Monday, December 7, 2020

Indiana Streaming Broadcast Test

Finally got fairly good quality video and audio throughout! As opposed to when I tried in early spring and got mostly frozen video frames and occasional complete loss of the connection. Finally found some ingestion settings that seem to work for music streaming. Hopefully lots more to come!!

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Haunted House Halloween Jam Adventures

And so the die was cast: we would descend upon Ward Acres Park under cover of night to infiltrate the forest with our music and pay tribute to all hallows and the change of season beneath the full blue moon. The plan was scheduled to the minute with digital map aids, ample provisions, communications protocols, and even some contingencies allowed for. But as some of our Mexican forebears might have said, "Si quieres hacer reir a Dios, cuentale tus planes" - if you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.

Halloween came and found Conchi (a.k.a. Kani Bosoorah) and me carving pumpkins, donning costumes, and applying makeup before loading up the car for our adventure. Madame Kani did a very convincing job - though her makeup could have been merely part of an innocuous Halloween costume, the chaotic and severe way it was applied in splotches and streaks across her face made it disturbingly plausible she was in fact on her way to a satanic ritual and out for blood.

We rode to the back side of Ward Acres Park with our gear in tow, including the talismans of our rites, two jack-o-lanterns to be illuminated once we reached the inner sanctum. After driving by slowly with windows down and confirming the site had not already been staked out by Occupy Ward Acres Park, we drove around to the front and met Uncle John arriving stealthily in his car. He looked avuncular as ever but of course has a streak of criminal mischief a mile wide concealed on this particular occasion with some spectacles and an unassuming brimmed hat. Little did we know, but we would soon need him to do some of our dirty work. Good thing Uncle John's poker face is such that he could've just come from burying a couple guys he did a hit on and you wouldn't know the difference. People wonder why that banjo case is so heavy.

We deployed and loaded up the wagon and I hauled it down the road and into the park. First I completely blinded myself by turning on Uncle John's thermite-bright lantern right in front of my eyes. Turns out I needed to cloak the lantern inside my coat in order to actually see anything. I motored in and around the dog run, turning the curve and then penetrating the perimeter of the deep forest. Which was the best way to the haunted house? Already I began to question whether maybe Madame Kani had been correct that five minutes might not be enough to get to the house. I eschewed some muddy paths that might have been quicker and probably walked in circles and often the wrong direction, but after pressing onward for something like eight minutes, I managed to see the lights of Pinebrook Boulevard and Tulip Lane and A COP CAR stopped behind Uncle John and Conchi - what the?!?!

I hauled ass and wagon right back into the park like a hipster pushing a shopping cart in the Idiotarod. Back into the depths I wheeled (thankfully, by design, the cart was not heavily loaded) until I found a somewhat sheltering tree beneath whose shade I could conceal my misdemeanorous ass and little red wagon. Breathing heavily, I peered back into the darkness to see if I could make out what was going on with the police on Pinebrook Boulevard.

From newly named Fugitive's Grove, maybe 300 feet from the road, I could see that a uniformed officer had left his car and was interrogating Uncle John. It looked peaceful enough, but I knew that even though John was white and an elder, the cop could get bent out of shape and put him in a chokehold or force him at gunpoint to reveal that I, his co-conspirator, Trevor Milton Alarcon de Escartin von Hochman, was hiding out in the forest with a wagonload of trouble up to no good. And then the Rambo-like manhunt in Ward Acres Park would be on, police with their bloodhounds and searchlights penetrating deeper and deeper into the forest as I flee at breakneck pace, eventually ditching my wagon as a ruse and climbing up a tree in the opposite direction after running through the water to get the dogs off my scent.

I hauled the wagon farther into the darkness to put more space between me and the long arm of the law before ringing John to figure out, "Trouble, Uncle John?" He confirmed that a curious cop had pulled up to find out why he was stopped alongside the road, but John had explained that "these aren't the droids you're looking for; move along," and the cop had bought his prepared-in-advance excuse of stopping to make a phone call. Good; cops were gone and none of us in the paddywagon. But now the Pinebrook Road entrance was out of the question; John and I agreed to meet at the front entrance, where soon Michael and Jon would soon arrive at 11:30.

Realizing I'd have to pick up all of the instruments and gear at the front entrance, I first returned eastward and this time actually reached the haunted house, where all was well and no cops nor miscreants were in sight. I stashed all of the contents of the wagon on the edge of the porch and hauled it back - I thought! - whence I had come.

But my flight into the woods had further disoriented me after not having been on sure footing in the first place. I pulled the wagon through an open path and eventually found a berm to my right that I took to be the eastern perimeter of the dog run, so I continued until I could make a right around the front (south) side of the dog run and then present myself at the park entrance. However, as I pulled around to the right, I found my path more and more rocky and brambly, gradually elevating as well. I spun around and saw in the distance to my left a road I presumed to be Quaker Ridge Road, the southern park border. Nope - have to keep on into the brambles.

And so I came upon a dilapidated, overgrown shack that made our haunted house look like the Ritz. Beyond it lay an uphill haul into the rocky darkness choked with branches and brambles. Turning to my right, I almost fell into a swamp just a few feet downhill. I mentally conceded that I'd need to turn back, climb to the road I'd seen, and come around the park the long way on the street. Retracing my steps and then ascending the hill to the oasis of pavement and street lights, I began to concoct a plausible fairy tale to tell anyone who stopped to help or inquire as I walked along the side of the road with what probably looked like a wagonful of IEDs.

Lo and behold, moments after reaching the street I realized I'd been lost in the park and completely mistaken about where I was - I had not been in the southern section at all but had instead traveled west after getting turned around, and now had emerged on Broadfield Road amid trees just over a hundred yards north of where we'd parked. Soaked with sweat in my tie, three-piece suit, and heavy jacket, I silently celebrated as I pulled the wagon south along the sidewalk, taking advantage of unexpectedly arriving from the north to surprise my companions. Believe it or not, it was just a few minutes past 11:30pm.

Michael, notorious for traveling hundreds of miles over two continents to join jams, and Jon, who lives only a few minutes away but had not yet explored Ward Acres Park - though he had discovered from his parents that our house was most likely the formerly legitimate haunted house of yore! - had arrived and were chatting with Conchi and Uncle John as I pulled up. We greeted each other, readied our gear, loaded up the cart with guitars, bass, amp, power block, and supplies, and headed into the park.

Thank goodness all my companions were as stalwart and patient as they were (although as we searched the park perimeter for the nearest entrance, Madame Kani did look like she was ready to rip a few tree trunks out for obstructing her path). We found an opening next to the dog run, but alas, in my haste to heave the fully loaded wagon into the park and over the prolific tree roots woven thickly over the entry path, I upset the wagon, and everything spilled out onto the forest floor with the wagon walls ejected as well. My companions collected the scattered instrument cases and instead of beating me vigorously with them for my stupidity, helped recontruct the wagon. We sallied forth into the park and flanked the lengthy western fence of the dog run.

I led the group on a meandering path through the park that from above would look like a panel from Bil Keane's Family Circus, at one point leading us into a questionable field and running across sans wagon only to confirm it was wrong and we needed to turn back. But thanks to the patience of the crew and the kindly shining moonlight, over dubious mud-filled paths weaving among trees we somehow finally made it to the haunted house, where the gear I'd stashed was awaiting us, and we hunkered down and set up for some midnight Halloween jamming.

We jammed from just after midnight until 2am, then turned the clocks back to 1am and again played until after 2am, finally wrapping up close to 3am. What a great time, and great music with a wonderful group. Thank you Conchi, John, Michael, Jon, so much for making it a very special Halloween. Photos of our Halloween adventures follow.

Halloween Jam for TH Blog

Epistle of the Hudson Family Halloween Haunted House Jam

It started with a Westchester parks reconnaissance mission on an August Sunday when the Riverside Park jam was rained out. I scoured Google maps and photo data then set out by car to visit five candidate parks, one of which was Ward Acres Park, which I'd been enticed to by a single photo of an abandoned-looking house with a covered porch on its border seemingly in the middle of the woods. Upon returning from my research, I reported the following to the group.

8/16/20 -- To: Riverside Park Jam Friends
Hello, friends. Since it rained on our Riverside Park musical plans today, I undertook a research and reconnaissance mission to several Westchester parks that could provide socially distanced outdoor jam venues with overhead shelter protecting us from the elements, hopefully through the fall and even into some of winter if we're lucky.
Based on the wide variety of options I found just on the first try, I imagine that there are tons of covered park structures throughout the NY metro area that we could musically exploit under pandemic circumstances. This is likely just the tip of the iceberg.
I've posted descriptions and photos of five interesting venues on my blog. For my Westchester pals and the Westchester-friendly, and hopefully to be expanded to more regions upon more recon:

I've created a Google Map to store possible jam venue data and will go about empowering others to add to the map as well:

It was a fun adventure and perhaps will empower us to get some outdoor jamming going in Westchester and beyond. Let's see!!

Best regards,

As the fall progressed and we took advantage of Hudson Park and Lief Eirikson Park, the Ward Acres Park haunted house played on my mind as a golden opportunity. I wondered if Conchi and Uncle John would humor me.

9/10/20 -- To: Madame Kani and Uncle John 
The Ward Acres Haunted House just seems like such a great opportunity for an outlaw bluegrass Halloween jam, including capturing photos and video of our shenanigans. The walk from the front entrance of the park, at its southwest corner, to the house, on the far east side of the park, is a good 5 minutes on mostly flat but sometimes muddy terrain. The house is accessible, however, from a 200-foot paved road running from a back entrance along Pinebrook Road. The back entrance is closed to cars but accessible to pedestrains, so we could stop alongside the road (as I did to get some photos) and drop off people and instruments to take the shorter walk in.
We could do a recon trip there as well if we choose, or maybe even just choose a weekday evening (Monday, 10/26?) date in October as our presumed outlaw Halloween jam date.

A little research revealed only bare bones details about the park's history but suggested I wasn't the only one who thought the Ward Acres Park house was haunted.

10/3/20 -- To: Madame Kani & Uncle John
I found a 2019 article on Ward Acres Park that refers to the crumbling buildings at the front entrance, on the opposite side of the park from our potential destination.
But the article quotes a New Rochelle native (who wants to turn the southern buildings into a line dancing emporium) describing fond memories of "going through the haunted house, an annual event until the early 2000s, when the city deemed the buildings were unsafe" - could this be our haunted house?
Let's continue planning our Mission Impossible Haunted House Halloween jam.

Getting closer to Halloween, I put to Uncle John and Conchi the question of what day and time we could have our Halloween haunted house jam. They both almost immediately replied in favor of midnight on Halloween proper; John said we wasn't even available any other time. Purists - only up for the genuine article.

10/14/20 -- To: Madame Kani & Uncle John
Hello! Looking forward to seeing both of you this evening at Brust Park.
Halloween's coming up, and I wonder what your thoughts are on our haunted house adventure in Ward Acres Park. Here are some options we can consider:
  1. Midnight on 10/31 - The most romantic and arguably authentic option, also the most logistically challenging and possibly most risky. If we choose this option, important questions are how many people we'd like involved and exactly how we will come and go, plus what if any fallback we'll arrange if we're stopped by authorities (fewer options late at night, but there must be some).
  2. Dusk on 10/31 - Still romantic and authentic since it's Halloween proper. This will be logistically easier since our load-in of people and instruments can take place during daylight (sunset is at 5:51pm, and twilight lasts until around 6:30pm on 10/31) if we choose to arrive around 5 or 5:30pm. Possibly, though, being visible as we enter and congregate could end up being riskier than doing the whole thing under cover of night.
  3. Dusk on 10/24 - This is the Saturday before Halloween and therefore, while maybe less romantic, probably less risky. This option also has the possible advantage of permitting 10/26 (Monday) as a rain date in case we don't want to tromp through the mud if it rains Saturday. Probably less scrutiny by authorities on this date, so possibly a good option if we want to include participants who are not already down with the Mission Impossible plan.
  4. Your Option Here - Other options abound - have anything in mind that could be yet better than the above?

More to discuss re. indoor jam dates in November and more, but maybe this is a good item to check in on right now.

Hope you're having a great day! Let's chat about the above one way or another when we can.


"The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men gang aft agley." Our detailed Halloween plan in a note to Conchi & John.

10/18/20, 10:55AM -- To: Madame Kani & Uncle John
Hello! How is this for a Halloween plan:
22:55: We drive by the east side of the park on Pinebrook Blvd. to scope out the entrance (confirming its location) and see if any activity is afoot.
23:00: We arrive at the front (southwest side on Broadfield Road) of Ward Acres Park, assess the situation, and assemble the red wagon.
23:05: We dispatch me into the park with the wagon lightly loaded. Uncle John & Mme. Kani drive to the east side when I text/call or at 23:10, whichever comes first.
23:10: Kani & John drive around to the east side entrance on Pinebrook Blvd.
23:15: The HFJmobile pulls over at the Pinebrook Blvd. entrance to make the drop. I'll be lurking in the woods with the wagon and will emerge to load it up with instruments and gear.
23:20: John & Kani pull the wagon into the woods to the house, meanwhile I drive the car back around to the front entrance.
23:25: I arrive at the front entrance; Kani & John prep the site.
23:30: I meet our musical conspirators at the front entrance and escort them into the park.
23:35: We arrive at the house to unite with Kani & John.
23:40: I make my way back (with Kani?) if necessary (hopefully not) to the front of the park on foot to pick up any stragglers.
23:45: We pick up the late arrivals and return into the park on foot.
23:50: We arrive and are ready to begin.
Things we'll need include a car, lanterns (& candles?), food & drink, black cloaks and/or costumes, charged & in-hand phones, cameras, tripod(s), tiki torches, anything else?
The schedule above is intended to give us a sense of what's required in what order and ample time to accomplish each task. Please let me know your thoughts!
Getting excited to think we're actually doing this.

Our Halloween jam invitation.

10/24/20 -- To: Hudson Family Jam Cadre
Bluegrass spirits and rootsy rhythms will waft ethereally through the misty wilds of New Rochelle's Ward Acres Park beneath the full blue moon if we don't get arrested and hauled away first at the Hudson Family Jam's first annual Halloween outlaw jam, midnight October 31.
A PG-rated version on an earlier day or time was vetoed by the elders, so we are going the whole nine yards.
We will meet at 11:30pm at the Broadfield Road entrance to Ward Acres Park (on the park's southwest perimeter), whence a sentry will lead us into the park and to the Haunted House, where our musical encampment will be set up and waiting. There amid some of the most authentic Halloween decor we shall celebrate All Hallow's Eve and the turning of the great wheel with music and libation.
Hope you are intrigued and interested in this high-stakes musical holiday adventure. If so, please RSVP (just to me) for more information...
M. von Hochman

Our Halloween day coordination invitation.

10/31/20 -- To: Hudson Family Jam Cadre
Happy Halloween! Our haunted house jam is on for tonight!
Michael, Jon, we'll meet at 11:30pm at the Broadfield Road entrance to Ward Acres Park, and Conchi and I will escort you into the park to where Uncle John will await us unless he's unexpectedly possessed. Please text me at 917.501.2761 when you arrive, and if it's not too much trouble, when you're underway headed for the park, so we can coordinate.
It's a full moon (a blue moon!), rising at 10:30pm; hopefully we'll have moonlight. The forecast says 41° and partly cloudy throughout the night, including "the party that never was" from 2am to 2am. Whether or not you costume, dress warmly, including hat, heavy jacket/coat, and thermal underwear. Boots are a good choice if possible as well since the past week's rain likely generated mud. If you have a flashlight or electric lantern, that also could be helpful. We'll provide beverages (hopefully some warm), snacks, a few lanterns and light sources, chairs, and alibis.
Emily, Brian, you've expressed intrigue-from-a-distance about our haunted house jam. It's shaping up to be fun, so you should join us if you can! Please feel free to text me at 917.501.2761 any time today to let me know so we'll expect you at 11:30pm at the park entrance. Careful not to arrive past 11:30, though - we'll be deep in the park from that point onward.
Looking forward to some Halloween fun. See you soon!!

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Some Altered Blues Changes

These blues changes sure are... altered. Tried to weave a coherent bassline through but with some trouble/uncertain spots. Tritone substitutions in measures 4, 7, 10, 11, 20, 22, 24, 26, 28, 36?

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Jam Reconnaissance Map

Here's a Google Map I created to store data on possible jam venues:

I'm not expert at Google Maps configuration but am pretty sure I can share this so that others can add data as well; coming up.

Outdoor Jam Reconnaissance: Kensico Dam

Wow, Valhalla's Kensico Dam Plaza and the dam above are quite scenic in many ways. Lovely architecture, sculpture, memorials, and very importantly, multiple covered stone gazebos and arcades that can accommodate many musicians while social distancing.

The Merritt H. Smith memorial gazebos on the plaza level (four of them!) each could accommodate up to 6 musicians while social distancing; no seating inside.

The colonnaded curved arcades on the upper dam level (again, four of them!) are very large and each could likely accommodate up to 12 musicians while social distancing. Again, no seating provided.

The park is open until 10pm through the end of October and until 8pm in November.

 The Merrit memorial gazebos:

 The atop-dam curved colonnaded arcades:

 Scenes from the walk into Kensico Dam Plaza:

 Views from the top of the dam:

 Operating hours confirmed by the cops and park rangers on site:

Outdoor Jam Reconnaissance: VE Macy Park

VE Macy Park in Ardsley has another gigonda gazebo that was pretty actively in use by the community during my visit (unlike the Ridge Road Park gazebo) but if untenanted would accommodate a large number of musicians while social distancing. Ample picnic bench seating in the gazebo. Park officially closes at 8pm.