We're back, and with a new tune

matthew's picture

I apologize for loyal readers that barnson.org was down from Friday through Sunday morning. I had some strange database weirdness that I still haven't entirely corrected; I've just worked around the problem for the time being, disabling the "top posts" block on the right-hand side. Some of the issues should go away when I upgrade Drupal.

My wife, Christy, is in Nashville, Tennessee attending a conference this week, so I get the two youngest children. My mother-in-law has the older two. It's all right hanging out with these guys, and a Sunday afternoon is quiet enough that I can get some recording done. The noise of my PC has really increased over the last few months, though, and I've found it's fairly loud in recordings. I can deal with the noise by using a noise reduction tool, but what I've found is that doing so leaves a "hole" in instrumental sounds that I can hear clearly when I compare to the original source track. It's just a little bit of aliasing, but it causes guitars to sound just a little more tinny, and voices to lose some high harmonics. I've gotta come up with a better solution for a quiet studio, that includes somehow getting the PC behind a wall, away from my microphones.

I also finally played with making a "pop filter" to help eliminate the harsh sound of "P" and "T" in my vocal recordings. On a tip from a fellow musician, I drafted an old metal coat hanger to the cause. And, whaddya' know, it works! You pull an old stocking (yes, panty hose) over the coat hanger, shape it into a rough resemblance of an oval or circle, and then figure out some way to strap it between your mouth and your microphone.

Oh. Christy. In case you're reading this, umm, I hope you didn't want that old knee-high in the bottom drawer anymore?

I have to kind of work to forget that I'm singing into something that until recently frequently did duty hugging my wife's legs, but I'll manage.

Anyway, it's made a really nice difference. I can get closer to the microphone without popping all over the place, and I don't need the massive chunk of foam inside the mic that resulted in muffled recordings. Small, cheap, and helpful.

The two kids are now quietly in bed for their afternoon naps, and I'm torn: do some more recording, or go take a nap? JJ, our six-month-old, is teething, and, as is the usual with teething, is experiencing an ugly runny nose, fever, crabbiness, etc. He seemed to develop a cough along with it, though, so instead of heading to my mother's house for dinner this Sunday, I'll be hanging out at my house, just chilling with the kids, making music, updating my web site, and making sure they get enough snuggles, particularly the little sick one.

Being a dad is fun.

Oh, right, anyway, I've made it a habit of posting "rough draft" songs on the web site. Here's the latest. Like most of them, there are still glaring errors; when I realize a finished version, they'll be corrected. Notably, I missed several notes both on the guitar and with my voice, knocked the guitar case a couple of times in ways that stand out, and a terrible entrance on "Remember". For those interested, this was a tune I wrote while on a mission for the LDS church some time between 1992 and 1994. Though my religious philosophies have changed a lot in the intervening years, I still think it's kind of a pretty tune.

For those interested in the technical details, for this recording I used a cheap pair of OSM 800 condenser mics spaced about two feet apart, positioned over the twelfth fret and nut of the guitar, at about 24 inches from the mics. I had to yank a lot of noise out using a noise reduction plugin, which made the guitar and vocals a little harsher than I'd like, but I was able to soften them up with a light reverb afterwards.

Here it is (as always, you'll need an ogg-vorbis compatible player, like the free WinAMP to play this tune):

You can download prayer.ogg (ogg vorbis format), download prayer.mp3 (mp3 format), or stream the mp3.


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Timpane's picture


I always loved that song. It must be strange to sing it again. Like singing a song for an old girlfriend.

That said, WIth a couple tweaks, it could be near perfect. very nice.

NVZ: NINJAS VS ZOMBIES - THE MOVIE - www.nvzmovie.com

paul@murphymaphia.com's picture

you know...

I'm all for the latest, nerdiest file formats and all... but what's wrong with mp3 or wav in this situation?

*This signature is an experiment in Google Bombing
mot propre

Timpane's picture


Hear, hear.

I know DVD is the accepted format, and the most important format for music to exist since the CD, but perhaps the DIVX is better. Sure its less compatible and fewer people have it, but we should use it because it might be a better idea.

Waid, did I day dvd and divx, I meant...

NVZ: NINJAS VS ZOMBIES - THE MOVIE - www.nvzmovie.com

matthew's picture


Well, I have good reasons for choosing Ogg Vorbis as my audio encoder (including patent-free format, better sound quality at lower bitrate, and more), but in response to popular demand you can download prayer.mp3 or, if you prefer, stream it. (128kbps variable bitrate, broadband required)

Matthew P. Barnson

Matthew P. Barnson

Timpane's picture


Now give us your lunch money.


NVZ: NINJAS VS ZOMBIES - THE MOVIE - www.nvzmovie.com

emilt's picture



I like this song. It has a nice tune. Also, I like the words because to me the words reflect a love toward God and love toward another special person.

I'm curious about a couple of the comments you posted in connection with this song:

- "I'd discovered, even then, that a road to personal spirituality isn't paved with obedience to church authority, ..."

- "Though my religious philosophies have changed a lot in the intervening years, ..."

If it's okay to ask, I'm curious what road you did discover to "personal spirituality" and also what did your religious philosophies change to?

I hope I'm not being too nosey.
Have a good day.


matthew's picture

Easy answer...

If it's okay to ask, I'm curious what road you did discover to "personal spirituality" and also what did your religious philosophies change to?

I'm an atheist. To be more precise and head off misunderstanding, more precisely I am "atheous", which is a word no longer in common English usage indicating that I attempt to have no position regarding God or gods.

As Justin will tell you, I often fail in that attempt, and for a while I was really rather belligerent about religion being the major cause of evil in the world. These days, questions about religion I can address, but questions about God? Who knows?

Anyway, after several years of wrestling with it, I came to the conclusion that just because I don't believe now, doesn't invalidate the strength of my belief before. Attempting to reject my heritage, history, and culture in an attempt to distance myself from my upbringing doesn't seem to work really well. So I'm exploring other options.

So this year, at Christmas-time, I am enjoying singing traditional Christmas tunes and decorating in the traditional fashion. I'm "into" the season, playing holiday tunes on the radio. That enjoyment is tempered with the understanding that I am celebrating cultural tradition and mythology, not some literal miraculous event.

I find spirituality in contemplation. I'm no Einstein; I don't draw awe an inspiration as much from the stars. But the mystery of self-awareness often draws me, as does coming to an understanding of history, and discovering evolutionary tie-ins for various stuff. I have a passion for reading and debate, though I do much better at written debate than spoken. I think slowly :)

There are days I miss the collegiality of church meetings, or participating in family scripture study and prayer. But the fact is that I simply don't believe, and no amount of pretending or attempting to persuade myself has changed that fact. So I do something else, and enjoy it.

I still don't think one's religion has very much to do with one's personal sense of peace and place in the world. I eschew church meetings expressly because it's so obvious what a tremendous mind-job people -- particularly youth -- undergo in that sort of coercive group-think environment. It hurts most those who believe strongest.

I was a "stalwart". I loved the church. When I began to realize that it was not what it represented itself to be, I was heartsick, and avoided thinking about anything non-faith-promoting for years. But eventually, putting doubts on a shelf in the back of my mind caused the shelf to collapse from the weight, and when I couldn't in good conscience continue to ignore and lie to myself about what the facts meant, I left.

So these days, I'm a godless infidel. To the Moslems, I am kaffir. To the Mormons, I'm apostate. To the Christians, I am an atheist.

To me, I'm happy.

Yet not content. That is actually a good thing. I like this quote from Richard Dawkins:

I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world.

In conclusion, please take what I say in light of the following quote from Michel Eyguem de Montaigne:

All I say is by way of discourse, and nothing by way of advice. I would not speak so boldly if it were your obligation to believe me.

Matthew P. Barnson

Matthew P. Barnson

emilt's picture

More comments

I appreciate your openness and honesty in your comments. I hope anything I say here isn't taken wrong. I'm just telling things as I see them based on my experience and understanding.

Matthew quote: "...I attempt to have no position regarding God or gods."
Matthew quote: "... but questions about God? Who knows?"

Would you choose not to have a position regarding God if you found that he could grant you great things, greater even than you could imagine? That's the God I have discovered.

I was raised in the LDS church all my life. Somewhere in my late 20s, I started questioning things and found reason not to believe. I even wanted to believe that there was no God. I reasoned that if I could conclude that there is no God, then it would follow that there really was no right or wrong. I don't think I really proved to myself that there was no God. What I mainly did, was try to prove his non-existence by ignoring him, not praying to him, and just living my life how I wanted. I did that for around eight years. I guess I did okay "on my own" for a while. But I think that was only because I didn't abandon everything I had been taught about right and wrong. I feel I was still blessed for the good that was left. But living life "how I wanted" did lead me into doing some things I shouldn't have. And it was some of the results of those things that eventually helped bring me back to Heavenly Father and to trust and believe in him far more than ever before.

After giving the Lord a second chance, I have seen His hand in my life in so many ways that I cannot deny His existence. And there is such a great joy in knowing there is someone who is on my side who is greater and more powerful than anyone or anything on this earth. The scripture says that with the faith of a mustard seed you can move mountains (through the power of God, of course). After experiencing the Lord's hand in my life in various ways significant to me, I believe it's true. I haven't had good cause to try to move a mountain, so I'll have to take that part on faith.

Here are some examples some of the kinds of things I've experienced that help me to know that God is there and helps me. Some things here are kind of personal. I share them with the hope that you might be able to see what I see in them--the hand of the Lord or his influence in my life, which attests to me that he is there.

> On a few occasions, I was running late for a meeting. I prayed that I could be there before they started. In several particular cases, although I arrived late, the meeting had not started until after I arrived. I think in a few cases, when it didn't work out that way, it was because I was blatantly at fault for being late. (We have to do our part, of course.)

> This one was kind of interesting: I had been trying to reinstall Windows 95 on my computer several years ago (after Y2K). This was a total reinstall after reformatting the hard drive. The problem was that I would go through the beginning of the installation process and then when it asked for the product ID, I would type it in from the certificate of authenticity, but every time it would reject it and say it was no good. I think I spent several hours trying different ideas and getting nowhere. I had used the disk before and the ID worked, but it wasn't working this time.

After giving up for the night, I was saying my nighttime prayer. I asked for help with getting the computer running again. I think I pointed out that I used the computer for a calling I had and that I really needed to get it working again. During that prayer, I had the impression to change the date on the computer and try the installation after that. I also had the thought come to my mind that Windows 95 was created before all the Y2K stuff, so I should set the computer's date to something before 2000.

When I got back to my computer, I tried that idea and it worked! I know that answer came from God.

> After my wife passed away, I retired from the US Air Force. Since she was burried nearby, I figured we would stay there in Texas (as opposed to moving here to Utah where relatives are). After a few months, the Lord helped put the idea back into my mind of moving to Utah, through some comments from my sister when we were talking on the phone. Something she said just really got me thinking about it. So I pondered and prayed about it for a while. I started feeling more and more it was what we needed to do. In time, I felt that we needed to make a visit to Utah to find out for sure if that was what the Lord would have us do. Before our trip (and during), I prayed that if it was His will for us to move here, that during this trip we would find a house that I could afford on my retired pay and that it would be a house our family could live in.

We spent about a week in Utah during that trip (probably our shortest Utah visit on record). During that visit we found this house that we are currently in. When my three daughters looked at it with me, they liked it and said, "can we buy it, can we buy it?" I was sure that was a sign that we could indeed live in this house. I was able to afford it too. Once I had such a clear answer, I had to act and we started the process of buying the house and also preparing to move. To me, that was clearly the Lord's guidance. It wasn't my expert house-hunting (I don't even think we looked at more than six houses).

> Below is an excerpt from my journal some time after my wife, Jenna, passed away.
22 Oct 04
Today was a good day. I spent a major portion of it at the temple doing two endowment sessions and several sealings. Before going, I had fasted and prayed for two things in particular. One was that I would see or understand some new thing that the Lord wanted me to see while I was there and the other was to feel some sort of indication regarding Jenna-her condition now or something to comfort me or something (it wasn't a request for an exact thing).

I also prayed that I would have a good experience in the temple today, which I very much did (even though I was a little sleepy from insufficient sleep). I feel the other two items were answered too. I did have a new realization regarding the endowment as well as I heard something that reminded me I need to be trying a little harder to keep certain things under better control in my life. That was the "see some new thing."

The other one is a little more complicated to explain. I have been praying to know what to do about Sharon (mentioned above in 15 Oct). As it turned out, I ended up doing sealings with her today. I originally had no plans to go to the temple today, until Sunday when they mentioned not having enough brethren to go because of the ORI on base this week. So I decided since I have no set committments to work etc., I should go and support our stake temple work. But I only signed up for two endowments.

After the second endowment session, Pres. Adair asked me if I could do sealings. I told him I had planned to leave then, but that I wanted to do sealings. So I went in with the others who were doing them at the time. Sharon was one of them. Right at the start, the sealer chose me and Sharon to do three sealings for deceased couples.
So having not planned for any of this, I was there holding Sharon's hand in the appearance of getting married. I felt so much that it was a confirmation from Heavenly Father that it is a good thing, that I should go ahead and focus on Sharon, pursue a relationship with her, get to know her, etc.

But somewhere in all of this, I felt just a short, fleeting feeling that Jenna would approve or that perhaps she had some part in helping bring about these circumstances.

I don't know exactly. It's not surprizing to me though that it wouldn't be some wondrous vision, but only a small indication where I would have to use my logic and reasoning to come to an answer. Anyway, I feel that was my comfort regarding Jenna. It was nothing like what I expected or hoped for, but I think it was better for me in the long run.

The relationship with Sharon mentioned above, is still progressing although we are apart for now because of moves.

This is just one example of how Heavenly Father can work in our lives. If we seek other answers to explain these things, surely we can invent them. As for me, I know that Heavenly Father is there. This scripture is true:

"Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths."
(Old Testament | Proverbs 3:5 - 6)

There are many other examples of the Lord's influence many of which are too personal to me to post here.

If you add my examples to all the testimonies of others who've experienced God's power, guidance, and love, it really leaves little doubt that he lives and knows us and desires to help us.

One interesting thing I have discovered about how God works in this world is this. When he does things, it's normally not to accomplish one specific objective. Usually a particular event or action that he brings to pass will help accomplish several purposes at once.

For example, our moving here gave us more involvement with extended family, gave some new special friends to my kids, new opportunities for the kids, and I find our location here in Tooele is an ideal position to travel to various family members' homes. I can't name every good thing that has come to us through this move, but it has indeed been a good thing. At the same time, our presence here may also be for the benefit of others already here.

Would you, could you, give God another chance? He's there, he does care immensely for you, and he's ready to listen and answer when you're ready to put your faith in him and trust him.

Matthew quote: "... it's so obvious what a tremendous mind-job people -- particularly youth -- undergo in that sort of coercive group-think environment."

Of course, I assume this statement is made on the premise that the things taught are not true. If the things taught are true, would it then be a "mind job" still? If one is truly teaching the truth, I would expect that they would teach it as such and wouldn't leave too many alternative ideas open, such alternative ideas presumably being false or questionable.

Actually, the mind job, I think, is what the world does to people. It uses the media in all its forms, as well as attitudes, fads, advertisements, and so on to lead people down a path that doesn't enhance life, but leads them far from God, who is the source of all that is good--"the light."

Well, I guess I've said enough for one night. Goodnight.

"For behold, this is my work and my glory--to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man."
(Pearl of Great Price | Moses 1:39)

matthew's picture

Moved discussion...

As this discussion is kind of off-topic (and ancient) relevant to the musical piece I put up, I responded here:

Matthew P. Barnson

Matthew P. Barnson

Timpane's picture


I WANT ACCESS.. it wont give me access!!!

NVZ: NINJAS VS ZOMBIES - THE MOVIE - www.nvzmovie.com

matthew's picture


As I wasn't entirely sure that I said what I wanted to say, I postponed the posting of the follow-up for a day. Gives me time to review what I wrote, and make sure I said it correctly.

Matthew P. Barnson

Matthew P. Barnson