A knock at the door…

Corona virus lockdown day 11

Sunday, it was Sunday. I have to keep reminding myself what day it is.

We stacked more wood, I did some work. A bit of garden and work outside. A shared lunch, chat with a neighbour or passer by from a distance.

Later, after getting the Multitrack input working yesterday, I sat down to record some audio for a new track that had come through. I ended up doing two different versions, one in D major, one in D minor. I was concentrating on the headphones and saw a little message pop up that Matt was here.

That’s odd, because its 10.30 at night, and mat lives a half-hour away. I carried on. It turns out someone was at the door. It wasn’t Matt, but a stranger.

It was a bit of an emergency: a mate had done a runner. Door guy had walked from Stoke and had almost tracked his mate down when his phone ran out of battery. So he needed to charge his phone. He seemed genuine enough. As I went to get a charger and an extension cord to reach to the front door, my bubblemates needed an explanation. They kept telling me to shhh for some reason.

First I got the wrong charger, then the right one, then I got him a a glass of water. Bubblemate brought a chair. My mind was thinking about social distance, surface contact and all that stuff, but we couldn’t not help, right? In the end he only stayed maybe 10 minutes, tops. He found out where his mates were and was off again.

It was all a bit odd, but one of life’s little adventures. Hope he found his friend.

I went back to the tracks, and then it was 2am. The next day, I wrote this up and retro-published.

So how did we spend day 11?

The day after the clocks go back is always weird. I had a nap in the afternoon; it felt like there were two days in one. We did more outside work as the sun went down, then dinner, then a good chat with the family locked down in Christchurch.

audio covid sound

ninjam, reaper and a stack of wood

Coronavirus lockdown day 10

So another beautiful autumn day in Te Tauihu began with a cooked breakfast, before settling into some serious wood stacking. We got about 3 of the 4 cubic meters done, so pretty happy with that.

Saw approximately half the neighbourhood walking around, and plenty of smiles, giddays and waves.

They say you should learn something new every day. Today I learned that the audio interface I have – while it has six inputs, and is awesome for field recording, will only word with Reaper as a stereo mix. Which means I can only input one track at a time into any live session.

I can hear you falling to sleep already, but this is a bit annoying as I can’t separate tracks. If I play guitar well, but muck up the words, then the whole track has to go… I can record separate tracks, so we will make do.

On the upside, after the jamkazam fail, it looks like ninjam / reaper will work as a jamming tool. So drums / bass in Tauranga, one gat and lungs in Melbourne, the other in Nelson. Gonna be interesting!

Catching up with some friends from around the world in about an hour or so, looking forward to that.

So how did we spend day 10?

Working together then reading and relaxing apart. Vege soup out of the freezer for lunch, toasties for tea. All in all a good, no complaints kind of day.

covid stories


Coronavirus lockdown day 9

We still haven’t had to venture out – we’ve had nearly everything we need delivered to us. Groceries, a computer, and today, a large pile of wood. Four cubic metres, and some kindling.

So that’s what were doing this weekend. Stacking and piling into the woodshed and building some cover so the wood can stay dry. We’ve also got a pile from last year that will need to be moved.

I’ll mow the lawns too and we’ll get rid of some of the greenery we cut down earlier in the week. Still on feijoa patrol and found another dead rat. It reeked. Didn’t retch though!

Had a call with a friend whose partner is a doctor. Co-incedentally they were also dealing with a rat. Living in a small community this pandemic is a massive burden. If one of the staff in the practice gets covid they basically have to shut down for a couple of weeks, which puts even more pressure on the other doctors and practices in the area. Much pressure, and hard on families of the front-line staff who have to worry about their loved ones.

So how did we spend day 9?

We’re getting the hang of it. Slow days, small tasks often. Inside jobs, outside jobs, slow progress. We’ll try again tomorrow.

On twitter there’s a #formalfriday. I joined in today, going hard: I wore a shirt with a collar!

covid stories

Can we turn the world off, then on again?

Coronavirus lockdown day 8

Hmm, it might be time to kick it in the guts Trev – everything’s busy and backward and slow and fast. When in doubt, reboot!

A busy work day, but a bit late as the files came in around 5pm. Re-cut one piece, moved things around a bit, and oh, finesse takes time. WFH on a laptop means working in a very small area of the screen too – so you end up a bit hunched and squinting.

After another awesome meal (roast chook and spuds) settled in with a beer for a session on jamkazam. And you’re thinking – oh cool, live online jam session, laying down a groove, seeing where it goes … Well dear reader, the modern day jam session isn’t a squealing tune up, it’s an hour-and-a-half of tech support, Zoom, and what’s app, and no resolution.

We did though eventually get closer to a fix – ninjajam. So that will be the task before the next meetup.

How did we spend day 8

Still dealing with the ‘tidy up’; it may take some time.

covid stories Tastes

Week one feels like a month

Coronavirus lockdown day 7

The dog was up early, barking at us. I slept a little late after a couple of beers last night. The first beers in a while, to be fair.

So after annoying us, the dog went and sat in front of the teenager’s face. (Remember everything was taken out of the room yesterday? It didn’t get put back, so the teenager was sleeping on the floor.) The dog barked, licked the face (on the eye), barked again. Eventually dog was successful and teenager emerged.

My morning meetings were cancelled so managed to help teenager put stuff back in the room and it is looking really good. She has an eye for good design, and has been handling the lockdown pretty well. It’s not like you can threaten with a grounding is it? So the spirited discussions, as my dear old Dad would have called them are mostly around use of the phone and the internet. We’re doing ok so far.

Before the 1pm announcement, which we watch most days, I also managed to hack down some trees in the backyard and do a couple of small jobs outside. It was good to be in the sun.

Work picked up in the afternoon, with a couple of hours of video editing. It is pretty intense concentration on a smallish laptop screen, so I’m pleased it wasn’t much longer.

How did we spend day 7?

Mostly thinking it was day 31 – time has this stretchy quality right now. Oh, and I forgot to mention a nephew was 21 yesterday – we got to see the yard-glass and the inevitable post-yardie chuck livestreamed. Yay for tradition! Curried mince and baked potatoes for dinner.

It’s feijoa time and as we are vigilantly collecting the fruit to deny the rats, we have a metric shitload. Luckily, someone in the house had the foresight to buy a juicer. I can confirm that a great juice recipe is:

  • 1 orange
  • 1 apple
  • 1 pear
  • 3 feijoa
  • some ice and a little soda water (home made) if you like

Also thinking making some feijoa syrup to add to some vodka …

covid sights songs stories

Quarasurf, or Jamkazam

Coronavirus lockdown day 6

It was just like the old days at Sawyers Arms Road. Well, it would have been if I was in the garage. Two of the three of us were. We used to jam and write and never, ever drink in a tin triple garage out the back of a flat where countdown is near Northlands.

We’d record there to, and send the tapes (!!) off to our drummer, who would visit once a month when we’d all play together.

This time around the drummer sent the bass and drums tracks through and via the wonders of the internet we managed to cobble together everything we need:

  • A shared directory for our tracks,
  • The start of a shared language and process,
  • Plenty of trash-talk and a beer or two,
  • the discovery of, and
  • Someone got told off for being too loud.

It’s going to be great to see where this leads.

So how did we spend day 6?

Slow start, but it got busier and busier. Teenager decided it would be a good day to Kondo the room, everything that doesn’t bring her joy is now spread all around the house – ensuring it doesn’t bring anyone else a single speck of joy either. All the transfer stations and charity shops are closed…

Stir fry rice for dinner, and discovering that the peril of getting beer delivered in the groceries, is that you drink it …