Tuesday, November 29, 2005


Tomorrow I get to go "on the road." This will be a little sales trip through beautiful New England, where I grew up. We'll go by car.

I don't like going "on the road." I've traveled many miles and it all starts looking the same. Same Starbucks, same strip malls, same food. I don't mean to sound cynical, but why travel across the country only to eat at the same places you could have at home?

I like home. I like environments I know, like my bed and the studio. The novelty of staying in hotels wore off somewhere in Duluth about 5 years ago. It was f'ing cold, and we had to drive 5 hours to meet the guy who was trying to raise money for the chicken museum. He was cool, but the drive....

Wish me luck.

Monday, November 28, 2005


It was just a matter of time.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Geddy Lee, from the "Power Windows" liner notes, 1986:

Don Imus, from the NBC webpage, circa 2005:

Thursday, November 17, 2005


Tony Alva alerted me that today is the Great American Smoke Out, which is just another example of the The Man trying to ruin My Buzz.

I don't trust big businesses like the American Cancer Society. If they're the Cancer Society, why do they hate Cancer so much? It would be like if Jerry hated his kids. I don't get it.

With the zeal of a newly smitten Tom Cruise, all these ex-smokers talk about being able to finally "catch their breath." Big deal. Being able to catch your breath is overrated. Once you've caught it, what are you supposed to do with it? And isn't all that chasing after your breath good exercise? Do we really want our nation to be more sedentary?

Speaking of exercise, if you've ever gotten out of bed at 3am, dressed, walked down 4 flights of stairs, headed to a deli to buy a pack of Camels, and made it all the way back home, you know what a workout it can be. To deprive smokers of this level of physical activity seems to go against the whole point of the Cancer Society, who seem confused anyhow.

And what about the tobacco companies? If they go out of business, who's going to run their websites that taught me and my peers so much about the health effects of smoking when we were kids? Who's gonna pay for their commercials showing the middle aged, upper middle class gentleman in a tie logging onto their website to learn about the health effects of smoking? By the way, who is that guy, and where has he been for the last 50 years, in an iron lung? He nods so convincingly when he learns that "there is no such thing as a safe cigarette." I don't trust him. I think he's in cahoots with the Cancer people.

There're few things more dangerous than smokers who have recently quit. Think of the potential drop in crime if we not only encourage smokers not to quit, but get more people to start. Not to mention the potential population control aspects. Isn't it getting a little crowded? I can't even get on the L train some mornings.

So, in honor of the Great American Smoke Out, I say light up, Johnny, and let's smoke 'em 'till they're out.


Worked with Machold's old friend Marco (hope that's the right spelling) some more last night - this is the 2nd part of the ProTools TDM rig in the studio deal.

Marco brought his Mac, Digidesign 888 interface, and hard drive over, and we jacked it right into the Soundcraft. Sounds came up in a jiffy on Sunday (Part 1) and once we compressed the hell out the kick (as Marco wanted) we were off and running.

So we finished one more tune last night - that's 5 down and 5 to go. Machold has been a real trooper, and Marco has done all of the "driving" (studio slang for operating the recorder), so we've been able to focus on one thing only - the sound.

It's great, and much closer to the how studios used to run, with one person operating the tape machine (this person was cleverly referred to as the "tape op") while the engineer focuses on the sounds and the producer does coke off a backup singers backside.

It also allowed me to act as Machold's drum tech, meaning I would rush into the studio after every take to make sure the mics were still in position and ask Mr. Machold if he needed any more Perrier or towels.

Also in Marco's rack is a Manley 40dB mic pre, and if you have to ask what this is, you wouldn't understand.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005


The post below was about how much I hate waking up to Don Imus and his crew of laughing lackies.

It wasn't meant to be political in any way (unless you're hoping Imus has political aspirations, which is downright frightening). It was really about how hearing his voice at 7am makes me cringe. And yet, it became a bizarre discussion about... taxes. I don't know Imus's tax situation, and I couldn't care less. My comment about the ranch as a "tax write off" could have easily been a comment about it as a "rural love nest". I honesty don't care what Imus or anyone else writes off. I've got more important things to do, like read blogs and comment on them.

I also referred to Imus using kids with cancer as "child labor," but no one batted an eye.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005


It's Tuesday, and I'm in a funk.

Was feeling sick yesterday - came home from work and went straight to bed. Very achey. Dozed until 10pm, then slept 'till 7:30 this morning, when I was awakened by my old friend, the alarm clock.

I like to listen to WFAN as I fall asleep, but this means I have to listen to Don Imus in the morning when I wake up. Even a second of his voice, before I can hit the "snooze," is too much. I hate this guy. He's arrogant and annoying, and surrounded by yes-men who laugh hysterically at everything he says. Wouldn't it be great to pay people to hang around you for 4 hours a day and giggle uncontrollably at every banal comment you make?

Imus has a ranch, which is a big tax right off and a way to make him feel like he's doing good in the world, as he allows children with cancer to come and work on it over the summer. Sounds like child labor to me, but what do I know about ranches?

Friday, November 11, 2005


I have all of the choir tracks loaded, normalized, and roughly mastered.

The final effects chain will be:

DP DC Notch - in normalizing the tracks I noticed that the left side had a DC offset, which means its waveform is actually not centered at 0. This can cause clipping and distortion even though the wave is not at full amplitude. This little Performer plug in takes care of that. The ADAT's A/D convertors are likely to blame.

DP Trim - used mostly for its long throw metering and to make minor adjustments in the left/right balance. Low CPU overhead.

DP Masterworks Equalizer - the new, big gun, with 7 bands of parametric EQ. Used to... EQ, mostly removing background noise.

DP Masterworks Limiter - I said I wouldn't limit but I lied. Very conservatively used; if you hear it that's bad, but it oughta buy us another 3dB of level.

Elemental Audio Systems Inspector - a decent, free spectrum analyzer. No phase metering, though.

That will be it. There will be some automation on the EQ to remove noise in different ways at different times.


Microdot performs "Left of the Dial" live at TEDSTOCK.

Recorded by the S&M Mobile Unit 3 (not actual photo), live to DAT, using a pair of mics in the audience.

Dedicated by Microdot to Ted, and then to Tony Alva, who does not have a blog but still has a lot to say.

Microdot, as you may know, is:

Mike - bass, vocal
Dave - guitar, backing vocal
Joe (not actual photo) - drums, backing vocal

Enjoy this 192kbps MP3, which sounds better playing from iTunes than streaming. Go figure.

How do I link directly to the song? I don't know. The link itself appears to be javascript. Enter geeks.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005


My brain is almost fully functional again.

I just realized what the Misanthrope was talking about when he asked Jackson where the "Left of the Dial" podcast was. I get it now. Microdot played "Left of the Dial" at Tedstock, and we have a recording of it!

Like I said, almost fully functional.

My goals this week, therefore, are to:

1. put an MP3 of "Left of the Dial" up on one of our many podcasts
2. put an MP3 of "Princess Leia" (aka "Princess of Alderaan") up on one of our many podcasts
3. get a big chunk of the Taize Choir recording mastered and sent off to Atlanta

The schedule this week:

Monday - worked with Noncommercial Records, bounced a live recording of 3 of their bands (Brainwashed Youth, Wolfdowners, and Darvocets) at Northsix into Digital Performer. Some of this material will be released, most likely on CD. This was recorded with the Smoke and Mirrors Mobile Unit 1.

Tuesday - session with House of Blondes singer John Blonde (nee Sea). Mikedot probably doesn't know this session is happening, because they don't tell him anything

Wednesday - session with Silk Sheets, DJ/rapper/beatmaker, partner of Just One. Bumping beats into DP.

Thursday - TBD. Probably Taize Choir.

Friday - session with Mikedot (in his House of Blondes role) to start the next HOB track.

Saturday - TBD. Sleep?

Sunday - session with Marco (I believe that's his name) to record Rob Machold doing some drummin'. This one will be interesting, as I believe we will have a ProTools TDM rig in house.

Oh yeah, and the day job. Yawn....

Monday, November 07, 2005


This is from a blog written by a guy in the Netherlands. Gotta love it, the Dutch are listening to Clevo Hardcore recorded by some dudes in Brooklyn.

"This week I’ve been listening to two other Cleveland bands quiet a lot, two bands that are still around, I assume, Upstab and Cider. Both bands play filthy raw punk with a lot of distortion and a straight forward sound. Upstab have some old Clevo dudes in the ranks, I don’t know who exactly, but I bet some of them have played in Integrity or Ringworm at one time. I know about one EP they have, put out by Even Worse Records/Way Back When Records from The Netherlands, that should be still available. I have some more stuff by Upstab as MP3s, but I don’t know if that stuff is from a demo, another EP or perhaps unreleased stuff. One thing is sure, it’s hard hitting. You can listen to an Upstab track here. Cider feature a better known Cleveland legend, namely Aaron Melnick, though in the insert of the They Are The Enemy EP on Painkiller Records he’s credited as both Brainwashed Aaron and, the classic, A2. They Are The Enemy EP was rereleased earlier this year by Painkiller Records, but I don’t think it’s still available. Next to They Are The Enemy EP Cider put out the Out To Get Me EP on Non Commercial Records in 1994, that is sold out of course. Basically it will be hard to find a Cider record anywhere, so all I can offer you till you do is this MP3. Maybe some day Painkiller Records will put out a Cider discography or do a repress, just like they are about to do with another raw Clevo punk project featuring a (only one?) Melnick, The Inmates. Their Asshole Anonymous LP was released a couple years ago on Human Stench Records, limited to 300 copies only. So if you want to find out more about this obscure Cleveland outfit, be sure to order the LP from the fine folks over at Painkiller Records. I don’t know if their Government Crimes EP will be on the repress as well, but it def would be a nice extra. Listen what The Inmates were about here. To end this part about Ohio’s filthiest there’s one more thing I have to say, and again it involves Painkiller Records, The Darvocets have recorded 6 new songs that will be on a one sided 12”, listen to their Eyes Like Ants to get a little hint as what they might sound like. A lot of info on all these Clevo bands can be found on the Non Commercial Records website."

Yes, these guys record their records, press them, and promptly sell them out. Not too shabby.

Friday, November 04, 2005


I saw "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" again last night (first time since I saw it in the theatre) and thoroughly enjoyed it. Perhaps even more than the first time.

I think the film is a great representation of a book that seems very difficult to bring to the screen. After all, it's hard enough turning a novel into a screenplay (novels tell their stories mostly through internal actions, thoughts and feelings, while film tells its stories through pictures - a huge difference but one many people don't really think about) without having to turn a novel about a book into a screenplay.

Some of the best parts of the book are the excerpts from the Guide, and I think they were handled flawlessly in the film. How? By making them visual, for one thing, which let them retain Douglas Adams' great words and get some extra jokes in to boot.

I also liked the characters more the second time around. Trillian seemed a little less distant, Zaphod actually started to charm me (maybe 'cause he's on a smaller screen, which I think makes a big difference in the perception of an annoying character - and after all, that's what Zaphod was and was meant to be), and Marvin and the Vogons were even better.

Again, when Douglas' name came up in the opening credits, and the dolphins stopped flipping through the air and the music saddened, I really felt it. The dolphins would have stopped dancing to give Douglas his due.

Seeing "for Douglas" at the end choked me up.

I read and re-read those books so many times as a kid/teenager that it's crazy. I really feel like Douglas Adams was a friend. He never let me down, and even now I discover little tidbits of meaning in the books. I think he was actually a great philosopher masquerading as a comic writer, or a bodhisatva (sp?) here to help us toward the light, and I felt the film captured the spirit of wild abandon and beautiful sadness that the books evoked. There's a true love of life in the movie - when they "commence the life cycle" at the end, it's downright joyous.

I miss Douglas Adams, although I never knew him. I miss the idea that he might write something that ends up on his website, or that he might just come out with the 6th book in the trilogy, or that he was somewhere in the world, looking around at the universe and having a good laugh.

I think he would have liked the movie, too.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005



I am almost recovered from the day that was TEDSTOCK.

I have to say, it was quite an experience. By the time I made my way home from Smoke and Mirrors, at about 4am Monday, I was... spent.

It's one thing to party hard, it's another to play live, but to combine them - to the extent I did this weekend - makes me realize that, if put on tour, I'd need some serious looking after.

The show was a blast. I think it's basically been reviewed pretty well on Ted's blog, and I'm not sure I can add much. Everyone performed very well - I think - and I was impressed with the overall flow of the day. No major issues (impressive, considering we got 10 acts on and off the stage), nothing broken (we think) and we managed to record it all. We lost a portion of the Via Skyway set when an optical cable got unplugged (figures); I don't know the extent of the damage yet. Goes to show that the job is just starting when you hit the record button. Fortunately, I didn't forget my Star Wars figures, which I hope brought Princess Leia to life a bit.

It was nice being on stage again. I can't believe how long it's been (well over a year), but it's funny how it feels completely natural when you get back up there.

I plan on doing it again, soon, and often. Ted is talking about more 'STOCKS, which is great, but I'm also ready to just go and do some gigs. I want to sing, play guitar (and maybe keys), and get the word out. I also want to finish the Brain Shivers record (or the Brain Slivers, if that gets done first).

Hopefully we've helped some people out, and that's the important thing, really.