Author Archives: trentpmcd

About trentpmcd

Trent P. McDonald Musician, composer, author, photographer, general creative.

If We Were Having Coffee on the 28th of November, 2020

Hello and Welcome! Come on over and sit for a spell. OK, it is a bit chilly, but I will get you a steaming mug of super strong dark roast, a (largish) cuppa tea, hot cocoa or some other warm beverage. Weather has been odd, but mostly seasonable. We did have some rain and those awful grey days that November is known for. Today should be nice, though. Oh, were are we? Some of you may recognize the photo at the top as coming from New Hampshire.

OK, the first big thing – why have I been in New Hampshire so much? Well, last week Massachusetts put NH on the list of banned states, which means if I went down there I would be stuck at my house. I’d have to register and they would call me 4 times a day to ensure I was at my house. If I didn’t register or was caught off of my property, it would $500 a day per person fine! So I stayed in NH…

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First Impressions – Sequential Prophet Rev 2

I picked up a Sequential (DSI) Prophet Rev 2 polyphonic analog synthesizer a couple of weeks ago. After two weeks of playing, I decided to make a recording and talk about it.

First a few terms. “Analog” means that the sound is created by electronics as a continuous electrical signal which is then manipulated by other electronics. I know,obtuse, but that definition is a contrast with “digital”, which means the sound is created and manipulated by a computer. Most of the first commercial synthesizers were analog.

I said it was a polyphonic synthesizer (poly-synth). In this case “polyphonic” means more than one note can be played at once, sort of like a piano, with each note being distinct. The distinct note is called a “voice” – my Prophet Rev 2 is an 8 voice synthesizer (16 voice Rev 2s exist – more about this later). The way this works is that each voice is played by a completely different synthesizer! In the late 1970s, Dave Smith perfected a way for a computer to store values for a synthesizer so that all of the different voices (synthesizers) could have the same sound though the user only has to set up the sound once (one set of controls). It also let the user save sounds. This instrument was the Sequential Circuits Prophet 5. It helped to revolutionist the music industry and, actually, music itself.

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Light (Repost) #writephoto

Photo by Sue Vincent

(Originally posted on 22nd of November, 2019 for Sue Vincent’s writephoto challenge)

It was just after the first real snow of the year. A couple of wet inches, which might be gone by noon or may last all winter, greeted us.  It sure was pertty, that untracked white. I smiled at the sight, though dreaded the cold winter ahead.

A chill ran through my bones as I thought of last winter.  Not everyone lives through winter, see? At least not out beyond the frontier. Yeah, it was pertty an’ all, and I was as happy as the others, but…

“I say winter is here, no matter the calendar tells us. Let’s get our tree today,” Pa said as we stood around gaping the changed world.

The young‘nes whooped.

My mind went back to that cold, earthen mound.

“Oh, what fer?” I asked.

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Cover Story

PHOTO PROMPT © Susan Eames

Everyone gathered, giving me sympathy. Yuck.  I love the anonymity of being an assistant.  Mr. Jameson tut-tutted over my foot and told me he would take it easy on me.  Even Ms. Evans stopped and patted my head like a sick child.  I doubt if anyone believed my story.  Fine.

Later, my other phone vibrated.  Nobody was around so I took it out.  Fingerprint, retina scan and 18-digit passcode later, I read the text message.

“Thanks for making the world safe, once again.”  It was the president.

Mr. Jameson had joked that at least I had some excitement.

I smiled.

***

Word count = 100

Friday Fictioneers is hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.  This week’s prompt is here and uses a photo © Susan Eames. Read more or join in by following the InLinkz “linky“.

The In-Between #haibun #haiku

Bare branches, half guessed, a darker black silhouetted against void, whisper amongst themselves in the northern breeze.  A few last leaves flutter down.  A flash of silver is quickly hidden, the magic light extinguished as rapidly as it had appeared.  Looking up, I guess where the moon lies hidden behind the blanket of turmoil that is the sky.  I wrap my jacket tighter around myself, but can’t stop the moist air from seeping in, hungerly stealing my warmth. The approaching dawn has been hijacked, the sun led astray, for the sky remains that slate grey.

White rim on last leaf
Dull glow illuminates grey
November dark clouds

***

This was written for Colleen’s weekly poetry challenge. This week we used a theme, which was given by Sue Vincent in the form of a haiku (see below). I wrote a haibun with a haiku for the challenge.

Haiku by Sue Vincent for challenge:

clouds cover the moon,
beyond dawn's pale horizon
sun rises unseen

©2020 Sue Vincent


The Weekly Smile for November 23, 2020 #weeklysmile

I’m sure the times are a bit stressful for a lot of you out there. I know they are for me! There are many worries in the world, not the least that this pandemic is getting worse as the autumn continues. So, how do we relieve stress?

Walking often helps me quite a bit, particularly walking in the woods without the dogs ;) Last week, though,it wasn’t enough. But I did find the trick – I just did my normal exercise routine. It all just evaporated. The next day, my normal run took care of any stress that had built up.

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The Weekly Smile Recap for 11/16 – 11/22/2020

Hi all! The world seems to be in turmoil right now. In the US, this should be a time for families to gather, but we are being told to stay home. Around the world it isn’t much better. And there are other things. Sigh. But, hey, there is still a lot to smile about out there! In fact, a lot of bloggers have talked about what made them smile over the last week. Why don’t you read one or two of these posts? Perhaps you will smile as well :)

Trent’s World
Poetry, Short Prose and Walking
The Hidden Edge
Natalie the Explorer
Heart to Heart
Tessa Dean – Author
The Jesh Studio
Brewing Coffee, Twisting Words and Breaking Pencils
Natasha Musing
Mylife-and-Horsestories
Change is Hard
All Things Bright and Beautiful
Ruth Blogs Here
Thistles and Kiwis

I don’t know what you think, but I think that there are a lot of great smiles out there! I hope you got a smile or two reading them. I did :)

I will have this week’s smile up in an hour or so (Not sure when – work is busy this AM!) In the mean time, what made you smile?

An Amused Muse? Or So I Hope…

I took a deep breath.  The smell of new electronics hung in the air, giving me some inspiration. My fingers reached down.  A modern synth-string sound emanated from the studio speakers.  Yes, modern, and yet the strings had a certain sizzle that spoke of the late 1970s.  I had spent over an hour getting the sound just how I wanted it.

I listened closely, with my body as much as my ears.

Perfect.

My fingers changed position on their own, so I had a G in the bass.  My left hand was also playing a D, with a Bb, D, F and A in the right hand.  The smoldering G minor 9th chord just oozed that downtown, cool jazzy feeling.  You know the one.

I shifted, without thinking to B Major 7.  Yeah, a quick pivot on the Bb/A#.  It felt right, and better yet, with that sizzling string sound, it sounded right, even if very dissonant. Very, very dissonant.

Cool.

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If We Were Having Coffee on the 21st of November, 2020

Hello and Welcome! Come on over and sit down here. A put a cushoin on the chair so your bum doesn’t freeze, though it is actually quite nice out. I’ll get you a nice large mug of super strong dark roast, a cuppa tea, a hot cocoa or other beverage. The weather has been weird. On Wednesday it only edged above freezing (may 33 or 34 f, 1 C), but with the wind, it felt like mid-January, and then on Friday it was short-sleeved shirt weather! Today is slightly warmer than average, but not as warm as yesterday! Oh, were are we? Some may recognize that photo at the top as begin from New Hampshire.

It was an odd week. Work was busy, as always, but it was not insane and a lot slower than the last few. I didn’t have two Lions Club meetings over the week, as I did last week. As I said, the weather was odd.

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Derelict (Re-Post) #writephoto

Photo by Sue Vincent

This was written for Sue Vincent’s writephoto challenge on May 25, 2017. As Sue is taking time off of posting new challenges, Willow has had the great idea to re-post old stories created for the challenge.

I crested a small ridge and the countryside became familiar.  It wasn’t anything that could be seen, not any feature or landmark, it had to do with the scent of the air, the feel under my feet and the quality of the sunlight.  I inhaled deeply and knew that I was almost home.

I was but a child when I was ripped from my parents’ arms and given an unbalanced spear and loose fitting leather cap.  I was told to kill or be killed, that king and country depended on me and my fellow farm hands that were rounded up to be shipped to distant lands to fight for noble arguments none of us understood.

Within weeks I was the only person from my village left alive.  Within months there was no other surviving commoner from within day’s walk of my childhood home.  The local lord, who had taken me from my fields, died within the first year.  His lord, a baron, was dead within three.  Ten years of constant battle and we had taken the enemy’s capital.  Another five and I was sent home, dressed in fine silks and fine mail, a bag of gold and silver at my hip and another tied to my saddle.

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