More YouTubeness

So this is going to be me talking about YouTube video stuff so if you’re sick of reading about it (I don’t blame you if you are) then go ahead and skip over this post, I’ll see you next Tuesday XD


But After dumping out my feelings about the video stuff this Tuesday, it helped clear my head a lot.  That’s generally the reason I keep up this blog, it’s really cathartic and helps clear my head.  But I was thinking about my whole stupid overthinking of making videos and came to a realization that I just need to play each upload by ear.  Before I mentioned having a certain type of song be one video format etc etc but I think doing it that way is silly.  For example, there’s a song I’ve had finished last month and I really like.  I don’t know why, but for this video in particular, I want it to have imagery  that isn’t me singing in front of cam.  I feel like this song would lend better to some animated visuals, but it’s a cover I arranged from scratch so my brain kept on going “You have to record youself on cam, dems the rules!”.  But I really wasn’t feeling it for this one.  So instead of realizing I needed to do another format for it, I dragged my feet on the upload of it and it’s a month late, which is ridiculous!  I think I just need to go with my gut, not force certain videos, and like I said just do what feels right for the song.  I get the same amount of views, at the same speed over a month so why not just post what I feel is right for the video.


There’s another video that I have in the works that I’m super excited to do.  For this one, I really feel that recording myself on video for this one is the right decision.  I’m excited to record on cam for it, so that’s what I’m going to do.  Just like the video I mentioned above:  I didn’t force it, and recording on cam just came to me as the right decision.  So I’m just going to go with what I feel is the right call on a video to video basis, and see how I feel about it.  I already feel good about it just writing this down, so I think it’s definitely the right call.


I’ve also realized, that the type of music I do lends really well to a simplistic style!  Since I do folk, acoustic, and Celtic stuff usually, when I do record myself on cam having it set up the way I usually do is fine.  Because folk music is really Earthy and raw, I feel confident that I can keep the format I have and it’ll work out.  Not sure if I’ll throw in playing some instruments along with me singing, I think I’ll play that by ear too.  May shoot outside sometimes, as well!  Just to get that nice folky vibe in my videos.  Once again, I feel confident this will work well, and can’t wait to get back on the video saddle again, feeling a lot more confident in the production of my videos.  Before, I’d make a video, but I’d be so uncertain about making it.  But I want to go into the second half of this year confident in what I’m doing, no matter what it turns out being, and for me going with my gut instinct always winds up being the right choice for me:  Sometimes I second guess myself, but whenever I go through a cycle of doubt I always circle back to what my initial choice was.  Silly, I know, but it just happens haha.


So the second half of this year (it’s crazy it’s already June) I’m going to focus on what I already planned to focus on, making my videos the best quality I can.  I know now that doesn’t mean be on camera at all times, but instead if means do the video you think will fit the song, and do what you’re comfortable doing for each song on a case by case basis.  And, get some better lighting, so I feel good about recording on video.  Also, don’t stress out about being in full makeup every time I record, because that has been a huge deterrent  for me wanting to record sometimes as well.  All in all, the lesson I take away from  this is: Never give up, trust your instincts!


YET ANOTHER Musical Revelation

Sometimes I feel like I go through the same revelations over and over again but with different aspects of it becoming more relevant to me at a certain point in time, because this definitely lines up with my play easy instruments and make them dynamic revelation I had a few months ago.  Either way, it’s coming up again, so time to blog about it!


While working on a recent arrangement, I wanted to mess around with guitar chords for it.  The guitar VST I got is…well, not that hot (it was really cheap so not surprised) and I started being like I need to learn some basic guitar chords grr grr I’ve had one just sitting around my house for years (seriously, I bought one in 2013 and have touched it maybe twice) when it hit me.
I really don’t want to learn to play guitar.


It’s not that it’s a bad instrument, I love the sound of it.  I just have this aversion to learning guitar, that I don’t have with playing piano.  To have a strings instrument to strings instrument parallel, I don’t have the same aversion to learning the mountain dulcimer – which is a beautiful sounding, folk instrument that you play like a piano.  It’s small, it’s simple, but something about how raw and Americana the sound is just speaks to me in a way that the guitar doesn’t.  Or rather, that learning the guitar doesn’t.


I can see myself using it for arrangements, when using guitar is something I have trouble integrating when I think about using it.  Will it be easy to integrate?  Probably not as easy as I think, but I’m far more open to learning to play the mountain dulcimer than I am the guitar, and I shouldn’t fight that.  I learned that the hard way with the recorder:  It’s a nice enough instrument, and easy to play, but at the end of the day I really wanted an ocarina, so why did I buy a recorder in the first place?  Well, I figured it would be easy to integrate also, which it sort of is but just haven’t found a reason to use it.


So I guess what I’m trying to say is, if you’re going to go the learn to play an instrument route, be sure it’s something you know you’ll really enjoy!  If you can, go play one at a music store, but if it’s inexpensive, why not just buy one and see how you like it?  Once again with the recorder, I would have always wondered if it was for me if I didn’t buy one.  The mountain dulcimer, you can purchase a starter one for 70 dollars or less, so no huge investment to see if I’d like it.  Plus, looking at how to play videos makes it look super easy, and it’s in my current comfort zone of instruments I’d feel comfy buying and playing.  The last instrument I wanted was a stringed one to get my folksy, indi, one woman band complete, so I think that stringed instrument is going to be the mountain dulcimer as far as physical instruments go.  For guitar and other things, I’ll just get virtual ones to use.  If only all of these were free, that would make my life easier~


I also know a few people who play guitar, so if I want something more authentic sounding I’ll just ask them to play for me.  In fact, I’ve done that for a cover I’ve been wanting to do for years, so I’m majorly pumped for that!


So I wasn’t even planning on posting today because I’m freaking exhausted from all the crap I had to do dealing with posting on soundrop for the very first time.  Soundrop is a music distribution site, that was formed from CD Baby and Loudr and I honestly wish it had stayed Loudr because it took like four people for me to get my freaking track uploaded and then after all of that it charged my credit card with the cover licensing fee when I didn’t click on it (the page froze and I closed it, opened email and saw a receet).  I already emailed them asking them how the heck to upload my track because they have some dumb thing where you can choose to upload a track or upload an album and if you upload a track you can’t go through the steps to release it.  Did anywhere on soundrop say that?  Nope.  Nothing in the FAQ, no step by step guide and I should have just waited until tomorrow to finish up because I did the stupid section where you had to pay late at night and this day has been annoying.


Like I said, their sites interface sucks for a screen reader.  There’s nothing telling you how to upload so for the first time you’re just kind of…stuck figuring it out yourself.  I’ve seen major complaints about Soundrop not paying and stuff, but it’s basically the only inexpensive  music distribution site so you’re stuck with it if you want to sell on iTunes, Amazon etc etc.

Oh and did I mention?  I have no clue if the first time I did the distributing took, and it’s just going to send  my track to iTunes or if it’s going to send to every distributor like I did the second go.  Not sure what the price will be either (but it had defaults, where it said 1 track was 99 cents so fingers crossed it’s that) but also fingers crossed they get back to me so we can sort this all out.


I’m going to use Soundrop again, but not because I want to:  because it’s the only cheap option and it pisses me off hardcore.  I’ll have an easier time uploading next time, so that’s something but…ugh, so annoyed.  I’m off the relax.


Sorry for this negative post, I’ll be in a better mood on Tuesday!

Time for a Venting Session!

I’ve been so tired lately it’s annoying. And really not in the mood to do many YouTube-y things.  Well, not exactly that, but my audio quality has been annoying me because I have white noise I hear in recordings and I’ve been pulling my hair out trying to get it off ugh.  It doesn’t help that I want to license the thing with the loud white noise, but at this point I’m probably just gonna release it anyways because I’ve already tried re-recording the vocal and no luck.  The noise isn’t as loud, but it’s still there so…yeah, really not happy about that T_T I’m trying to just release things and not obsess about them being perfect, but this is bothering me so much!  I got some trouble shooting tips from people so I’ll try those for my next cover, but sooo frustrating.


Speaking of frustrating, I ordered an ocarina!  On Thursday.  They didn’t’ mail it out until this morning (and only after I emailed them) so I’m really upset at the company because I needed to get it tomorrow.  So now, I either have to wait an extra week, or have it sitting at a PO box until I go back which probably will not be for at least a month.  I ordered it last week so it would be here by tomorrow, that was plenty of time!  I know the ocarina gets good reviews, but I’m definitely going to leave a review about how wonky their customer service was.  Not only did they wait to ship it out this morning, but they didn’t even respond to my email inquiry.  I emailed them asking why my item hadn’t been shipped yet, and instead of replying with “Oh, sorry, we can refund your money if you needed it by tomorrow” they just…shipped it without even replying, like they didn’t even know I had ordered an ocarina from their Amazon store.  If I had gotten a reply, I would have probably canceled the order and ordered it later, because I really wanted the ocarina this week so I could implement it in covers.  Now, I have the choice of waiting a week to travel to my PO Box, or wait a few months to get it and not be able to use it in covers -_- really upset with this company.  They’re one of the big ocarina companies, so their lack of customer service is really frustrating and I doubt I’ll order from them again.  But what’s done is done, I suppose.


And what gets me about them too, is they didn’t even ship it with express shipping after such a long delay!  Like you should at least do that company, come on.  Raaaage!




I think I may add a few options to the types of videos I’d be doing covers with too, because ugh I’m still not feeling recording for this particular cover and I still can’t put my finger on why.  I have to record video for a collab this weekend, so I may just do it then.  Maybe it’s just because I’ve been feeling bleh lately.  Like I don’t really want to go on camera for the collab but I’m going to out of necessity.  I really need a backup for my covers/arrangements when I’m in a mood like this and just don’t want to be on camera, which probably will be still custom art, or stock footage/animations.  So for covers and originals I’ll have both those options available (though still don’t know how I feel about using a still photo for an arrangement, even if it is custom art lol).  I also want to use game footage for covers too, that would be really fun and another option I’ve thrown on for any cover I do.  I hate that I’m still conflicted about this, it’s not that big a deal and I need to stop stressing about it!
That was a good venting session I needed lol.  Hoping I’ll make a decision with my video styles soon, because I’m getting really annoyed with how stagnant my uploading schedule has been because of something this dumb and probably so inconsequential.  But in my typical way, time to over analyze and over stress about it for no reason~

Something Looks Different Here…

If you haven’t already noticed, I’ve changed the theme of my blog!  I’ve been wanting to do so for a while, after I made my new blog and saw the default theme over there was a lot nicer looking  (and actually showed my links instead of them being in a side bar) so I finally took the time to find the same theme over here and make the switch.  I love how it looks!  I’m a huge fan of the having full blog posts visible format because I personally don’t like having to click read more when I want to read more of a post haha.  And I added recent posts, archives, and categories’ to my bottom menus, yay!  This blog to me was a bit messy, so it’s nice to be organizing it.  So now, at the bottom of the blog, those three categories are there for easier blog viewing!
When I set Categories’  to be a section at the bottom of each post, I noticed I had way too many.  I know I talk about a lot of things here, but I had 23 categories’ which was over kill, and a lot of them were repetitive so I streamlined a bit.  A lot better than the 40 or so I initially had when I first started blogging, and thought categories were tags XD I still would like to narrow down a bit, I’d like to have ten sections to choose from and have eleven right now so still working on organizing those a bit.  Here are the new categories’  and a breakdown of what they used to be:


Life Updates and Chit Chat:  Basically my rants, ramblings, and introspections, and any life update. I had three different sections for this before, so wanted to just make one section for all of those.  I’m trying to move things into that section but I have 200 posts to go through so I’m just going to find what I can and what I can’t will probably be in uncategorized.  Music Updates won’t go here, and will be in my ‘Crystal Dennis Music’ section.

Creative Writing/Poetry:  I just smooshed creative writing and poetry into one category because having two was silly when they are both writing themed.

Composing Music/Songwriting:  Just like above, smooshed these two together

Jewelry Making:  Got rid of all the subsections that were like “Wire work” “chain maile” because it’s all just jewelry making

Cooking/Baking:  I just had this labeled cooking and wanted it to have baking too because let’s be real I do a lot more baking than cooking XD

I got rid of the YouTube section, because the “Crystal Dennis Music” section is where all my YouTube stuff has always gone and I rarely used the YouTube category.  Since Crystal Dennis Music is the name of my YouTube channel, it works!


I also added new links to my primary menu up top.  I added my Patreon page, along with a cool new site I found that works as a one-time tip jar – it’s a super cute idea, so I figured I’d give it a go!  It’s a pay pal to pay pal transfer, and the catch phrase “Buy me a coffee” got me hooked because I’m a coffee fanatic. So, if you’d like to help out with a little tip instead of becoming a patron, that’s available to you as well!
I also added a contact Me form in the primary menu after being told I didn’t have one and it was a bit difficult to get in contact with me.  It’s not that I didn’t want a contact form, but this blogs default theme didn’t have one like the default over on The Blind Nerd had.  When seeing it over there I realized it would be a nice feature, so looked into making one for here and it was a lot simpler than I thought it would be to make, so now if you’d like to contact me, you can click on the contact me link underneath the About Me section!


So yeah, still working on organizing here, but super happy with how it looks so far!  Will I get graphics or a banner made eventually?  …proooobably?  It’s something I’ve debated but I can never think of good art for those sorts of things.  I’d like to get a new URL eventually too but you know baby steps~  Either way, I hope you like the new layout of the blog!  And to think this all started just because I needed to make a contact form for over here XD

Writing Down Negative Thoughts

I’ve been so tempted to just tweet or post on Facebook about this, but one of my major pet peeves is people who tend to vaguebook or vague tweet and I didn’t want to come off as being whiny on any of those pages.  Since writing things down long form always helps me decompress my feelings, however, I will vent on here as I usually do!  Well, not really venting, but let’s just get into it.


For me, when I reach one milestone, it’s like all of these negative thoughts just pop in that are new and foreign, and my old negative thoughts are still slightly there, but barely out of reach.  It’s so frustrating, and I wish I could just beat them away, but I think acknowledging them is a far better way to go about it then just suppressing them.
Now that I have a keyboard, and have been arranging and posting things on piano, my brain keeps on whispering things like “Well, sure you’re arranging stuff now, but you could be doing so much better.  Piano is only one instrument, after all, you should be using more instruments like drums and guitar or else what you’re making is lack luster crap that isn’t really music”.  A part of me finds that ridiculous:  I’ve seen tons of people just use one instrument on their covers and songs, and when they need other instruments they ask for help from other people.  But, for some reason, my brain just keeps on going “Nope, that isn’t good enough, buy more instruments!”  In which, I have and still haven’t used them.  Like, I bought a hand drum, which I plan to use but haven’t yet.  Got a recorder, which I have no clue how to add to songs because of the key it’s in.  Shakers and tambourine are fine, sure, but still I don’t really use them because when it boils down to it, I listen back to my arrangements, and like how simplistic just using piano and my voice sounds.  I came to the realization a while ago that that is just my composing style:  I like using 3 or less instruments, usually I’ve found I just use two and my voice.  Does it sound bad to me?  Not at all:  I really like the end result, but still in my head I go “It isn’t good enough, more more more!” no matter how much people say they like it, no matter how much I tell myself that’s just my style, my mind keeps on saying I need more instruments, because apparently  in my warped negative thinking more instrument’s=the arrangement being better?  (which logically, I know is bull ugh).



On top of that, recording myself singing was stressful my last go around.  I have my Mom look at the footage before using it, and she always criticizes that my face has no expression while singing.  I had to do like five takes before I got something passable, and she still said it didn’t look like I was into my singing.  But, for my past few covers it’s just been a ton of ooing and aahing, and like what sort of emotion or expression are you supposed to put into that?  On top of that, someone I am collaborating with was like “Can you make your video quality better?” and I know that was a vague thing to say they didn’t realize would bother me so much, but it just made all of my recording video insecurities come back to the surface and now I’m back to being paranoid about my quality sucking.  Will that stop me from recording video?  Not at all, but it just shook my confidence a bit and I’m trying to recover from it still.  That along with all of my music insecurities lately, it hasn’t been very pleasant.
that being said, I’ve just been powering through.  Another thing that’s been popping into my head is my piano playing not being good, which isn’t true and also is dumb to think because it’s only been three or four months of playing ugh.  My game plan is to just keep on working towards bettering myself, both musically and with video, because I know that these things will work themselves out.  Did writing them down help?  Sort of!  I do feel a bit more relaxed and less stressed after writing this, so woo~



Pretty Chill Week~

This week has been pretty chill, which is a good thing I suppose.  Kind of just been planning for things on YouTube, and hoping to get to 100 subscribers!  I’m so closeeee:  only 9 more and I’ll be there, and it’ll be such a huge landmark when that happens.  I know it may not seem like much, but just the fact that I’m so close to that is so amazing to me.  I’m hoping I’ll get to that by the end of March, so fingers crossed it’ll happen!


I’ve been trying to decide what I want my baked good of the month to be.  I just saw a recipe for some no bake cheesecake that sounds good, but I’ve already made a cheesecake (want to try and remake that also, didn’t come out fully baked lol) and a coffee cake is an interesting option too.  I mean, I’ve got time, so nbd but I do like to make something at the beginning of the month lol.


Starting to read again has been such a great decision!  I’ve been loving it, like even reading the books I don’t care for has been a blast.  Overall I’ve just been really enjoying reading anything fantasy I can get my hands on, and I’m a little bummed I stopped reading for a few years when reading was such a big part of my childhood.  Books and book culture in general has evolved so much, it’s really fun to be a part of the reading community with the internet as a factor.  It’s so much easier to find books to read, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading any book blogs I’ve found, and any fantasy book I can digitally get my hands on!


Like I said, nothing really to talk about today lol.  Overall, life has been nice and chill.  How has your life been?