The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #364: Musical Interlude – Creating “I’m Here, You’re Not”

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #34: Musical Interlude – Creating “I’m Here, You’re Not”

https://archive.org/download/podcast-364/Podcast%20364.mp3

This week, I’m making one last track for the next Thirteenth Hour soundtrack album.  Just when I think it’s done, I think of another track I want to make.  I think that’s because I really do think of all these tracks as accompaniments to various sections in the books.  The nice thing about that is once you find a central theme (e.g. elements of The Thirteenth Hour theme is one), you can repeat and vary it throughout depending on the needs of the scene.  This one goes along with a short segment from The Thirteenth Hour where Logan meets his crewmates again in a dream:

For awhile, all was dark, and I could hear nothing. Then the familiar elements of my recurring nightmare aboard the ship came into focus. But this time, I wasn’t afraid.

And there before me, were all seven members of my crew, smiling, looking down as I lay in my bed. It was like I was in the hospital, recovering from an injury, and they’d stopped by, flowers and get–well cards in hand, to wish me well.

“Guys?” I ventured. “You’re … okay?”

“We are now,” Jake said softly, laying a hand on my arm. The other men nodded. I looked for traces of resentment or anger in their faces, but I saw none.

“I’m sorry, guys, I don’t know what to say … I …”

“It’s okay,” they said.

“You’re not mad?”

“Why would we be mad?” Ben asked.

“I … I dunno. I’m here, you’re not … it just seemed like it should have been the other way around.”

“But it wasn’t,” said Phil, shrugging. “We’ve been watching, the whole time, and in some ways, we’re glad it’s you, and not us,” he said, laughing. The others nodded.

“We’re … we’re really proud of you,” Jake said. “The cards were stacked against us from the beginning. That asshole, Darian.” Other nodded vigorously. “We’ve been amazed you’ve made it this far. I certainly don’t think I could have, not alone.” More head nods.

I wasn’t sure what to say. “Thanks,” I said finally. “I’m glad we could meet again.”

“Well, we’ve been trying to get in contact with you as soon as we could, but … it never quite worked until now.”

The nightmares. “I’ve been having the same nightmare over and over since the ship went down. It always ends the same way.”

“Well, now you know how it ended. Here. Today. Now.”

It felt as if a weight had begun to be lifted from my chest.

The track we’re making today is basically a slow reworking of The Thirteenth Hour theme, similar to what I did with Empty Hands and the meditative theme that became the music video of pixelated Logan flying through the clouds.  This track is most similar to the latter but won’t have the angelic accents that that track ended up with.  I’d like to give it a more somber tone to fit with the nature of the passage above so will be thinking about which sounds would best pair with the base layer I made this week.  I was thinking of something haunting, kind of like the sounds of a Theremin, but am not sure I can make that with my midi keyboard.  But I may be able to find something close.  We shall see!  Stay tuned!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #361: Making a Retrowave Music Video, Night of the Comet, Toys, and Being a Kid Again

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #361: Making a Retrowave Music Video, Night of the Comet, Toys, and Being a Kid Again

https://archive.org/download/podcast-361/Podcast%20361.mp3

This week, I finished the music video I started recently using the two synth – handpan tracks Jeff Finely and I worked on together.  I finally figured out enough of Adobe Premiere to accomplish pretty much what I was going for in the video – i.e. flying through fantasy landscapes with a trail of smoke coming out of Lightning.  Now, in the book, it’s actually three rainbow smoke trails, but sometimes, I will just draw it as one large rainbow that trails afterwards.  I couldn’t quite get the rainbow effect but did get the smoke trail to change to the colors of the rainbow, which is good enough for now.  Here’s a short clip of what I started with (pixelart Logan superimposed over stock fantasy landscape animations I purchased off pond5.com):

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And here is the full video:

 

This was the last collaboration Jeff and I did, by the way, based on some ideas originally conceived by Brent Simon:

You can find out more about Jeff on his previous appearances on the show (episode 101, 102, and 176).

I also recently rewatched the 1984 film Night of the Comet to prep for a conversation with one of the leads from the film, Catherine Mary Stewart about the movie.  This is a little addition to the Lego Friends minifigure package I made of Sam and Reg from NOTC, but if you’re on the Patreon, you will be able to find the interview there.  If you’re a regular podcast listener, you will also be able to unlock the interview to listen to it.  Yes, that’s right, gameification!  Since Regina Belmont was an avid arcade gamer in the movie, it only seems right.  Stay tuned for details.  The Night of the Comet figures will be auctioned off starting in August, most likely, all proceeds to benefit the nonprofit Alliance4girls.org

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I also recently went back to my parents’ house and brought back a few things from my childhood for my own children and took pictures of some of the things I wanted to remember:

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A collection of some of my and my brother’s old figures to share now with my kids.

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Remember some of these guys?

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 We saved a bunch of the boxes from the computer games we had as kids.  Little did we know that ot only would most games not comes with big boxes anymore but people would collect these things for exorbitant prices on eBay! 🙂

More on Patreon … but in the meantime, let it be known that 7/8/22 is “Be a kid again day!”

In other words, a great excuse to play with some toys!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #359: Musical Interlude – Adding to a C#m Chord Progression on Synth with Jeff Finley

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #359: Musical Interlude – Adding to a C#m Chord Progression on Synth with Jeff Finley

https://archive.org/download/podcast-359/Podcast%20359.mp3

This week, I’d adding to the second repeating chord progression in C#m that I did with with past show guest Jeff Finley on the handpan.  We started this track in episode 354.  This track ended up having the repeating chord progression C#m B C#m B C#m B / C#m B C#m B A B at 100 bpm.   In this episode, I’m adding to Jeff’s arrangement with a little synth layer to hopefully complement what is already there.

For the first track we did, Jeff did an amazing job with accompanying and arranging the track started in episode 352.  That track is showcased in a music video on Adobe Premiere I started this episode with  pixelart Logan superimposed over some stock fantasy landscape video I purchased off pond5.com.  Here is a preview:

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I’d like to try to figure out how to add some rainbow colored exhaust to Lighting’s tail like I envisioned in the book:

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #354: Musical Interlude – Making a C#m Descending Chord Progression on Synth 2

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #354: Musical Interlude – Making a C#m Descending Chord Progression on Synth 2

https://archive.org/download/podcast-354/Podcast%20354.mp3

This week, I’m making another repeating chord progression in C#m for a little collaboration with past show guest Jeff Finley, who recently told me about an instrument called a handpan, which is kind of like a steel drum you play with your hands, that, at least to my ears, sounds a bit like a synthesizer.  He did an amazing job with accompanying and arranging the track I started in episode 352, and this is another track that hopefully we can work on together.  

This track ended up having the chord progression C#m B C#m B C#m B / C#m B C#m B A B over and over.  Like the last one, this track was recorded at 100 bpm to make room for the handpan and allow it to breathe.   

This was our last collaboration, by the way:

You can find out more about Jeff on his previous appearances on the show (episode 101, 102, and 176).

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #352: Musical Interlude – Making a C#m Descending Chord Progression on Synth

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #352: Musical Interlude – Making a C#m Descending Chord Progression on Synth

https://archive.org/download/podcast-352/Podcast%20352.mp3

This week, I’m making a repeating chord progression in C#m for a little collaboration with past show guest Jeff Finley, who recently told me about an instrument called a handpan, which is kind of like a steel drum you play with your hands, that, at least to my ears, sounds a bit like a synthesizer. 

He mentioned that his handpan is in the key of C#m, so we thought it’d be fun to make another piece of music together.  So this is me just starting something, and then I’ll send that over for him to add to, and we can go back and forth and see what we come up with, kind of like a remote jam session.  

After playing around with a few, I ended up liking the descending chord progression C#m A E B and thought it might be fun to see what we could come up with around that.  Though there is a bit of a melody, for the most part, I purposefully didn’t add much.  It is just those 4 chords repeated again to allow Jeff to add to it.  (Jeff – recorded this at 100 bpm with each chord held for about an 8 count.)  Looking forward to what we can make together!  

This was our last collaboration, by the way:

You can find out more about Jeff on his previous appearances on the show (episode 101, 102, and 176).

In other news, I’m almost done painting the Beverly Switzler figurines for Ernie Trinidad’s postproduction backers for his Howard the Doc film.  These were tough!  I used reading glasses to see the tiny details and am glad I chose to make her eyes closed rather than open since trying to paint eyes on a figure this small is always a headache in more ways than one.  I didn’t realize I’d made so many – nine painted ones and four glow in the dark ones.  There’s definitely more than I need, so I may auction some off for charity like I did with the Lego Rocketeers.  Speaking of which, this past week, it was Star Wars Day (5/4), which is also United Nations Anti-Bullying Day (as of 2012).  Combined those two things and the Lego Rocketeer in a little skit.  There are some stills below the ones of Bev.

And the clip:

Stay tuned to episodes on more 80s fantasy and Rocketeer content coming soon! 

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #350: Musical Interlude – Making a 30 Sec Synthesizer Countdown Track

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #350: Musical Interlude – Making a 30 Sec Synthesizer Countdown Track

https://archive.org/download/podcast-350/Podcast%20350.mp3

This week, I thought I’d make a little piece of music as an unsolicited surprise for my friend Jeremy over at Whistlekick, who also does a little morning show called First Cup where he and other martial artists often congregate over his livestream (weekdays at 6 AM EST) to discuss various martial arts things as well as giving each other encouragement for the day.  It’s a nice little group (check it out on Youtube, Twitter, Twitch, and FB!), and lately, I’ve been trying to get up early to work out and do other things at that time to start the day with them.  I, as a perennial night owl, have always loathed mornings, but, you know, I gotta say, it’s nice to get your workout done in the morning, since at least then it gets done.  Time tends to slip away later in the day.  First Cup has thus been a motivating factor in helping me drag myself out of bed :).

Anyway, lately, Jeremy has been using some instrumental music to accompany a screen where he shows the countdown until the livestream starts.  I think he’s had a few difficulties where Youtube will flag his intro music as being proprietary even though he used royalty free stock tracks, so I figured I’d make a ~30 sec track to accompany that bit so if he wants, he can use it.  But even if not, no music ever goes to waste here at The Thirteenth Hour podcast!  I can also use it later for something else – e.g. I sometimes use musical bits to bookend podcast tracks (like into between the intro and an interview). 

This track was made entirely on the synth and was comprised of 5 different layers mixed together.  It is also one off the few times I actually used the pitch bend effect there to simulate electric guitar note bending.  

Next week, we’re going to start covering Masters of the Universe from 1987!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #346: Musical Interlude – Finishing “Homecoming” – a Slow, Introspective Synth Track

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #346: Musical Interlude – Finishing “Homecoming” – a Slow, Introspective Synth Track

https://archive.org/download/podcast-346/Podcast%20346.mp3

This week, I’m working on the last piece in the upcoming second Thirteenth Hour soundtrack.  The track, called “Homecoming” is an incidental piece of music I made back in the summer but wasn’t sure how to finish.  But today, I’m wrapping it up by adding two additional layers – a short melody for the “verses” using a xylophone sound (to invoke the feeling of nostalgia/childhood) as well as a choral vocal overlay.  The draft plays at the end of the episode.   A few pictures from part of the book that inspired this piece:

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Next week, we’re going to do another Q and A episode!  If you have questions or things you’d like to share, feel free to email me them at writejoshuablum@gmail.com.

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #343: Musical Interlude – Making a Backing Track for “No Hero” and Playing “Loved by the Sun” from Legend

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #343: Musical Interlude – Making a Backing Track for “No Hero” and Playing “Loved by the Sun” from Legend

https://archive.org/download/podcast-343/Podcast%20343.mp3

This week, I’m working on two music pieces – one of the last tracks from the upcoming second Thirteenth Hour soundtrack.  The song, called “No Hero (The Future is Here)” is basically the equivalent of the soundtrack’s ending track (like a song that would play over the ending credits).   Some previews:

I’m working on the backing synth track today.  The version on the podcast was an early warmup.  At the time of this writing, many, many frustrating recording attempts (and hours) later, I do have a version of the backing track that is 95% done.     

Speaking of ending tracks, I’ve also been playing around with the ending song from the US release of Legend, which we’ll be talking about in the coming week.  The song playing as the movie ends is “Loved by the Sun” by Tangerine Dream and sung by Jon Anderson from the band Yes.  I’m just messing around with on the guitar with my kids in the version on the podcast, but here is a much better orchestral version of the song done by kids with the O’Keefe Music Foundation, a nonprofit that provides free music instruction to children. 

Look for more on Legend next week and the release of Once Upon a Dream later this year!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #342: February 2022 Question and Answer Session

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #42: February 2022 Question and Answer Session

https://archive.org/download/podcast-342/Podcast%20342.mp3

This week, I’ve got a few quick updates and will be digging into the second set of questions that came in.  I really appreciate all the thoughtful questions!

Before we begin, I have finally finished the Lego Rocketeer including their boxes.  Now just need to list them and get them ready for auction for two charity organizations in Dave Stevens’ name.

My brother, Jeremy, who was just on for episode 337 to discuss The Black Cauldron and who will be on soon to discuss the film Legend, returns this month with these questions:

1) What was it about films like The Neverending Story that resonated with you as a child and served as fuel for the style of ’80s fantasy that The Thirteenth Hour represents? In your mind, what do you think is stylistically different about ’80s fantasy films as opposed to the stuff that came after? (like The Lord of the Rings movies or modern day shows like The Witcher).

2) The Thirteenth Hour straddles a lot of genres and defies classification – you could call it a fantasy/young adult book, but that doesn’t quite hit the mark. What are some of the restrictions and quirks of these genres that bothered you as a kid and still bother you as an adult? (i.e.: the tendency for fantasy series to be long multi-book affairs that get a little drunk on their own worldbuilding and politics; the fact that most YA books have to fit within the mold established by Harry Potter or The Hunger Games to survive)

3) Did you ever envision The Thirteenth Hour as a comic? In a perfect world, what would a comic adaptation of the story look like in your eyes? Would you go for a long running series that expands on the mythology that you wrote, or maybe a big one-shot a la Dave Steven’s Rocketeer work that’s self-contained?

Check out Jeremy‘s work over at Pixel Grotto, CBR.com, and Classic Batman Panels on IG.  You can support his work on Ko-fi and get access to in-depth, exclusive Batman content here.   If you are of the DnD persuasion, his articles on DnD Beyond may be right up your alley.  Thanks, Jeremy, for coming on the show!
 
These first five comes from frequent show guest Adam from @mom_gave_them_away, who was just on the show for episodes 340341 on Rambo/First Blood.

4.) Favorite Gene Wilder role, not necessarily favorite movie?

5.) Favorite toy line as a kid?
 
6.) Within that favorite toy line, what’s your favorite figure?
 
7.) Can you nail down your favorite year of the 80s?
 
8.) Did you take piano lessons, and if so, do you remember your first lesson?
 
Find more of Adam’s work on the interwebs at ACtoydesign and his shop of original resin toys.  He does a number of podcasts as well – I Have Spoken (a Star Wars podcast), Death by Podcast (a vintage horror podcast), and You like Toys (a Patreon exclusive podcast about toys and nostalgia). 

Two of my favorite GI Joe figures – Lady Jaye and Snake Eyes from the GI Joe 80s cartoon.

I don’t a lot of the toys from my youth currently with me, but have found a few in later years.  The little blue Prius from Japan is there representing Micro Machines and the Japanese import that was my first GoBot.  The blue robot is a GoBot that was my favorite as a kid, and the Air Raider pilot (which was one of the ones I had as kid), represents all the smaller size figures I liked playing with as a child. 

Thanks, everyone, for your contributions!  It was a good time.  We’ll do it again next month (for the episode to be released on 3/28/22).  If you have questions, feel free to email me them at writejoshuablum@gmail.com.

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #285: Recycling LDPE and PP Plastic into Plastic Synths!

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #285: Recycling LDPE and PP Plastic into Plastic Synths!

This week’s episode continues from the last three week’s crafting episodes … but instead of HDPE (high density polyethylene, a.k.a. #2) plastic (which worked pretty well, as described in last episode), this time, I’m experimenting with LDPE (low density polyethylene, a.k.a. #4) cut from a lid top (instead of Perler beads which I used last time) as well as PP (polypropylene, a.k.a. #5) plastic to do essentially the same thing as last week.  Again, I was not sure this would work. 

Just like the last few weeks, I’m using the silicone molds I used to make Logan’s synthesizer (watch for more stop motion animation music videos with him soon!):

For this project, I’m again using cut up strips of #4 and #5 plastic.  Here are the cut up bits of #4 plastic in the synth mold getting heated up with a heat gun.   As mentioned last week, heating plastic leads to fumes, so it would be a good idea to do this with some eye and mouth protection (safety goggles, a mask) in a well ventilated area, like a garage or outdoors.  I wouldn’t do this in your kitchen oven!  A pair of winter gloves are great for protecting your hands.

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Like HDPE, both LDPE and PP gets viscous and gooey when heated.  PP took longer and did not take to the mold as well.  With both of these, if you touch it or try to tamp it down too soon, it gets everywhere, just like hot tar.  It’s pretty easy to scrape off a smooth surface later, but I found I needed to wait longer than HDPE for it to become workable (PP – the longest).  As before, you will probably need to add additional plastic, heat that, and repeat the process until you fill the mold, like below.  I think I had to add 4-5 layers of plastic strips until I filled the mold.

 

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Here are the LDPE synth (red) and the PP synth (white) when they were just taken out of the mold the first time.  If you look closely at the details, you can see some of the strands did not liquefy.  So I heated the synth sides, flipped them back into the molds, pressed down, and … you can see the results below.

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The PP synth worked okay – kind of rough, but it did work.  Here it is next to the the lid it once was.  It took a whole lid to make the synth.

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Here are the different synths according to plastic type, in order of ease of use, from bottom to top.   There you have it, recycled plastic toys!

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And, as mentioned in the episode, the patches I mentioned a few weeks ago are now ready and available for purchase here!  They come with a high quality mp3 download from Once Upon a Dream, the next Thirteenth Hour soundtrack LP.

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If you still have a cassette player, take advantage of the following deal and be transported to another world!  SALE!  While supplies last, grab Long Ago Not So Far Away on cassette!  Just $1/tape!
https://ko-fi.com/s/5579db9b27

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There are now Thirteenth Hour toys!  If you’d like to pick up one of these glow in the dark figures for yourself, feel free to email me or go to the Etsy store I set up (https://www.etsy.com/shop/ThirteenthHourStudio) and get them there.

If the past few months have got you needing a break, you may want to chill out to this 80s synth throwback track for a upcoming LP with the accompanying music video:

Empty Hands, the synth EP soundtrack to the novella, Empty Hands, is now out for streaming on Bandcamp.  

empty hands ep cover_edited-2.jpg

Stay tuned.  Follow along on Spotify!  There is also a growing extended Thirteenth Hour playlist on Spotify with a growing number of retro 80s songs.

Check it out!

As always, thanks for listening!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #284: Recycling HDPE Plastic into Plastic Synths!

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #284: Recycling HDPE Plastic into Plastic Synths!

This week’s episode continues from the last two week’s crafting episodes … but instead of wax, I’m using plastic.  Not the two part pourable resins I’ve used so far but cut up pieces of HDPE (#2) plastic from milk jugs, bottle tops, or some other containers.  Or, this episode also contains a segment of using Perler beads, which is actually a different kind of plastic, LDPE (#4) but can also be used, with somewhat different results, I’ve found, though I can by no means say I’m an expert in any of this.  I just thought it’d be fun to try as an experiment.  I had no idea any of this would work, and frankly, it almost didn’t!

Just like the last few weeks, I’m using the silicone molds I used to make Logan’s synthesizer (watch for some stop motion animation music videos with him soon!):

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For this project, I’m using cut up strips of #2 plastic.  I’m using a pair of kitchen shears for cutting up greenery into little bits, but I’m guessing you could also use a paper shredder for a similar effect.

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Here are the cut up bits in the synth mold:

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Applying heat … there was a funky plastic, so it would be a good idea to do this with some eye and mouth protection (safety goggles, a mask) in a well ventilated area, like a garage or outdoors.  I wouldn’t do this in your kitchen oven!  A pair of winter gloves are great for protecting your hands.

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HDPE gets viscous and gooey when heated.  If you touch it or try to tamp it down too soon, it gets everywhere, just like hot tar.  It’s pretty easy to scrape off a smooth surface later, but If you wait 10-20 sec or so, the plastic will be more amenable to tamping down into the mold.  You will, however, probably need to add additional plastic, heat that, and repeat the process until you fill the mold.

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The HDPE synth is the black and purple one in the pic below.  It turned out better than I expected, not quite as sharp as resin but with a similar level of detail to when I made crayons or wax candles in a similar way.  The bottom two were done using Perler beads.  I couldn’t get them to liquefy quite as much, so the details they picked up from the mold were less well formed.

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Those of y’all who are Patreon members should be getting yours in the mail, but the patches I mentioned a few weeks ago are now ready and available for purchase here!  They come with a high quality mp3 download from Once Upon a Dream, the next Thirteenth Hour soundtrack LP.

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If you still have a cassette player, take advantage of the following deal and be transported to another world!  SALE!  While supplies last, grab Long Ago Not So Far Away on cassette!  Just $1/tape!
https://ko-fi.com/s/5579db9b27

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9c855cfe-2bcf-4f9b-9681-898d80b49e9a

There are now Thirteenth Hour toys!  If you’d like to pick up one of these glow in the dark figures for yourself, feel free to email me or go to the Etsy store I set up (https://www.etsy.com/shop/ThirteenthHourStudio) and get them there.

If the past few months have got you needing a break, you may want to chill out to this 80s synth throwback track for a upcoming LP with the accompanying music video:

Empty Hands, the synth EP soundtrack to the novella, Empty Hands, is now out for streaming on Bandcamp.  

empty hands ep cover_edited-2.jpg

Stay tuned.  Follow along on Spotify!  There is also a growing extended Thirteenth Hour playlist on Spotify with a growing number of retro 80s songs.

Check it out!

As always, thanks for listening!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #283: Upcycling Broken Crayons Part 2 – Making Candles!

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #283: Upcycling Broken Crayons Part 2 – Making Candles!

This week’s episode continues from last week’s crafting episode.  We made multicolor synthesizer crayons last week, so this week, we’re using some of the wax from the crayons and combining it with wax from broken candles to make … synthesizer candles!

Here are some old, broken birthday candles …

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… I tested this with just candle wax in the same molds we used last week, which actually worked really well …

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… and became liquid wax after being put in the oven …

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… of course, wax candles without a wick are just wax.  So here are a few wicks from the broken candles. 

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So, candle wax + crayon wax mixed together and heated until liquid …

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… and here with the wicks dropped in the liquid hot wax.

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The final result … the crayon wax sank to the bottom of the mold, and the candle wax rose to the top, creating a blended pink – blue pattern for the face of the synths and Logan’s hoverboard … one of a kind upcycled candles!

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If you still have a cassette player, take advantage of the following deal and be transported to another world!  SALE!  While supplies last, grab Long Ago Not So Far Away on cassette!  Just $1/tape!
https://ko-fi.com/s/5579db9b27

∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞

 

9c855cfe-2bcf-4f9b-9681-898d80b49e9a

There are now Thirteenth Hour toys!  If you’d like to pick up one of these glow in the dark figures for yourself, feel free to email me or go to the Etsy store I set up (https://www.etsy.com/shop/ThirteenthHourStudio) and get them there.

If the past few months have got you needing a break, you may want to chill out to this 80s synth throwback track for a upcoming LP with the accompanying music video:

Empty Hands, the synth EP soundtrack to the novella, Empty Hands, is now out for streaming on Bandcamp.  

empty hands ep cover_edited-2.jpg

Stay tuned.  Follow along on Spotify!  There is also a growing extended Thirteenth Hour playlist on Spotify with a growing number of retro 80s songs.

Check it out!

As always, thanks for listening!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #282: 2021 Crafting – Upcycling Broken Crayons!

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #282021 Crafting – Upcycling Broken Crayons!

Happy new year!  To start us off, I thought we’d combine resin casting, recycling, and creativity in one project – making crayons!  Whaaa, you say?  What’s that have to do anything?

Well, let’s find out!

If you have or had kids, chances are you have some old / broken crayons around.  I gathered up a broken bits, took off the paper wrappings, and …

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… tried to enlist the help of one of my children to help with the latter part.  It occupied said child nicely …

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… for about 10 minutes.  Then I was left to complete the boring part …

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I used the same silicone molds I used for casting resin.  The silicone performed wonderfully under heat (350 degree F x 10 min +/- 3-5 min until the crayons are all melted).  Basically, you cram a bunch of crayon bits inside (more is better, the wax will melt down; you want the wax to be thick enough to hold.  A silicone cookie tray would be better, actually, since they tend to be deeper, meaning you can cram in more crayons bits).  As you can see below, just like with resin casting, bubbles rise to the surface.

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Once they start to solidify, we do need to wait a bit for everything to cool, though you can stick the mold in the refrigerator to speed up the cooling process.

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The synth on the top, as you can see, is an example of what happens when the wax doesn’t melt fully and air bubbles get in the way.  So this one, despite loving the colors, I broke back up and redid (really easy to do).

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Some of the final products – the ones to the left were done with cookie cutters.  You can totally use metal cookie cutters but be aware they they may leak wax out the bottom.  You can get around this by putting clay around the edges and using a heat gun to apply focused heat to the crayons in side the cookie cutter.  That is how the orange leaf on the left was made.

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Overall, a fun project to do with kids, especially if you’re stuck inside on a cold or rainy day, folks are sick, or you’re just waiting out the pandemic like so many of us are.  And if you don’t have kids but are feeling a bit strapped for cash after the holidays or the havoc the past year has done to the economy (at least in the US), just head over to Etsy and see how much people charge for handmade crayons.  Holy upcycle, Batman.

What can I say … don’t hate!  Create!  🙂

If you still have a cassette player, take advantage of the following deal and be transported to another world!  SALE!  While supplies last, grab Long Ago Not So Far Away on cassette!  Just $1/tape!
https://ko-fi.com/s/5579db9b27

∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞

 

9c855cfe-2bcf-4f9b-9681-898d80b49e9a

There are now Thirteenth Hour toys!  If you’d like to pick up one of these glow in the dark figures for yourself, feel free to email me or go to the Etsy store I set up (https://www.etsy.com/shop/ThirteenthHourStudio) and get them there.

If the past few months have got you needing a break, you may want to chill out to this 80s synth throwback track for a upcoming LP with the accompanying music video:

Empty Hands, the synth EP soundtrack to the novella, Empty Hands, is now out for streaming on Bandcamp.  

empty hands ep cover_edited-2.jpg

Stay tuned.  Follow along on Spotify!  There is also a growing extended Thirteenth Hour playlist on Spotify with a growing number of retro 80s songs.

Check it out!

As always, thanks for listening!

∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #281: 2020 Reflections / Future Goals + “Many Miles” Vocals

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #281: 2020 Reflections / Future Goals + “Many Miles” Vocals

This week, I reflect on the year and look back on the goals I had for 2020 back in episodes 230 and 231

Despite all the zaniness of the past year, it’s been a good year creatively.  Besides the things discussed on the show, I also started a Thirteenth Hour Arts Facebook group as well as a Patreon, so many thanks for all your support!

Lastly, I’ve decided to wrap up by trying to finally finish a song that I’ve tried to work and rework many, many times, the aptly named “Many Miles,” a song I wrote for the next Thirteenth Hour book and last worked on in episodes 190-199).  I’m working on the vocals today. 

If you still have a cassette player, take advantage of the following deal and be transported to another world!  SALE!  While supplies last, grab Long Ago Not So Far Away on cassette!  Just $1/tape!
https://ko-fi.com/s/5579db9b27

∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞

 

9c855cfe-2bcf-4f9b-9681-898d80b49e9a

There are now Thirteenth Hour toys!  If you’d like to pick up one of these glow in the dark figures for yourself, feel free to email me or go to the Etsy store I set up (https://www.etsy.com/shop/ThirteenthHourStudio) and get them there.

If the past few months have got you needing a break, you may want to chill out to this 80s synth throwback track for a upcoming LP with the accompanying music video:

Empty Hands, the synth EP soundtrack to the novella, Empty Hands, is now out for streaming on Bandcamp.  

empty hands ep cover_edited-2.jpg

Stay tuned.  Follow along on Spotify!  There is also a growing extended Thirteenth Hour playlist on Spotify with a growing number of retro 80s songs.

Check it out!

As always, thanks for listening!

∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #280: 80s Christmas Songs and Reworking “Many Miles” for the Zillionth Time

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #280: 80s Christmas Songs and Reworking “Many Miles” for the Zillionth Time

https://archive.org/download/podcast-280/Podcast%20280.mp3

This week, just before Christmas drops, I thought it’d be fun to talk a bit about 3 songs from the 80s that aren’t traditional Christmas songs but are, in many ways, still holiday songs. 
 
The holidays often serve as a time to reflect on the year and think about what you’d like to see happen in the future – a time of hope, good cheer, and family.  Of course, it’s not that way for a lot of people.  And that contrast is why I picked these three songs:
 
1.) The Waitress  (1981) – “Christmas Wrapping”
 
I didn’t know who did this song about a woman who’s a bit over the hype of holidays season until recently but always thought it had a great hook. There is also an almost 30 second funky instrumental break in the middle that I think would actually be a good breakbeat.
 
 
2.) The Pogues (1988) – “Fairy Tale of New York”
 
I love the piano intro, the penny whistle, and bantering / squabbling couple duet-ting in this song of hopes, dreams, and disappointment.
 
3.) Band Aid (1984) – “Do They Know It’s Christmas?”
 
There are things to like about this song – e.g. the melody, the chord progressions, the collaboration, the underlying good intentions (raising awareness of famine in Ethiopia and raising funds for assistance) – but … the lyrics are horrendous!  They reinforce the stereotype that Africa is a place of “dread and fear / Where the only water flowing / Is the bitter sting of tears” and “nothing ever grows / No rain nor rivers flow.”  Ok, folks,  I get you were writing about famine, but the entire continent?  The best gift “they’ll get this year is life”?  Holy self righteous Jesus, Batman.  But, if you put images of colonialism and missionaries doing God’s work aside and ignore 95% of the lyrics, you get a song that essentially about remembering to be grateful for what you have and that there is a “world outside your window.”  
 
 
I’ll do a deeper dive on Instagram this week!
 
These songs were something I was mentally thinking of for a Christmas song episode with show guests Joe Esch and Adam Crohn (last on the shows when we discussed 80s foods and The Lost Boys – 272 and 273).  We had tossed around a bunch of ideas for nontraditional Xmas movie ideas (like Gremlins and Die Hard) and then the song one, but never quite got around to recording.  As you may know, Adam has been tied up with more urgent things than recording podcasts these past few weeks as his dog, Mooge, just had surgery for lung cancer and will need extended treatment in the near future.  Of course, nothing in life is ever simple.  You can read more about their challenging journey on the GoFundMe by clicking on Mooge’s picture below.  But the upshot of all this and the connection to the above is that I’ll be looking at some ways to continue to raise funds into 2021 to help Adam and Mooge and will post more over the coming weeks.

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So in lieu of retro Xmas movie podcasts this year, please go check out Shawn and Colin over at I Used to Like This One for several weeks of Christmas movies.  They’ve put together a much better lineup than I ever could.  So far, they have episodes on Home Alone, Lethal Weapon, and A Christmas Story

Lastly, I’ve decided to wrap up by trying to finally finish a song that I’ve tried to work and rework many, many times, the aptly named “Many Miles,” a song I wrote for the next Thirteenth Hour book and last worked on in episodes 190-199).  I reworked the intro, created a new opening riff, added a short chorus section, and cut out a few redundant verses.  So – essentially starting almost from scratch and reworking it from the ground up.  I have a backing track done so far and will be figuring the vocals next.  So far, I think it will work!  I was practicing while holding my son earlier today, and we were singing along with the new repeating riff (and it sounded okay!). 

If you still have a cassette player, take advantage of the following deal and be transported to another world!  SALE!  While supplies last, grab Long Ago Not So Far Away on cassette!  Just $1/tape!
https://ko-fi.com/s/5579db9b27

∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞

 

9c855cfe-2bcf-4f9b-9681-898d80b49e9a

There are now Thirteenth Hour toys!  If you’d like to pick up one of these glow in the dark figures for yourself, feel free to email me or go to the Etsy store I set up (https://www.etsy.com/shop/ThirteenthHourStudio) and get them there.

If the past few months have got you needing a break, you may want to chill out to this 80s synth throwback track for a upcoming LP with the accompanying music video:

Empty Hands, the synth EP soundtrack to the novella, Empty Hands, is now out for streaming on Bandcamp.  

empty hands ep cover_edited-2.jpg

Stay tuned.  Follow along on Spotify!  There is also a growing extended Thirteenth Hour playlist on Spotify with a growing number of retro 80s songs.

Check it out!

As always, thanks for listening!

∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #279: Working on a Thirteenth Hour Custom Action Figure Part 4: Making a Silicone Mold and Shrinking with Mineral Spirits

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #279: Working on a Thirteenth Hour Custom Action Figure Part 4: Making a Silicone Mold and Shrinking with Mineral Spirits

https://archive.org/download/podcast-279/Podcast%20279.mp3

This week, I’m making a silicone mold for the guitar I finished last week.  While the mold for the synthesizer is quite easy, this one is a bit more complex since I’m going to be trying a trick I learned on youtube with a video (below) made by Crafsman, who I support on Patreon.  (He has a lot of great resin casting and toy making videos; check him out!).  The trick here involves the use of mineral spirits mixed into the silicone with the idea that over time, the mold will shrink as the mineral spirits dissolves out, leaving you a smaller mold.  This effectively gives you the ability to shrink objects (in theory – I’ve never tried this before).

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Since the guitar I made was a bit too big for Logan’s hands, hopefully, the technique will allow me to shrink it down by about 25%.   Here’s the video in more detail described by the Crafsman:

By the way, the one piece mold for the synth I finished recently.  Now it’s time to pour in the resin!

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And the setup for the guitar mold seen from the top down. I ended up using a thin plastic box as an exoskeleton for the mold.  It was what I had lying around, though it didn’t have a flat bottom and the flexible sides meant it had to be supported from both sides, as shown below, where the body and most of the neck of the guitar are already submerged in silicone.  The toothpicks are meant as air vents.

img_2573img_2575img_2576

The bottles on the sides are supporting the mold as it dries, so it cures straight (a consequence of me suing a somewhat flexible container).  Now, it’s a matter of waiting a few days for the mineral spirits to diffuse out of the mold to see if this actually worked.

img_2508

Last week, a friend of the show and frequent guest / collaborator, AC of ACToyDesign needed some help for funding a surgery for his dog, Mooge.  In the span of the past week, Adam and Mooge actually exceeded their finding goal (click above for more info from Adam), so thank you to all that helped!

If you still have a cassette player, take advantage of the following deal and be transported to another world!  SALE!  While supplies last, grab Long Ago Not So Far Away on cassette!  Just $1/tape!
https://ko-fi.com/s/5579db9b27

∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞

 

9c855cfe-2bcf-4f9b-9681-898d80b49e9a

There are now Thirteenth Hour toys!  If you’d like to pick up one of these glow in the dark figures for yourself, feel free to email me or go to the Etsy store I set up (https://www.etsy.com/shop/ThirteenthHourStudio) and get them there.

If the past few months have got you needing a break, you may want to chill out to this 80s synth throwback track for a upcoming LP with the accompanying music video:

Empty Hands, the synth EP soundtrack to the novella, Empty Hands, is now out for streaming on Bandcamp.  

empty hands ep cover_edited-2.jpg

Stay tuned.  Follow along on Spotify!  There is also a growing extended Thirteenth Hour playlist on Spotify with a growing number of retro 80s songs.

Check it out!

As always, thanks for listening!

∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #278: Working on a Thirteenth Hour Custom Action Figure Part 3: Making a Clay Acoustic Guitar

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #278: Working on a Thirteenth Hour Custom Action Figure Part 3: Making a Clay Acoustic Guitar

https://archive.org/download/podcast-278/Podcast%20278.mp3

This week, I’m working on another accessory for the custom figure of Logan from The Thirteenth Hour that I started two weeks ago.  Last week, I made a synthesizer, which is basically done, and today, I’m working on an acoustic guitar for Logan to sing with.

Here’s how the synth came out (from last week):

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And here’s what the guitar looks like so far:

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I also randomly made a little rectangle that will be one of the playing cards that Logan throws in the book.  The #2 plastics in the background above, by the way, may be in a future project.  I’ve always thought it would be fun to essentially recycle used plastics into useful things, like little toys.  I just need to figure out how to do it safely.

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These musical instruments will be for some upcoming (perhaps in 2021?) videos with Logan singing some songs, either accompanied by the synth or the guitar.  Some will be his own songs, and a number will be essentially cover songs.  I imagined that Logan would sound a bit like the singing rooster minstrel (voiced by folk singer Roger Miller) in the animated version of Robin Hood:

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Lastly, a friend of the show and frequent guest / collaborator, AC of ACToyDesign needs some help this holiday season.  Adam recently found out that his dog, Mooge, has lung cancer.  (If you need further convincing that she is adorable, click on her pic above to go to her Instagram account).  Her vets feel confident they caught the cancer early, and that she has a good prognosis. But … as anyone with a pet knows, surgery is expensive. That and follow up visits are estimated at around $7500 (!). This holiday season, please consider supporting or sharing Mooge’s gofundme to help raise funds for her treatment.  Thank you!

img_2509

If you still have a cassette player, take advantage of the following deal and be transported to another world!  SALE!  While supplies last, grab Long Ago Not So Far Away on cassette!  Just $1/tape!
https://ko-fi.com/s/5579db9b27

Look for the episode Shawn, Colin, and I did on Willow on I Used to Like This One or wherever you listen to your podcasts.  Check them out on Patreon to help support their work!

From my first rewatching a few years ago:

A reposting of a previous post of a Madmartigan figurine I had as a kid:

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9c855cfe-2bcf-4f9b-9681-898d80b49e9a

There are now Thirteenth Hour toys!  If you’d like to pick up one of these glow in the dark figures for yourself, feel free to email me or go to the Etsy store I set up (https://www.etsy.com/shop/ThirteenthHourStudio) and get them there.

If the past few months have got you needing a break, you may want to chill out to this 80s synth throwback track for a upcoming LP with the accompanying music video:

Empty Hands, the synth EP soundtrack to the novella, Empty Hands, is now out for streaming on Bandcamp.  

empty hands ep cover_edited-2.jpg

Stay tuned.  Follow along on Spotify!  There is also a growing extended Thirteenth Hour playlist on Spotify with a growing number of retro 80s songs.

Check it out!

As always, thanks for listening!

∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #277: Working on a Thirteenth Hour Custom Action Figure Part 2: Making a Clay Synth

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #277: Working on a Thirteenth Hour Custom Action Figure Part 2: Making a Clay Synth

https://archive.org/download/podcast-277/Podcast%20277.mp3

This week, I’m working on an accessory for the custom figure of Logan from The Thirteenth Hour that I started last week (that I am just about finished now).  I’m making Logan his own synthesizer to play!  He’ll use them for some upcoming videos.  But today – we’re starting the sculpting process for the keyboard from Aves Apoxiesculpt, the hard drying clay I used to make the initial sculpts for all the minifigures I’ve done as well as the custom sculpt parts of the Logan figure that I wrapped up this past week.

Here is how Logan looks so far:

img_2481img_2482

And here’s how the sculpt started:

img_2480

The keys will all be from toothpicks.  I’ve slid 21 keys (which will be the white ones) into the clay before it hardened.  Here, I’ve added speakers and a central console.  Once the clay hardens, I will further sand it and add a few more details that I want to show up on the final cast version.  As you can see, I have yet to add the black keys.  They’ll be smaller toothpicks glued on in between the keys.  There will be 15 of those (3 total octaves).

img_2487img_2488

“So I’m going to be playing this thing …?”  Yup!  And next week, a guitar!

If you still have a cassette player, take advantage of the following deal and be transported to another world!  SALE!  While supplies last, grab Long Ago Not So Far Away on cassette!  Just $1/tape!
https://ko-fi.com/s/5579db9b27

Look for the episode Shawn, Colin, and I did on Willow on I Used to Like This One or wherever you listen to your podcasts.  Check them out on Patreon to help support their work!

From my first rewatching a few years ago:

A reposting of a previous post of a Madmartigan figurine I had as a kid:

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9c855cfe-2bcf-4f9b-9681-898d80b49e9a

There are now Thirteenth Hour toys!  If you’d like to pick up one of these glow in the dark figures for yourself, feel free to email me or go to the Etsy store I set up (https://www.etsy.com/shop/ThirteenthHourStudio) and get them there.

If the past few months have got you needing a break, you may want to chill out to this 80s synth throwback track for a upcoming LP with the accompanying music video:

Empty Hands, the synth EP soundtrack to the novella, Empty Hands, is now out for streaming on Bandcamp.  

empty hands ep cover_edited-2.jpg

Stay tuned.  Follow along on Spotify!  There is also a growing extended Thirteenth Hour playlist on Spotify with a growing number of retro 80s songs.

Check it out!

As always, thanks for listening!

∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #267: Wrapping up “Once Upon a Dream” and Creative Community 3 – Start of Thirteenth Hour Arts Patreon

Episode #267: Wrapping up “Once Upon a Dream” and Creative Community 3 – Start of Thirteenth Hour Arts Patreon

https://archive.org/download/podcast-267/Podcast%20267.mp3

This week, I’m wrapping up “Once Upon a Dream” and discussing more on the idea of creating a creative arts collective.  Last week, I created a private Facebook group called Thirteenth Hour Arts – For Creators, Not Haters.  Many thanks to all who joined!

This week, I’m launching a Patreon of the same name and idea – a place to share in the creative process, though more specific to things related to the creation of The Thirteenth Hour books, music, podcast, pictures, figures, and the like, as well all the other things that have influenced those properties.  Hopefully, people will be able to share what they do as well so we can all build off each others’ creative energy.

You can go to the Pateron by clicking the picture below of going here:

d64c277b-d4ce-467c-970a-a2ce020ef6c5

∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞

 

9c855cfe-2bcf-4f9b-9681-898d80b49e9a

There are now Thirteenth Hour toys!  If you’d like to pick up one of these glow in the dark figures for yourself, feel free to email me or go to the Etsy store I set up (https://www.etsy.com/shop/ThirteenthHourStudio) and get them there.

If the past few months have got you needing a break, you may want to chill out to this 80s synth throwback track for a upcoming LP with the accompanying music video:

Empty Hands, the synth EP soundtrack to the novella, Empty Hands, is now out for streaming on Bandcamp.  

empty hands ep cover_edited-2.jpg

Stay tuned.  Follow along on Spotify!  There is also a growing extended Thirteenth Hour playlist on Spotify with a growing number of retro 80s songs.

Check it out!

As always, thanks for listening!

∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #266: Adding Vocals to “Once Upon a Dream” and Creative Community 2

Episode #266: Adding Vocals to “Once Upon a Dream” and Creative Community 2

https://archive.org/download/podcast-266/Podcast%20266.mp3

This week, I’m adding vocals to “Once Upon a Dream” and discussing more on the idea of creating a creative arts collective.  To start, I ended up creating a private Facebook group called Thirteenth Hour Arts – For Creators, Not Haters.

Here’s the premise I’ve copied from my inaugural post there:

Welcome to The Thirteenth Hour Arts Collective – a place to create, not hate!

There are so many ways to be creative in the world. Although I publicly create books, music, and toys for The Thirteenth Hour stories, those are informed by a number of other things, like 80s films, new wave music, martial arts, dance, and so forth.

I’m sure you have or had many things in your own life that are kind of the same. Please share them here – you may inspire someone else (or yourself) to make time and space for creative pursuits!

When Logan’s hoverboard flies in The Thirteenth Hour, it emits a cloud of rainbow colored smoke.  There were rainbows all over the place in the 80s (Rainbow Brite, Skittles, Reading Rainbow, etc), and if not exactly rainbows, plenty of kids’ shows used the idea of different colors coming together to represent strength or unity through diversity and/or teamwork (Voltron, Captain Planet, etc).  Rainbows encourage us to look off into the distance, towards that ephemeral spot where the rainbow ends.  To me, they have always represented hope and possibility for the future, so I’m using them as a symbol for this group to represent creativity, especially the diversity of creative pursuits and people that practice them in hopes that it can be something we all share in and benefit from.

d64c277b-d4ce-467c-970a-a2ce020ef6c5

∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞

 

9c855cfe-2bcf-4f9b-9681-898d80b49e9a

There are now Thirteenth Hour toys!  If you’d like to pick up one of these glow in the dark figures for yourself, feel free to email me or go to the Etsy store I set up (https://www.etsy.com/shop/ThirteenthHourStudio) and get them there.

If the past few months have got you needing a break, you may want to chill out to this 80s synth throwback track for a upcoming LP with the accompanying music video:

Empty Hands, the synth EP soundtrack to the novella, Empty Hands, is now out for streaming on Bandcamp.  

empty hands ep cover_edited-2.jpg

Stay tuned.  Follow along on Spotify!  There is also a growing extended Thirteenth Hour playlist on Spotify with a growing number of retro 80s songs.

Check it out!

As always, thanks for listening!

∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #265: Continuing the Recording Process for “Once Upon a Dream,” Magnet Dolls, and Creative Community

Episode #265: Continuing the Recording Process for “Once Upon a Dream,” Magnet Dolls, and Creative Community

https://archive.org/download/podcast-265/Podcast%20265.mp3

This week, I’m continuing to record the backing tracks for “Once Upon a Dream” – the solo, the chorus, and so forth.  Next will be the vocals, the outro riffs, and maybe a few electric guitar accents here and there.

Speaking of which, I thought it might be a nice thing to add some of the magnet dolls I talked about recently as part of the special edition of the Once Upon a Dream LP.  Here are the magnet dolls, by the way, of Logan and Aurora plus all their stuff:

magnet doll Logan and Aurora sheetIn the latter part of the podcast, I talk about the idea of trying to create some kind of online community to showcase the creative process.  I touch on that in many of these podcasts, and I’ve been thinking about trying to help people showcase the creative things they do in their own lives.  In may ways, that’s one of the messages of The Thirteenth Hour – creating the world you want to inhabit.  You may have noticed that on my Instagram posts, I have little emoticons before the post, kind of like these:  👾🎤📖🎸🍓🎨🕹🏹🙋🏽‍♀️🤸🏼‍♂️🌈🎭🎬

I’ve organized the different kinds of art types by sense, more or less, to showcase them

Sight

🎨 – visual art (e.g. paintings, illustrations, sketches, sculptures …)

🕹- digital worlds

🎬 – films

📖 – stories

 

Sound

🎤 – audio entertainment (e.g. podcasts, audiobooks …)

🎸 – music

 

Taste / Smell

🍓- food, gardens

 

Touch

⚒- tools made of metal, wood, plastic, ceramic …

🪑- furniture

🏕- places to live

📟 – electronics

💍 – jewelry

🧣- clothing

🧸- toys

 

Movement

🏹 – safety, confidence, inner peace (e.g. through martial arts disciplines)

🤸🏼‍♂️- movement, health (e.g. dance, gymnastics …)

 

Mind

🙋🏽‍♀️- knowledge (e.g. through teaching)

🎭 – characters (e.g. acting)

👾 – memory

👨‍👩‍👦‍👦 – community

🌈 – hope and possibility, freedom of expression

Especially in 2020, when there is so much turmoil in the world, we could all use a little positivity to bring out the better parts of humanity – our desire to explore and create – rather than human drama and politics.

I’ve been thinking about creating a Facebook group for this for awhile or perhaps a Patreon community to do this.  What do you think?

∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞

 

9c855cfe-2bcf-4f9b-9681-898d80b49e9a

There are now Thirteenth Hour toys!  If you’d like to pick up one of these glow in the dark figures for yourself, feel free to email me or go to the Etsy store I set up (https://www.etsy.com/shop/ThirteenthHourStudio) and get them there.

If the past few months have got you needing a break, you may want to chill out to this 80s synth throwback track for a upcoming LP with the accompanying music video:

Empty Hands, the synth EP soundtrack to the novella, Empty Hands, is now out for streaming on Bandcamp.  

empty hands ep cover_edited-2.jpg

Stay tuned.  Follow along on Spotify!  There is also a growing extended Thirteenth Hour playlist on Spotify with a growing number of retro 80s songs.

Check it out!

As always, thanks for listening!

∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #264: Starting the Recording Process for “Once Upon a Dream” and Custom Minifigure Making

Episode #264: Starting the Recording Process for “Once Upon a Dream” and Custom Minifigure Making

https://archive.org/download/podcast-264/Podcast%20264.mp3

This week, I’m working up and wrapping up few concurrent projects – starting the recording of the backing track for “Once Upon a Dream” discussed last on episode 261 and finishing up a little “kitbashed” minifigure of Aurora from The Thirteenth Hour discussed a bit last episode. The magnet dolls discussed last episode are in the editing process, so I’ll be printing those out soon!

magnet doll clothes

One of Aurora’s costumes is this one from a picture in the book:

I’ve been working on a custom miniature of Aurora in this outfit made from a few different Wonder Woman mini figures.

I ended up using parts from all three different verions of these little Wonder Women to make the figure, plus some Apoxie Sculpt clay and paint.  These are the pics from last week. Here’s what the finished figure looks like:

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9c855cfe-2bcf-4f9b-9681-898d80b49e9a

There are now Thirteenth Hour toys!  If you’d like to pick up one of these glow in the dark figures for yourself, feel free to email me or go to the Etsy store I set up (https://www.etsy.com/shop/ThirteenthHourStudio) and get them there.

If the past few months have got you needing a break, you may want to chill out to this 80s synth throwback track for a upcoming LP with the accompanying music video:

Empty Hands, the synth EP soundtrack to the novella, Empty Hands, is now out for streaming on Bandcamp.  

empty hands ep cover_edited-2.jpg

Stay tuned.  Follow along on Spotify!  There is also a growing extended Thirteenth Hour playlist on Spotify with a growing number of retro 80s songs.

Check it out!

As always, thanks for listening!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #243: Reading from The Thirteenth Hour on Flying Through the Clouds and Like a Hood Ornament 3 – the Rocketeer’s Rocketpack

Episode #243: Reading from The Thirteenth Hour on Flying Through the Clouds and Like a Hood Ornament 3 – the Rocketeer’s Rocketpack

https://archive.org/download/podcast243/Podcast%20243.mp3

This week’s show is all about flying, both in the traditional part of the podcast as well as in the Rocketeer segment.  I’ll always aim for them to be related if possible, since, after all, The Rocketeer was one of the things that influenced the writing and creation of the Thirteenth Hour world.

In the first part of the show, I’m reading from the chapter where the main protagonist, Logan, is gifted a silver hoverboard he calls Lightning that has its own onboard magical “computer” (though that’s never exactly stated), allowing for a kind of magic artificial intelligence, and runs off the power of the sun (again, never exactly stated, at least not in this one).

Just to get us in the mood, I thought I’d include the intro from the 1984 film, The Neverending Story, for the quintessential audiovisual cloudscape experience:

Here is the passage from The Thirteenth Hour:

Lightning beeped cheerfully and drifted slowly forward down the lighted blue pathway that I had walked down earlier.  She really picked up speed in the windy section near the entrance. I crouched down low, white–knuckling the board with both hands.  Maybe I should have practiced a little first, I began thinking to myself.  But Aurora was in trouble, and I needed to concentrate on that.  The flight to Cordel would have to be my practice.  Lightning shot out of the Palace and began to climb steeply.  My heart plummeted into my stomach, and I prayed that we would slow down, eyes shut, knuckles even whiter as I gripped the edges of the board for dear life. 

The board beeped then; I opened my eyes slightly, and by shielding them against the torrential winds, I was able to see a message flash across the complicated, yet impressive looking front of the board. 

“Relax, Logan!  There’s no way you can fall.  Both your feet are now strapped in. You can let go of my sides if you want.  Have fun!”  

I looked down; my right foot was now securely strapped onto the board.  I stayed crouched low, but let go of the edges, first one hand, then another.  As soon as I did, I felt as if I were going to fall backwards and began to flail my arms.  Lightning slowed down a little, allowing me to regain my balance.  But at every dip, my stomach felt like it was shooting up to my throat.  I wanted to grab onto something solid, but I realized that there was nothing but air to hold onto!  In desperation, I gripped the side of the board again, but it didn’t do any good.

“This is harder than I thought!”

Another message flashed across the screen.

“Well, it really isn’t too hard once you get the hang of it.  Just relax and let me do the work.  Now, how about some aerobatics, my favorite?”

“Uh, wait a minute!  Aerobatics?  Is that anything like acrobatics?  I don’t think I’m ready for that!” I yelled.

“Sure you are!  You just don’t know it yet!  All you have to do is hang on!” flashed the screen.

I yelled a succession of curses as my stomach shot up to my throat as Lightning spun around three times in succession.  The screen read, “Barrel roll maneuvers complete.”

Whatever that meant!  She ended up in an inverted position, with me looking at the sea, dizzy.  I had paid so much attention to the insides of my eyelids that I hadn’t looked around to notice how high we were.  We seemed to be traveling at an insane speed.  The waves far below flashed by in a blur.  The wind kept getting caught in my gaping mouth and bellowing out my cheeks while I struggled to close my mouth.  At one point, I felt like I was going to fall out, dangling only by the straps holding my feet onto the board.  Instinctively, I grabbed both sides of the board.  Lightning rolled back over, and I breathed easier. 

“This might help you out.  I am going to deploy an invisible shield that will surround you and myself.  It’s just like a big bubble.  It will cut air resistance and protect you.  And just in case you’re interested, it will prevent you from falling should you manage to slip out of the foot restraints.”

“We couldn’t have done this before?” I croaked, as wind caught in my mouth, hard that time, stunning my vocal chords.

“No, my programming instructs us to be at least fifty miles away from the Palace before I deploy the bubble shield.”

“Why fifty?”

“If I overheat, I could self–destruct.  The explosion would level anything in the surrounding area within a fifty mile radius.”

“Self–destruct?” I repeated, horrified.

“The shield has never been tested before.  There’s a very slight chance that it will overload my systems.”

“Overload?” 

“Is it just me or is there an echo here?  It’s alright.  The shield’s up now. All systems are operating well within normal limits.  However, it’s written in my programming to warn all passengers if they aren’t.”

As if they could do anything about it, except maybe jump off and die hitting the ground instead of in a mid–air explosion.  The wind didn’t seem to be blowing as hard now, though I couldn’t see the shield, nor could I feel it.  But I noticed that it was much quieter, and I could talk without shouting, although there was still a ringing in my ears from the rushing wind.

“It seems to work,” I said, feeling around tentatively.

I looked back; I couldn’t see the Palace.  When I asked how far we were away from it, Lightning flashed across her screen, “About 75 miles right now.” 

Jeez, we were going fast.  We couldn’t have been in the air very long; under an hour, I guessed.  I looked back again and noticed a plume of colored, sparkling mist in our wake.  It looked just like a rainbow.  I looked under the board; the mist was coming out of three separate locations on Lightning’s bottom side. 

“Those are my engines.”

I realized that I had been so caught up in the excitement/horror of my ride with Lightning that I had never even questioned how she generated her power.

As if reading my mind, Lightning flashed, ”I can show you the owner’s manual later that discusses more of the specifics, but for now, all you need to know is that there’s a readout on my display that shows how much power I have left.”

I found the icon on her display, which read 95% power.

“You know, I don’t mean to sound ungrateful or anything, because I really appreciate you going fast since you know I’m in a hurry and all, but do you think you could slow down just a little?  I think I left my stomach somewhere behind the last mountain.”

“No, according to my scanner, you still have it.”

“Oh … it was just a manner of speaking, you know …”

“A joke?”

I laughed.  “Well, almost, I guess.”

“Tell me a joke then.”

“Oh, I don’t know any good ones.  When we find Aurora, we’ll ask her.  She’ll know some.”

“All right.  Nothing like learning how to swim by jumping in the deep end, huh, Logan?”

“Right.  Without a lesson.”

“Well, no one ever did learn to swim in a turtle pool.”

“What’s a turtle pool?”

“You never had one of those?  One of those little plastic kiddie pools about a foot deep that you fill up with a hose?”

“Plastic?  Kiddie pool?  Hose?”

“Ehh, never mind.  Probably just some stuff that hasn’t been invented yet.  One of these days I really have to organize my files.”

“So … how long until we reach Cordel?” I asked.

“About thirty minutes.  How do you like flying around like this so far?”

“I like it, especially with the bubble shield.”

“Good!  We’ll always fly with it on from now on.  I’m glad you like flying!  I knew you were a flyer when I first saw you!” flashed the board, with a few friendly beeps.

“We’re going to take a little detour, and I think I’ll throw in a few tricks, just to keep things interesting.  Wouldn’t want you to fall asleep or anything!”  

“Oh, I really don’t think you’ll have to worry about …” 

Just at that second, I tried to scream as Lightning shot upward suddenly, but my voice was still somewhat hoarse.  All that came out was some kind of croaking sound.  Then she hung a hard right, shot into a loop with a couple of twists thrown in, and straightened out high above the clouds.  My stomach, however, took a little longer.

“Guh … give me a minute to recover,” I panted.

“Okay.  It’s pretty much a straight trip from here, so we’ll take it easy so you can get used to doing turns and things like that. Of course, you can always count on me to fly, but I thought you’d like to give it a shot yourself.”

By shifting my weight left and right, I was able to make turns.  By leaning forwards or backwards, I could either climb or dive.  I even tried a tentative loop with all the grace of a one–legged stork.

“Hey, not bad!” flashed the message board.  “See, it’s not so hard!” 

“I guess …” I said.

“Logan, I know what you need!  A little attitude!  How about some music?  ‘Cause there isn’t much to see up here.  Just clouds, and when you’ve seen one, you’ve pretty much seen them all.  And there’s nothing like music to boost your confidence!” 

“Music?” I asked, a little surprised.

“Yes.  One of my unsung talents.”

“Hey, Lightning, that was a joke!  Well, kind of, anyway.  I think that’s called a pun.”

“Really?  Well, see, things are looking up already!”

I heard a sound suddenly.  Or sounds, rather, but they were like nothing I had ever heard before.  The music sounded slow, at first, then it picked up pace, until the speed of the music matched the speed of our flying.  It was strangely futuristic, but at the same time, it seemed like I had always known the melody. [When I was originally writing this passage, I had the melody from When in Rome’s “The Promise” in mind.]

There were words sung, too, but in a language that I neither understood nor wanted to understand; somehow, the mystery of the words added to the mystique of the music.  In a way, this is in vain, as my description here will do no justice to the melody, because there are some things that are perhaps impossible to describe in words and are better left unspoken.    

I felt, at that moment, an incredible rush of energy and indescribable exhilaration.  I felt ready to take on the world – or, at least, a dragon or two.  All my fears of flying vanished like the mist of the rainbow behind us. The feeling of gliding through the air with the wind rushing through my hair, sleeves and pant legs flapping back and forth, and the music rushing up to meet my ears was indescribable.  But it is perhaps best compared to that day, long ago, when, as I stood at the top of the hill near the castle, looking out at the landscape around – I let the wind take my hand and lead me to dance.

I later wrote a song for Long Ago Not So Far Away about this part of the book that became the song, “I’ll Fly Away.”  It has two versions, both below – with varying levels of synth and tempo depending on your mood!

Today’s Rocketeer segment is also about flying – the Rocketeer’s rocketpack!

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Today marks the third Rocketeer segment as a part of the podcast.  Below are a few previous episodes about the Rocketeer:

Ep 18 on comics (Dave Stevens)

Ep 53 on rewatching the Rocketeer as an adult

Ep 235 on making the resin miniature Rocketeer

This week, we’re discussing three versions of the rocketpack (in descending order below): 1.) the sliver-purple one with fins from the comics, 2.) the finless silver double barrelled Art Deco one from the movie, and 3.) the silver and purple double barrelled one with fins from the cartoon that came out this past fall.

img_0478

The Rocketeer - Meet Kit Secord (Promo) - YouTube

Here are a few design ideas on the gloves and rocketpack from the film, showing the original prototype (closer to Dave Steven’s original drawings), then how it evolved into the double silver bullet shape seen in the film (these come from The Rocketeer Official Movie Souvenir Magazine).

Here are some excerpts from the original comic drawn by Dave Stevens about how the rocket pack was controlled and refueled.  (The images below come from The Rocketeer: The Complete Deluxe Edition, which is unfortunately quite difficult to find now – look on Amazon and eBay for used copies at more reasonable prices).

This little animated .gif is, of course, from the point in the movie where the Rocketeer, not above a little self conscious vanity, asks how he looks.  Peevy, not above a little blunt honesty, says “Like a hood ornament!”  The Rocketeer blasts off for the first time, Peevy gets blown backwards into the hangar, and I get a name for this part of the podcast!

Stay tuned for more Rocketeer gear talk next week!  Stay safe!

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9c855cfe-2bcf-4f9b-9681-898d80b49e9a

There are now Thirteenth Hour toys!  If you’d like to pick up one of these glow in the dark figures for yourself, feel free to email me or go to the Etsy store I set up (https://www.etsy.com/shop/ThirteenthHourStudio) and get them there.

If you haven’t checked out “Arcade Days,” the song and video Jeff Finley, Brent Simon, and I finished one year ago, click on the link below to do so!

You can find more pictures and preview clips of “Arcade Days” on IG as well as this podcast’s FB page.

Empty Hands, the synth EP soundtrack to the novella, Empty Hands, is now out for streaming on Bandcamp.  

empty hands ep cover_edited-2.jpg

Stay tuned.  Follow along on Spotify!  There is also a growing extended Thirteenth Hour playlist on Spotify with a growing number of retro 80s songs.

Check it out!

As always, thanks for listening!

∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #242: Reading from The Thirteenth Hour on Reflection in Seclusion and Like a Hood Ornament 2

Episode #242: Reading from The Thirteenth Hour on Reflection in Seclusion and Like a Hood Ornament 2

https://archive.org/download/podcast242_202003/Podcast%20242.mp3

On this week’s show, I thought we’d do a little more quarantine / seclusion real talk – specifically on self reflection when alone with your thoughts, as many people are these days, kind of like Logan in one part of The Thirteenth Hour, which we’ll be reading from shortly.  We may ignore or put off deep thinking in day to day life, either out of discomfort, fear of what we’ll find, or lack of time.  But, on the other hand, sometimes being alone with your thoughts offers the most freedom of expression, since there is no one else to censor your thought process except you (and the voice of society, upbringing, etc – though that’s still you, just your interpretation of those things).

Here are are some of passages from The Thirteenth Hour referenced in the episode:

I don’t know how long I sat there – I was vaguely aware of the sun going down at some point, but my mind wasn’t really on that.  I struggled a lot that day, but not with nausea or sleep.  I had always been a pretty optimistic person – most dreamers are, I think – and liked to think that people were basically good inside.  I wanted to believe that there were happy endings, and that it wasn’t just something people wrote about in books so they could vicariously experience something they never knew in real life.  I basically wanted the world to be a good place, or if not good, at least non–imposing, leaving me free to do what I wanted.  I had always thought if you left people alone, they’d leave you alone.  But that didn’t always happen, did it?   It was like being a grain of sand in a desert where a simple gust of wind or footprint could shift the position of the grains all around you, changing your own position.  Perhaps accepting that was part of something called growing up, but I sure didn’t have to like it.

If it’s just one person, perhaps life is simpler, but when there is another, things get more complicated.  I wanted to believe that love could work out, too, even though I still didn’t really know what it felt like.  But I was an optimist and wanted to believe that I would know what love was like one day.  But if love meant surrendering part of yourself, could you really do that if you felt ashamed of what you had to give? …

… And though I never asked her to, she came each day after that, even if it was just to sit by me and put cold compresses on my body as I drifted in and out of feverish sleep.  Sometimes I wondered why she did, since I had so little to offer in terms of companionship.  But finally, one day, the fever broke, and I awoke to find that the pounding in my head had gone.  I looked out my window – night.  I did not feel like sleeping anymore and began to test my unsteady legs.  As I hobbled in and out of the shadows of my darkened cell, I found my mind wondering when Aurora would stop by.  Of course, not until daylight, many hours from now, a realization that stung a little at first.  But the more I thought about it, the sting became an ache that racked my body painfully until I was forced to sit down on the floor.   There, with labored breaths, I thought back on specific things that had happened over the past few weeks, over the past few years, over the course of my life.  Then there was a spark, a sudden flash of light, and it all became so clear; I marveled how I could have been so blind.

It was then that I understood why the bards so often sung of love, because for the first time, I actually knew what they were singing about.  Because it was then I knew that it was love that I’d been falling into all along; I just hadn’t known enough about it to realize what it was.  And then, to my surprise, I rolled over onto the floor and began to cry.  Maybe I was happy, maybe I was sad, I didn’t know.  But I hadn’t really cried in such a long time that it was like I was experiencing it for the first time.  The tears that flowed from my eyes pushed away the dirt and sweat and grime, leaving a clean streak behind, fresh and ready for the future. 

(POV change to Aurora) I found him sleeping there on the floor the next morning.  He did not stir when I walked in.  I knelt down and felt his forehead; the fever had passed.  For the first time in many days, he looked like he was at peace.  I did not disturb him.  But after a few minutes, he opened his eyes and saw me next to him.  Then, he sat up slowly, looked at me, and smiled.  There was something different in his smile, but I smiled back all the same.  And then I knew what it was; he understood!  Then we put our arms around each other and stayed that way in that dank, dirty cell for a long, long time.   

I wrote a song for Long Ago Not So Far Away about this part of the book that I talked about a little back in episode 51 (recorded around the time I wrote it).  The lyrics and associated chords are below:

Love, Grey Dresses, and Other Things

Intro

C
There’s this girl that I know
G Am
Actually, I’ve known her all my life,
F
It seems, to me.

C G
And when she found me, as a child
Am F
All alone, without a soul, to call my own.
C
Best friends were we
G Am F
Did I ever say how much that meant … to me?

C
And so … the seasons go
G Am
Promises of childhood seem so bold.
F
Can they grow old?

C G
Now I hold her hand but
Am
As an adult man, and something is …
F G
Different this time.

C
That grey dress she wears
G Am
Seen it a hundred times before
F
But not like tonight, not like tonight. ‘Cause
C
There’s a fire in her eyes
G Am
The wind catches a lock of her hair
F
And my heart lifts in time.
C
There’s a smile on her face
G Am
One I know that time can not erase …
F
But it feels new.

C G
And then all at once, it hits me like a thousand tons
Am F
How I could’ve been so blind?
C G
And that’s when I knew why songs are sung of love
Am
Because, because, because … it was love
F C
I was falling in … this whole time.

Instrumental: C G Am F C

The album version of the song (instrumental version above):

 

When I was producing the song, I added more layers and an electric guitar segment to the latter parts of the song to beef up the song what is essentially a four chord folk ballad to create a dichotomy between the slow, tender, piano part with a louder, more biting, aggressive part reminiscent of an 80s metal ballad.   I wanted it to be that way to capture the balance between Logan’s tender realization in a time of vulnerability contrasted with the flash of insight that he must lift himself up out of a hole in the ground (quite literally – he is a dungeon, after all) with his strength of will.

777261cc-33ff-42cb-b641-368622356139

Today also marks the second Rocketeer segment as a part of the podcast.  Below are a few episode mentions about the Rocketeer prior to last week’s show on Cliff Secord’s biography:

Ep 18 on comics (Dave Stevens)

Ep 53 on rewatching the Rocketeer as an adult

Ep 235 on making the resin miniature Rocketeer

This week, I’m reading from some of Dave Stevens’ handwritten notes on the backstory he created for Cliff to give depth to the character and explain some of the motivations Cliff had (which, admittedly, were somewhat self serving).   This comes from The Rocketeer: The Complete Deluxe Edition, which is unfortunately quite difficult to find now but has pages and pages of storyboards (like the one below) and notes from Dave Stevens on the characters and story he wanted to create.

img_0363

https://imgur.com/gallery/yYmEOnO?s=sms

More coming next week!  Stay safe!

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9c855cfe-2bcf-4f9b-9681-898d80b49e9a

There are now Thirteenth Hour toys!  If you’d like to pick up one of these glow in the dark figures for yourself, feel free to email me or go to the Etsy store I set up (https://www.etsy.com/shop/ThirteenthHourStudio) and get them there.

If you haven’t checked out “Arcade Days,” the song and video Jeff Finley, Brent Simon, and I finished one year ago, click on the link below to do so!

You can find more pictures and preview clips of “Arcade Days” on IG as well as this podcast’s FB page.

Empty Hands, the synth EP soundtrack to the novella, Empty Hands, is now out for streaming on Bandcamp.  

empty hands ep cover_edited-2.jpg

Stay tuned.  Follow along on Spotify!  There is also a growing extended Thirteenth Hour playlist on Spotify with a growing number of retro 80s songs.

Check it out!

As always, thanks for listening!

∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #219: A Thirteenth Hour Piano Medley

Episode #219: A Thirteenth Hour Piano Medley

https://archive.org/download/podcast219_201910/Podcast%20219.mp3

This week, I recorded a session after happening on a grand piano at a hotel this past week. I tried to play a bunch of Thirteenth Hour song riffs continuously, kind of like how old musicals used to do a medley as the credits rolled.

I stopped the recording in the middle since a gentleman stopped to ask what the song was and to say he’d liked it (thanks, mystery gentleman, it was The Thirteenth Hour theme!). I’m generally horrendous at self promotion in day to day life.But, I suppose I should probably work on it more consistently. So you’ll notice a few new things this episode – a standardized outro with reminders of social media and other presences as well as a virtual tip jar courtesy of www.ko-fi.com.

The track I started a few weeks ago, “The Skipping Stone” is done and available at https://joshuablum.bandcamp.com/track/the-skipping-stone

Speaking of music, if you haven’t checked out “Arcade Days,” the song and video Jeff Finley, Brent Simon, and I finished last winter, click on the link below to do so!

You can find more pictures and preview clips of “Arcade Days” on IG as well as this podcast’s FB page.

Empty Hands, the synth EP soundtrack to the novella, Empty Hands, is now out for streaming on Bandcamp.  

empty hands ep cover_edited-2.jpg

Stay tuned.  Follow along on Spotify!  There is also a growing extended Thirteenth Hour playlist on Spotify with a growing number of retro 80s songs.

Check it out!

As always, thanks for listening!

∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞