Archive for May, 2007

Getting rid of old gear..

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2007

So, I’ve been steadily craigslisting off redundant and excessive hardware.. we moved from a 1500 sq foot house to a 1200 sq foot house, and that 300 sq feet somehow ended up all as stuff in my garage.. so as I craigslist, I can slowly see the amount of space in the garage increasing. What’s tricky is to know what I will and won’t regret selling – some things are obvious, like the Studio logic keystation 88 pro – memorable mostly because I used it as a master controller for two shows of MC, and also because I really, really hate it. Unfortunately, so does everyone else, so even though I’m selling it for half the new price and including a hardshell case, no one has yet bought it. Part of the problem is that I have to answer honestly when they ask if it will be good for (for example) practicing piano. About the only thing I think it’s good for is someone who wants to play synth lines in Reason or something similar – frankly, I’m amazed at the thing’s ability to suck. However, since I can’t make myself throw it out, this means I may be stuck with it until the end of time… *sigh*..

However, there are things where it’s far less clear whether I should craigslist them.. I have two electric guitars – a fender squire and a Jackson dinky reverse.. I don’t really like the Fender that much.. but it was my first electric guitar, and when I took it out to photograph it, I just couldn’t make myself put it on craigslist. Ditto with my Roland guitar-style keyboard – I will never need it unless I actually play in another band that does stage shows, which doesn’t seem that likely – still, it was *hard* to get, a special order item, and I really don’t want to sell it off. Ditto that MIDI pedalboard – I can’t play organ pedals with my feet very well, and I never have enough space to really set it up.. but there’s always that dream of learning..

I’m a horrible packrat. I’ve finally convinced myself that if I’m not using a peice of hardware, and I could easily buy it later, I should sell it – I’m *out* of space, and I really need to lighten my load.. I’ve been deliberately pricing stuff low in the hopes that it will move fast, and some of it does and some of it doesn’t.. many of these things apparently only I think are incredibly cool (like a 12U 8-stereo-channel summing mixer)

Fscking cool..

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2007

As most of you know, I was in a band, Mischief Committe, that did live jam electronica. As such, I tried many, many beatboxes, drum machines, samplers, etc. I bought much gear on ebay. As it happens, I bought one peice of gear right before my spending days came to a end because of my plunge into debt that I never got around to checking out.

I found it the other day while I was digging through stuff to find the stand for my favorite digital mixer – it’s a XL-7 by E-mu.

In theory, it should be just another sound module / sequencer combo. Except that it has the following features that put it heads-and-shoulders above any other I’ve ever used

1) Can save a pattern while in playback
2) 16 track recorder, any of the 16 tracks can be assigned to *any internal or external* source, and it has *TWO* MIDI outputs
3) Can toggle between recording and playback on the fly
4) Can toggle between quantizing input and not quantizing input on the fly
5) Can load it up with E-Mu option ROMS – I had several that needed homes, and so now I have the XL-1, QROM, and Planet Earth sampleset internal

Now it is true that it, like my Access Virus, takes up far more than it’s share of rack space – just like the virus, it’s like 10U. But, I think it’s worth it. I had to remove my Halcyon voice processer, but my singing is truly crappy anyway and it’s definately more in the cagagory of a fun toy than something I would ever use at a show.

That said, I’m wondering if any of you are interested in a WSHR broadcast – just like the old school ones, only missing Tory and Alex – you’d have to deal with my rather warped notions about rhythm, but if I can find 3 interested listeners, I will schedule a date and do one.. IDM/trance


Wednesday, May 23rd, 2007

Lately I’ve been thinking that Spider Robinson has the right approach – just assume that everything will be fine, even in the face of all the evidence that it won’t, and keep on building on the assumption that things will come togeather. I would observe that every project I’ve ever successfully built has come from a willingness to just start out with a scratch version that’s utter crap and keep on improving until you end up with something good. A certain amount of patience is also important.

Speaking of Spider, I read a short story of his yesterday that was oddly well timed for my current mental space.. ‘Melancholy elephants’ – it talks about intellectual property, and how few original songs (for example) there are.

The number-line theory that I talk about has a interesting corallary, by the way – it says that not even God, if there is one, can create or destroy information. You can move it in and out of scope for the current universe, but it always exists – you can’t get rid of it. 😉 Perhaps this is why we’re immortal?

recording project..

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2007

I was once a part of a recording project to record the band Wheels of Autumn. It was a classic PC-recording gig, using a Echo Layla and a ADAT deck – 8 channels from the Layla’s internal a/d, 8 more via ADAT using the ADAT deck as a A/D. It had whatever mics I could afford, a Alesis Studio 32 as mic pre’s, and in general was done about as ‘wrong’, from a recording-pro standpoint, as you could possibly do. I used Cakewalk 9 to actually record it. 😉

That said, I went out on the net and tried to find the band that I recorded so I could listen to some of their stuff recorded ‘right’, and completely failed to do so. So, here is my recording. No money changed hands – I just showed up at a jam session one weekend and recorded it. If any of them show up and ask me to take it down, I will, but it seems unlikely at this late date.

They were good enough that the track still shines through all the things I did wrong in recording and mixdown. Somewhere I still have the masters on disk, although assembling a computer that would know how to open a cakewalk 9 project file might be tricky, and I have at least three mixing jobs in my intake hopper that I haven’t done yet.. (sorry, Mike!) so it’s not likely to happen anytime soon.

Wheels is very similar to Phish and the Dead

That said, the tracks are at

Here are the lyrics for ‘Headlights’:

Sunshine watched the summer end
with just a taste of snow
so it was a far off chance..
changes, they come and go..

she watched the bluebells (?)
fell to the ground to hide
the next generation would never know
of the knot that had been tied


Shine on, let the sun shine in, shine on
Shine on, feel the warmth within, shine on
Shine on, freedom to this land
’cause the children of the sun are gonna take a stand
Shine on..

Darkness filled the city’s heart
the people watched the moon
it came and went as hours spent
aging in the room

And of all the poeple who’ve been set free
from the darkness to the light
remembering sunrise and sunset
and the ying yang, black and white


[approximately 12 minutes of jam]

The was a child who came to town
with just a pencil in his hand
he drew the sun shining through the tress
he loved the sagebrush land

He showed it to the moon that night
and hung it inside of his room
the next day sunrise gave off first light
he said ‘Sister, shine on through’



Good luck figuring out what their lyrics mean, but the song is wonderfully upbeat… 😉

As per request

Sunday, May 20th, 2007

Pictures of my current layout:

For some reason I find playing with model trains more relaxing than most video games – I suspect it’s because there’s not much sense of ‘winning’ and ‘losing’ – it’s relaxing in the same way simcity is relaxing – and yet very challenging at the moment because I’ve got all these used cars from ebay all of which have something wrong with them and I’m learning to do micro-surgery on them

In the meantime, I’m hoping to get back to working on my car this week – the mk3eb project has been stalled for more than a month, and that’s just not good. Also I’m hoping to do more music.. I’m going to try to scale back some on work-work – not back to 80 hours, but my new attempt is going to be to limit myself to 100 hours a pay period. As near as I can figure, that will still let me pay off all my debts before December (if nothing goes wrong) and all my credit card debts by the end of July. (Again, if nothing goes wrong).

One of the things I’m looking forward to is unless something goes really wrong, my next paycheck will pay off my 31% card, leaving me with no obscenely high interest rate debts.

I’ve decided for fun to try and pay off one credit card per pay period. I won’t go into why this is difficult, but I will say that it requires enough strategy that it took me a fairly complicated spreadsheet to figure out how to do it. However, if my theories are correct, I should be able to pay off one card per pay period until they’re all paid off.. at which point I will feel $20,000 lighter. I actually think my credit cards are a major source of worry and depression for me – the fear of what awful things could happen if I lose my job..

I’d really like to have a year of operating expenses in the bank – theoretically, not that I usually like to look this far ahead – but theoretically, by the end of 2008, I will.

Grr argh

Sunday, May 20th, 2007

So, I bought some passenger cars for my train set on E*bay – they were described as ‘Like new’. The trucks won’t hold the wheels, the couplers are all damaged.. my question is, do I give bad feedback? I hate giving bad feedback.. I’ve only done it once when a $500 item completely failed to show up. [at which point I discovered that paypal’s money back guarentee is useless because it only applies for like 20 days after the transaction – and generally you give at least 14 for things to show up, so you have to apply for it inside a week or so, and then they want you to do arbitration first.. anyway, that’s the only time I’ve ever given bad feedback on ebay – but, at the same time, the trucks and couplers are clearly damaged on all four cars.. these are *not* ‘like new’.

Don’t know what to do.



Friday, May 18th, 2007

I’m becoming one of those people who only reads the first few paragraphs of news articles. Gah. I hate this in myself.

Friday, May 18th, 2007

Wow. I should have read the second page. (And not underestimated the cleverness of the GNU people.. ;-))


Friday, May 18th, 2007

(as I ponder installing linux on my desktop..)

is there anywhere I can send a donation that will help the opposing side on this lawsuit?

For that matter, how does one sue ‘linux’? That’s like suing ‘terrorism’. I suppose you could sue individual distributers of it..


Friday, May 18th, 2007

It’s occuring to me that microsoft isn’t really equipped to deal with a protest the size of the ones that happened in Seattle before.

If I ever had any doubt that the evil empire was evil – and I admit, for a while I did – well, there’s no doubt any more.

What can I do to singlehandedly help destroy microsoft corperation? Any ideas?