If you were curious, this is what a sunstone looks like fresh out the ground. Not a terribly good specimen, but on the largish side anyways, about 20 carats. There are five or so different types of sunstones all found in the same spot, even right next to each other. The most valuable are reds, the least valuable are clear, and somewhere in the middle are these, called "Schiller" for some reason I haven't been able to ascertain. They have copper in 'em, and are quite nice, I think.
This is what remains of the largest Schiller I found on Friday, after I had it cut. It was roughly a third again as big as the one pictured at the top, about 30 carats. There was a gemstone cutter there, and she knocked it down in to what you see here. The picture doesn't do it justice, as I have neither the skill nor the equipment to properly photograph cut gemstones (a semi-difficult task, it seems.) But you get the general idea.
Was it worth it? Hard to say. Financially, I came out well in the plus column versus actual dollars spent. For wear and tear on my body and vehicle? The jury's still out. As far as what my time's worth, that's not a quantifiable asset, so you can put a nil in that column. I had a good time, learned some things, got some exercise. All in all, I say "yes."
Let me just state for the record that I have a new-found respect for people that take that trade up. That shit is HARD work. I spent all day in a 7' long tunnel that was about 2' tall and maybe 3' wide (in other words, just big enough for me), picking away at dirt with a screwdriver while lying on my stomach. Then, I'd get that dirt out of the tunnel, and run it through a shaker table, shouting "SHOW ME THE MONEY" at the top of my lungs, as advised by the staff of the Spectrum Sunstone Mine. Okay, they didn't actually advise that, but you know how it goes.
Got three nice stones, three pretty good ones, and about five hundred fair-to-middling ones. So I made out pretty well, all things being equal. But I'll tell you what: on a cost:benefit basis, I think I'd rather get my wisdom teeth pulled. Like I said, that shit is some hard work, right there. I'll stick with typing records.
The photo above is from a hike I took yesterday, and unrelated to this post. If you're curious, though, it's about 5 minutes from our house, to give you an idea of what it's like around here. Anyways, tomorrow, I'm gonna drive to the corner of No and Where in central Oregon to go to a gemstone mine and stock up on potential Christmas presents for the various ladyfolk in the family. Red labradorite, better known as sunstone, comes from about 3 places on Earth, and all three of them are in Oregon. Go figure. At one of the mines, you can pay to high-grade, which is essentially renting all their equipment and people for an hour.
So, hopefully, I'll come back with one of these $50,000 monsters. But even if I don't, it should be interesting, and I'll be glad to tell you all about it come Saturday.
Rather than doing backing tracks off a 'puter or MiniDisk, however, I'm going to actually do something I've never done, in the whole history of my live performance career, and have MIDI sequenced drum machines and synths on stage. Every time you've ever seen me play, unless it was [R]evolution-era live no net, there have been pre-recorded backing tracks. This time, it will be sequenced (I only have two hands, after all) but everything will be coming off the individual instruments appropriate to the sound, so the sound man actually gets drums, bass, whatever in separate channels, rather than a big fat 2-track feed that he can't actually mix.
If that doesn't make any sense, don't worry about it. Suffice to say it'll be sparse, but fluid. Hopefully my boyish charm and manly good looks can carry the show otherwise, right?
I'm going up to Portland tomorrow to pick up the extremely expensive, extremely old Moog synthesizer which will be relegated to bass chores for this Plan. I already have the drum machine, so it's just a matter of little things and putting Logic on my MacBook and making the set.
And finding Miguel, of course.
So, we'll see how that goes, and you motherfuckers on the East Coast (or Midwest, Southeast, South, Southwest, Alaska, and Hawaii) are totally out of luck. But the offer has been made, and tentatively accepted, and I feel like it's getting to be Time. Posted I will keep you, as is my wont.
So I'm going to take a nap while she prances around L.A. doing her manager thing. Wake me up on Saturday.
In any event, I'm getting close to done with Callisto MK II. I'm probably 80% of the way done; I have to mix at least one track again, and some friends of mine from another audio software company are about to release some mastering tools that I'm kind of waiting for. But otherwise, that is nearly there. As soon as that's done, I'm going to begin work on the next CR album, and Wade and I are going to do another Scanalyzer record concurrently. So that should be fun.
I'm currently shopping for the gear I'll be using to make the next CR album; I'm limiting the palette extensively, to concentrate on the songwriting itself. I'm actually going to make a mobile system and record some of the songs out in the deep woods, in the open air. That should be fairly amusing. I'm going to experiment a lot more on this album than I did on the last one, so be ready for that.
...primarily because it's a new car. We traded in our Caliber R/T on a Nitro today, and joined the SUV Herd. I guess this means we can no longer complain about SUV owners.
However, for what it's worth, we are exactly the target demographic for "real" SUV use; it isn't for driving to Costco to load up 55-gallon drums of Miracle Whip because we're hosting our kids' soccer team in the back yard of our suburban paradise. We actually live in the woods, in a place with weather, and do active things which actually require 4WD.
In any case, it's a pretty nice whip, all things considered. There were some things I really liked about the Caliber (hello, tiny 'frig in the glove box) that are lacking in the Nitro, but what I do like is the fact that it has much more horsepower but weighs only 1/4th more. This results in a significant increase in relative power. It's pretty beastly looking, too.
And yes, we got the towing package.
Elle was a little unhappy to see the Caliber go, but this guy fits our lifestyle better, plus can you say "lifetime powertrain warranty" ten times fast?
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