Tuesday, February 28, 2006

The eyes of Texas are upon you, you cannot get away

Picture of the newly finished control room of my friend Michael's new recording studio:

Contrast it with this image from just a few weeks ago:

If anyone wants to see the whole construction process, here is a link to a photo album of the building process: http://share.shutterfly.com/action/welcome?sid=8ActWrhk2cNnFw

I had a great time with this studio. It has every convenience we could think of, to make the task of creating music easier, more fluid. Every type of signal can be routed anywhere. Any kind of tie line is available, at any time. When the lead singer says at 3:00 AM that he wants to take the lead vocal back out through a guitar amp to distort it, rerecord it while videotaping the whole process, my friend can now say "Gimme a second to patch it up" and literally that's how long it will take.

One thing I always stress to my clients when doing the technical design of modern studio is that creative decisions should never be constrained by technical limitations. One should never be forced to abandon an idea because the technical infrastructure won't allow it.

A process that has become commonplace is for the guitarist to sit in the control room during overdubs, for several reasons: better communication without headphones, abiliity to hear the actual sound that the engineer & producer are listening to, and collegiality. To this end, I installed 1/4" intrument and speaker tie lines between the control room and all other spaces: iso room 1, iso room 2, the lounge, and the apartment upstairs, all with extremely high quality low capacitance instrument cable, and heavy guage speaker cable.

We also installed video, Cat5, MIDI, and normal audio tie lines between everywhere. And all the audio wiring is Digital (AES/EBU) cable, so any tie line can be either analog or digital, no worries ever.

The room is 5.1 ready in all areas, merely add surround speakers. In other words, this is a world class small studio.

One way I analyze studios I build, when feeling a little "glass half empty" is how few screw-ups took place. The good news here is that there were none. That's not saying everything was perfect. But when it is all said and done, there will be no technical limitations to this room.

Everything is possible, including greatness. One simply needs to reach for it.

Friday, February 24, 2006

I been in the right place, but it must have been the wrong time

In our never ending battle for Truth, Justice, and The American Way, I hereby inaugurate a new irregular series, tentatively called Right Is Wrong. Here's the first installment.

While using Blogger's most valuable tool, the next blog random button, I found this:
Scientific Myths
Tom Bethell has exploded a heap of the current scientific myths in the latest of the PiG series by Regnery: A Politically Incorrect Guide to Science. After reading this book the reader is left wondering what major scientific cause, whether African AIDs, cancer research, global warming, plus a swathe of environmental issues, or cloning and so forth, hold any validity. Bethell's book is a demolition exercise, where the politicising of science and the failure of the press to report independantly and honestly, has bolstered the whole edifice of these "good causes". We rarely hear a dissenting voice; the press has lost it's edge, it's nerve and thus it's ability to be a protection against lies and encroaching political power.

This would be great book to use with older children, perhaps in homeschool context, to review the issues and discuss each topic.
Clearly the Regnery reference should send everyone screaming into the night. If everyone weren't so lazy. Besides, my knees hurt. So we'll just sneer in disgust. Yet, unsurprisingly, there's more:

Malachi's argument runs like this: "You are despising God, in the way you worship, but one day the whole world is going to become worshippers of the Lord!" Malachi is always pointing out into the future – when He will be worshipped in all places, across the world, in all nations – he is looking to the new Covenant. As Adam Clarke put it: "The total abolition of the Mosaic sacrifices, and the establishment of a spiritual worship over the whole earth, is here foretold. The incense of praise, and the pure offering of the Lamb without spot, and through him a holy, loving heart, shall be presented everywhere among the Gentiles; and the Jews and their mock offerings shall be rejected. "
This implies the fact that Israel was to be rejected, for their contempt and their falling-away from the Lord; their covenant-breaking. That transfer happened during Jesus' ministry and was enacted in AD70 when the Temple was destroyed by the Roman armies.` But it's not over – we are sitting here!
The point: what is certain is that God's name is to be glorified all across the nations, the Gentiles. Let's get this straight: what is God's purpose in history, before the Return of Christ?
1.To fill the world with the Gospel
2.to transform and disciple all of the nations of the earth;
3.to truly save the world.
For about the last 150 years the Church has shifted it's focus on to the any minute Return of Christ, (a la Left Behind) rather than the work of evangelizing the whole world and working for Gospel transformation in all area s of life and culture.
The fundie right has a schizophrenic problem with Jews: they must revile them as "not saved," yet they must embrace them as God's chosen people. Tough problem to solve. Kinda like "Love the sinner, hate the sin." Could it be that G*d wants us to learn tolerance? Nah.

Here's a blog complaint: Punctuation, spelling, and style matter!
  • It's is a contraction of IT IS, its is a possesive article.
  • When you use outline form, each entry should use the same form. All or none should be capitalized. Make up your mind.
Having said that, I know clearly what church he's talking about. The Radical Right evangelical churches have been harping on the "any minute return of Christ" since around 33CE. In other words, since the guy left, there have been folks who are certain He's coming back any second. I dunno, but I'm thinking that He would want us to be less concerned with the Brass Ring, and more concerned with helping out around here. But hey, I could be wrong.

Lastly, our earnest writer has this to say:

Left Right, Left Right..
My good friend, Laurie Kubiak, emailed these comments the other day, and I thought I would share them here:

" The bitter truth is that intellectual morons from the left so heavily outnumber those from the right that any attempt at balance is futile. There are good systemic reasons for this. The left places much higher value on ideology. The left-winger thinks utopia is the inevitable consequence of placing the means of production under the management of the state. The capitalist just wants to make a buck. When the state fails to deliver utopia, the left winger accuses the populace of false consciousness (utopia is here, you just can't see it) and takes steps to stfle debate about the wisdom of placing the means of production in the hands of the state. The one thing he does not do is wonder whether was wrong, and needs to change his ideology. If the capitalist fails to make a buck, he tries new things until he succeeds in making a buck. That's the big difference. The left is theoretical and subjective, the right is empirical and objective. This being so it should come as no surprise that there are more committed ideologues impervious to feedback from the real world on the left. "
This is tough, because I don't know whether to slap this person, or try and refute the argument. But since I'm pretty non-violent, we'll try the rebuttal.

This is crap. Utter crap. The only true statement is the "capitalist just wants to make a buck." Otherwise this is such a distortion of reality that I can think of no real way to dispute it. If you argue with someone who insists that they were taken by aliens in a flying saucer for a ride, where does the discussion begin?

Stuck in the sadness of his mind, the writer seeks to characterize "other", in this case the "Left", as an entity bent on total government control (the "means of production" meme) of his life.

Dude, meet GWBush. He's gonna save you. By spying on you. By torturing you. By ridiculing science, and military experts.

But Christ will reign again. For me. Only me. And not the Jews. Or anyone else.


Wednesday, February 22, 2006

There's a yellow rose in Texas

For the 3 people who have wondered why no posts this week, here's why:

This is an in-progress pic of the custom console holding part of the Digidesign DControl/Icon control surface in my friend's brand new studio in Houston.

Here is the link
for all the pics, all done before I started the technical installation (read" all the cabling, connectors, patching, etc.)

Here is the studio link: Lucky Run Studio.

While this is a residential studio, keep this in perspective: It's a brand new, well constructed facility on a 120 acre cattle/horse ranch west of Houston. No costs were spared, no shortcuts were taken. This is meant to be a first rate overdub/mix facility for my friend's productions. And if he needs larger recording spaces for basic tracking, there are several larger rooms in Houston where he can do initial tracks, and then move to his own studio for the rest of the project.

As I have written many times before, the whole recording scene is changing, and not for the first time. Labels are cutting budgets, and have proven clearly unable to really address the whole downloading deal. As their revenues drop, stupidity increases, and they expect producers to deliver more for less. And at the bottom of the food chain is the studio.

Michael was in a position after selling his Southern California studio to go any of several ways. He chose owning his own studio again. He was financially able to pay for everything outright, so no bank holds any paper. Thus, he hasn't the typical pressure of 'making the nut.' Instead, he can carefully select the projects he produces, and the clients he lets in, and thus hopes to maximize the quality of the music.

I know him really well, he's one of my oldest and dearest friends. And based on that, I think he'll be succesfull.

Mazel Tov, ya'all.

Note: To pull cables through conduits we used a piece of yellow nylon rope I dubbed The Yellow Rope Of Texas. There are a total of around 2500' of all cable types: multi and single channel analog & digital audio, video, Cat5, cue, speaker, instrument, etc.

For the true story of the Yellow Rose, please go here and read. Also here for more info and original lyrics. It's not what you think.

Monday, February 13, 2006

I shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die

Not much more to say that Jane and Reddhedd, as well as others, haven't already covered. I mostly just wanted to use that song lyric. As a side note, the lyric is actually one of those subtle disconnects: Cash sings the line at Folsom Prison to applause and laughter, as even he giggles slightly. Pretty wierd laugh line, about killing someone.

Cheney's stunt, and the follow up in the press, is a bit similar. Some are laughing, some are spinning, some are shoveling manure over the incident, yet a man who, sadly, was foolish enough to befriend and hunt with the VP is at last report still in the ICU. As someone who has spent time in ICU with sick and dying relatives, that ain't where they put you with an ingrown toenail.

I'm going out on a limb here, and we'll see what happens, because my position will be held to un-Amurican, but I hate guns.

There, I've said it. So sue me, NRA members, "sportsmen," cop wanna be's, and all others who worship at the alter of the firearm. As a side note, someone who shoots caged birds with a shotgun, hell, even Bwana who shoots the man-eating tiger with his 30-06, can hardly be called sportsmen. Sporting is when the critter has a chance to eat you as well, like football, or Tyson-style boxing.

I really don't understand the allure of the gun. Let's face it, guns were not designed for hunter/gatherers to increase their food supply. Spears, arrows, and atl-atl's were, as were other thrown weapons. But as soon as gunpowder was invented, it was used as a weapon, not as an improved food collection tool. And that is the context that is always on my mind when I see or even hear about guns.

I know plenty of lovely, liberal, sensible people who also enjoy hunting or target shooting, and that's fine. I just don't. For me, however, it's not simply that some people enjoy Metallica or Dave Matthews while I don't. Those likes are pretty benign, although I'm pretty sure Dave Matthews can be used as an implement of torture. I just can't rid myself of the thought that this device exists primarily as a tool of human death.

In a long exchange on one of my pro audio email lists some time ago, some liberal as well as right wing folks tried to convince me to be appreciative of the engineering aspects of firearms. I suppose so. I could also study the engineering genius behind the rack, iron maiden, or guillotine. But I don't. I have no interest in studying ways to kill people. Frankly I got over that about the time I stopped burning ants with a magnifying glass. Having said that, I also appreciate that people who study firearms for a living, and not as a fetish, can and do follow careers into law enforcement and the military, since our country does still need defenders.

And please, not the old tired canard "Guns don't kill people..." No one who ever aimed a rubber band or spitball at someone in anger ever caused another's death. Guns may need people to pick them up, but without the gun, a pointed finger isn't lethal.

Cheney's stunt will likely result in not one damn thing, even his own introspection. For him it's just an inconvenience, and while he may actually like Whittington, he still likes guns, A lot.


Saturday, February 11, 2006

Going back to Houston, Houston, Houston

"Oh my bags are packed,
I'm ready to go..."

Well, I'm off for a week to Houston, home of the Rockets, and some other teams I can't remember.

My mission there, to do what I do: make a new recording studio sing. A long-time friend relocated back there from Sunny Southern California a while back, and sold his studio out here. And after about a year and a half, his brand new studio is almost ready to spring into action. Here's the link:

Lucky Run Studio

Embracing the best of older analog technology with the leader in modern digital recording and editing-Digidesign's ProTools & Icon/DControl control surface, he hopes to become a major player in the growing Houston music scene. And, by extension, draw some clients from San Antonio and Austin.

I'll miss the lovely Pam like crazy. She's my one and only, who keeps me sane and focused. Unfortunately, she has too much work out here to make the trip. But we'll talk everyday, email too, and as she has graciously offered to let me take her shiny new iBook, I'll be blogging from Deep In The Heart Of Texas.

I'll be back Sunday Feb. 19th, the day after the next LA Blogger's Secret Decoder Ring Society Meeting, dang it. I'm sure several of the attendees will blog about it.

We've created a little community of active bloggers here in Los Angeles, with some members temporarily in absentia (Jane). We try to support each other, and have organized several events, including 2 private meet-ups with General Wes Clark, and a meeting tonight with Debra Bowen, a long-time CA State Senator who currently running for the Democratic nomination for Secretary of State.

About 6 or so of us had dinner with Ms. Bowen tonight and talked extensively about her pet issue, election fraud and reform. I'll write more later, but she is one sharp lady, and I will seriously think about recommending her.

So I'll wish myself bon voyage, and Houston, here I come.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Anybody here seen my old friend Martin...

From the almost always civilized Professor Bainbridge:
In the first place, Bush likely didn't go to the funeral "simply ... to pay his respects." Bush undoubtedly had a political motive for attending. Second, so he got harangued? It's small cheese compared to the political purposes to which some funerals have been put:

From some commentors to the Prof:
As with Wellstone, I'm not quite sure why anyone would be outraged that left-wing comments were made at a funeral for a left-wing activist. (With Dr. and Mrs. King it's a little different because the right consistently tries to deny that they were left-wing, but of course they were, and good for them.) This is one of those cute little fake-outrage moments where conservatives, who routinely accuse liberals of treason and perversion, turn around and accuse liberals of incivility.
WOW! One comment about domestic spying, noting there were no WMDS and observing there is still racisim in the South. Maybe 5 minutes (including applause and SOs) of a 6 hour funeral.

How does this even compare, politically, to the week long deification of Reagan as the savior of the Western world and conservative politics?
It seems the manufactured uproar is over "disrespect" shown to the President at the funeral of someone who spoke truth to power. How could the King family be upset by eulogists speaking truth to power?

President Bush and the current Republican Party insult King's memory on a daily basis at home and abroad.
If those closest to someone want to make political statements about someone who made a lifetime of political statements, who is a windbag like Jonah Goldberg to complain? He wasn't invited to speak at the funeral. He didn't know the deceased. It's the pundits who are being despicable here. Now they can tell us whats appropriate or not at our own funerals?

Sensible people do indeed inhabit the Prof's world.

But then we have these folks:
I think Perry's right. Some conservatives are upset because President Bush would have been criticized by the left over the funeral no matter what. He didn't go to try to get political points but to avoid losing them by "snubbing" Dr. King's family.

I agree it's a minor matter, but my disappointment with President Carter and Rev. Lowerey's remarks is that I think the funeral of Dr. King's widow could have been a time of reaching out to each other to affirm the things we have in common and the progress our society has made on racial issues since Dr. King's death. Instead, we got trite political rhetoric, which we have all heard before, on subjects having little to do with race.
A time of freakin reaching out? What kind of kool-aid are you drinking? Reach out now and your likely to have your wrist watch stolen by Abramoff, and your wrist actually slit by DeLay.

Bush doesn't give one rat's ass whether anyone would perceive him as "snubbing" the event. Since he has failed to address the NAACP with no visible anguish, one might conclude that he doesn't care about opinions held by our melanin enhanced brothers and sisters. He clearly went to acquire some 'political capital', and as the event was free of White House scripting and managing, he got a dose of what real folks think. And I'm sure it pissed him off. He, who has no air of self-inquiry, or any awareness of life beyond his tortured world view, would never, ever, stop to think: "Why are these people upset? Is there something to all this?"

As long as dupes like this commentor believe that the Radical Right has a franchise on nobility and civility, they'll never acknowledge the truth. Must be nice to live in Rush's world. So little thinking, so little imagination, so little empathy.


Update: Yeah, I spelled perceive wrong. I'm really sorry. Whatever.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Hail to Power and to Glory's way

tbogg takes apart Powerline mouthpiece, and I do mean piece, Paul Mirengoff:
Farmer Ted: This information cannot leave this room. Ok? It would devastate my reputation as a dude.
Samantha: No problem.
Farmer Ted: I've never bagged a babe. I'm not a stud.

Keep in mind the scene from Sixteen Candles when Farmer Ted asks Molly Ringwold for her panties and then uses them to impress his fellow nerds.

More about Mirengoff

Who are your intellectual heroes? > David Hume, Adam Smith and George Orwell. Among active intellectuals, Norman Podhoretz and Charles Krauthammer.

What are you reading at the moment? > Preventing Surprise Attacks: Intelligence reform in the wake of 9/11 by Richard Posner.

Who are your cultural heroes? > Lynne Cheney for promoting the study of American history and David Horowitz for promoting free speech at colleges.

. . .

If you could have any three guests, past or present, to dinner who would they be? > Alexander Hamilton, Henry Clay and Abraham Lincoln.

Dude, Lincoln would bitch-slap you into unconsciousness.

OK now, let's talk.

Pajamas Media?

Pajamas media?

That anyone even says these words is a sign of mental breakdown.

That they bought into some marketing moron's vision for the 'high concept' in the name is to be ridiculed.

These dolts are no smarter than a middle school debating team from a state mental hospital. At least Powerline sounds, you know, powerful. As powerful as Lemon Scented Pledge.

But Pajamas Media conjures images of Hugh Hefner in his dressing gown, without the beautiful women and wealth, without the creativity and cleverness (I know, that was a long time ago), but with the nerdy affect of someone, like Hugh, who believes in his own PR.

But it's really Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard, it's Fabio doing anything, it's Brian Boitano skating with the Kings. It's people who are so deeply enmeshed in their own toilet training that they feel it is of some great import.

But like all diaper products, it needs to be flushed.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

I can't get no satisfaction

I don't think I've ever seen as dismal a performance by audio professionals as the Rolling Stones set during Super Bowl XL. The Stones were wonderful, but whoever was mixing really was on crack. No excuses. This show was rehearsed several times, backup systems were in place, hard wired mics ready to go in case the wirelesses died, stage monitors in case the in-ears failed, etc.

And yet, the mix sucked at first. Badly. While I've never worked a Super Bowl, I know plenty of people who have, and it's all really experienced professional audio folks.

I don't get it.

Shouldn't have happened.

Someone's in deep doo doo.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Well, then I do imagine there will be sorrow

Remember this?

And this?

Terrorist attacks, right?

From the Department Of Unintended Irony, the GWBush administration says:

The State Department has told the Syrian Ambassador that Syria must act decisively to protect all foreign embassies and citizens in Damascus from attack. We will hold Syria responsible for such violent demonstrations since they do not take place in that country without government knowledge and support.

We urge all governments to take measures now to lower tensions and prevent violence, including against any diplomatic premises and against businesses and individuals. We stand with our friends and allies in urging a constructive and peaceful dialogue emphasizing respect for all religious faiths.
So violent demonstrations that take place in Syria are with government knowledge and support. Is it just me, or have we entered tinfoil hat territory again? What about violent demonstrations that occur in the US. Please explain.


Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Dynamite's in the belfry playin' with the bats

From one of my pro audio email lists (I work in the recording industry in Los Angeles) came the following tonight, after the SOTU address:

An early assessment of Lex Bushusuru II, 2006

Gentle reader, if you prefer comforting lies to harsh truths, don’t read this column.

The state of the union is disastrous. By its naked aggression, bullying, illegal spying on Americans, and illegal torture and detentions, the Bush administration has demonstrated American contempt for the Geneva Convention, for human life and dignity, and for the civil liberties of its own citizens. Increasingly, the US is isolated in the world, having to resort to bribery and threats to impose its diktats. No country any longer looks to America for moral leadership. The US has become a rogue nation.

Least of all did President Bush tell any truth about the economy. He talked about economic growth rates without acknowledging that they result from eating the seed corn and do not produce jobs with a living wage for Americans. He touted a low rate of unemployment and did not admit that the figure is false because it does not count millions of discouraged workers who have dropped out of the work force.

Americans did not hear from Bush that a new Wal-Mart just opened on Chicago’s city boundary and 25,000 people applied for 325 jobs (Chicago Sun-Times, Jan. 26), or that 11,000 people applied for a few Wal-Mart jobs in Oakland, California. Obviously, employment is far from full.

Neither did Bush tell Americans any of the dire facts reported by economist Charles McMillion in the January 19 issue of Manufacturing & Technology News:

During Bush’s presidency the US has experienced the slowest job creation on record (going back to 1939). During the past five years private business has added only 958,000 net new jobs to the economy, while the government sector has added 1.1 million jobs. Moreover, as many of the jobs are not for a full work week, “the country ended 2005 with fewer private sector hours worked than it had in January 2001.”

Sounds pretty good, no?

Well it might be, except it comes from the officially batshit crazy VDare folks.

Remember them? They also write things like:
Mexico was America’s first girlfriend. Her fiery black eyes, her music, her food, all cast a spell over America, and America can’t shake her off. Ask Marty Robbins about her. Remember "Feleena," El Paso," "Devil Woman," and all that inimitable sentiment over a Mexican girl?

But now she’s fat, pregnant, and wants to move in!

Mexico is claiming her rights. She belongs to America, and to everything America has. She says America is the father of her baby.

Whether into our ears, our eyes, or into the house next door, the Mexican move-in seems perfectly natural to many people. The dark side—gangs, criminals, drugs, as well as the decomposition of the economic infrastructure of states and cities due to the "welfare" abuse by illegal Mexicans, has yet to tarnish that glorious stereotype of a simple, beautiful, romantic Mexican girl.
Total fiscal benefits of deportation are thus estimated at $51 billion per year—$25 billion in deficit reduction and $26 billion in foregone displacement losses.

At this rate, mass deportation would pay for itself in about four years.

Plus, of course, we’d get America back.
I guess this means that, while really truly xenophobic, the VDare folks also care about some issues that resonate with progressives.

Or it may just be that they think the Far Right as led by GWBush is simply too liberal.

I dunno. "The enemy of my enemy..."

Nope, they're still batshit crazy. Even a stopped clock is right twice a day.