Cable is an intellectual cesspool. Discovery went from documentaries and nature programs and science based content to job-based reality shows. History shows pawnshop shows. MTV shows syphilis and mental gonorrhea.
Somehow Food Network is still showing programs about food. Though I wouldn’t be surprised if I flip over to see them showing car auctions because drive-ins exist.
I started thinking about what we actually watch on TV. Here’s the list:
- College sports
- Top Chef
- Good Eats
- The Office
- Big Bang Theory
- Biggest Loser
- Amazing Race
- Top Gear
- Last Man Standing
That’s it. Everything else is Netflix.
Up all night. Ooh, staying up all night.
Not voluntarily. I actually need to be at work in 5 hours. But with layoff notices forthcoming and all of us still in the dark, it’s a steep hill to climb to find rest. I’ve found some respite in listening to other people and their worries and doling out some advice. But until my employment status is confirmed one way or another, my fate as a sleeper is resigned to insomnia.
I’ve been spending the past few weeks formulating plans and budgets for various situations. Jill and I have looked over various aspects ranging from Hannah’s surgery and the healthcare coverage we’d need to simply how to file for unemployment. I have no qualms filing for unemployment. I’ve been working hard for almost 5 years, and putting in to the system. I promise to find a job if I lose this one, and subside from earnings from something I provide to contribute to the economy, and not to draw endlessly without paying my share. We know how long we can last off our savings before having to resort to other means (retirement, selling a car/instruments/electronics/etc)
I’ve also explained to Jill how we would continue on, and how it wouldn’t be the end of everything. I’ve explained this many times, trying to ensure that she wouldn’t break down and lose hope if I come home with bad news. And really, a lot of me convincing her is actually me convincing me. It’s hard. So I’ve come up with a list of things I could do with all that free time:
- Spend more time with Hannah and Jill
- Finish setting up my workshop and workbench downstairs
- Set up the recording equipment downstairs
- Really learn to play mandolin
- Learn to play the theme song to Arrested Development on ukulele
- Get in shape
- Finish watching a few series with Jill, including Warehouse 13, Eureka, and Lie to Me
- Record the songs I’ve been meaning to record
- Max all 8 professions in GW2
- Finish Borderlands 2 and Halo 4
- Learn to make egg rolls and southwest egg rolls
- Fine tune an aquarium plant growing tank rack
- Cut a bunch of wood for the fireplace
- Work with more charities in town
Hannah and I watched the Red Wings scrimmage tonight. She sat in front of me playing with her blocks and watching the players go left and right on the screen. When I got excited for a great shot or save she would look back at me and smile, and then start giggling and doing her version of clapping.
My eyes might have leaked a bit.
Resolution One: Don’t freak out and get panic attacks because of Hannah’s surgery. Medication might be needed in March…
Resolution Two: Weigh 165lbs by the end of the year
Resolution Three: Record 12 songs
Resolution Four: Make tiramisu
Go to work.
Drink more coffee.
Sign more invoices.
Complain about AP.
Solve some problems.
Walk up front to drive home.
Spend way too long deciding on dinner.
Realize we need to get something done today.
Maybe get something done by the end of the day.
Go to bed and watch Conan, Sportscenter and Iron Chef.
What the Foo Fighters did with Wasting Light was neat in concept, but many weren’t thrilled with the results. Instead of going the usual route these days (popping tracks in digitally at a studio) they recorded on tape in Grohl’s house. It’s an all analog deal.
I have some techniques in mind for our project, and what my setup looks like forces my hand on this.
I have an SM57 run through a tube mic preamp in to the mixer (Behringer Xenyx 1204USB) and in to the computer via USB. Since I only have two mics, and one is a Nady SP-piece-of-junk, this means I record mostly single tracks at a time.
Or do I only have two mics?
Think about what a microphone is. At its most basic level, it is a device that takes an acoustic vibration and turns it in to an electrical signal.
Now think about what a speaker is. At its most basic level, it is a device that takes an electrical signal and turns it in to an acoustic vibration.
All of a sudden, I have more microphones.
The old Peavey amplifier? It’s now a kick drum mic. The pair of studio-style headphones? That’s a stereo microphone that you can get some neat presence out of.
The basement is a bit sharp in sound. Lots of angular surfaces, and the suspended ceiling with fluorescent lamps don’t help with the noise level in the recording.
You can inject a lot of character in to a recording by using some creativity in the recording process. Listen to David Bowie for a while, and listen to the vocals in particular. Heroes is a great example of what you can do when you get creative:
“Tony Visconti rigged up a system of three microphones to capture the epic vocal, with one microphone nine inches from Bowie, one 20 feet away and one 50 feet away. Only the first was opened for the quieter vocals at the start of the song, with the first and second opening on the louder passages, and all three on the loudest parts, creating progressively more reverb and ambience the louder the vocals became.”
Or listen to Bon Iver. They seem to be one of those divisive bands who you either love or hate, and if you love them you feel the world is going to pass judgement on you and label you a hipster.
But it’s got character and depth. And that guitar hook will be stuck in your head for days.
Guild Wars 2 has been in closed alpha and beta tests, and ArenaNet has been pretty good at enforcing the NDA (as evidenced by only two small leaks that ever got any notice…). Today, the NDA was lifted on the press who were in the beta.
“Because it’s so easy to work together, and because there aren’t any negative consequences, Guild Wars 2is the first MMO I’ve played where I actually feel connected to the rest of the player base. Rather than hide from other players, or compete with them for quest spawns, I found myself actively looking for opportunities to help others”
“As you explore the world of Tyria on your quest to unravel your character’s personal story you’ll constantly be stumbling across world events, special situations that might be worth your while getting involved in. Maybe there’s a scrapyard that needs a little cleaning up. Perhaps a band of harpies is attacking an outpost and they need help breaking the creatures’ moral. There’s no one to click on, and you aren’t obligated to participate; they’re just adventures waiting for an adventurer.
Completing these events earns you coin, experience points, and special currency used to purchase unique items from special vendors, but more importantly they grant the feeling thatGuild Wars 2‘s Tyria is a world that isn’t sitting around waiting for you to kill a couple of creatures. It’s a living thing, and you can be a part of that life if you so choose.”
A bunch of good videos, including a 15 minute podcast.
“The skill system is not quite what you’d expect from your standard MMO, as you level-up, more skills in your action bar become unlocked. The quicker you level, the more you’ll have access to. What is the most surprising though is the lack of any desire to keep your eyes glued to the level-up bar. ArenaNet keep you so damn busy and engrossed that leveling almost feels like by-product.”
“ArenaNet have realized that the concept of cigarette smoking NPCs is getting a little old hat You’ll see NPCs actually doing things, wandering, chucking a ball to each other or simply nattering away. Interacting with the NPCs either brings up a simple dialogue window, or for the personal story quest line, you’re presented with spoken dialogue in a zoomed-in mini dialogue cutscene.
It’s a simple idea that makes the quests fell a little more involving. It also takes away the requirement to read streams of text which you usually pay no attention to. Having these dialogue moments make you sit up and pay attention, which is just as well, it’s your story after all.”
“It’s hard to feel like you’re missing out with the lack of dedicated healing in this game. The role of a dedicated healer is simply not necessary. What’s great is that this doesn’t make the game feel like some desperate struggle to survive, at least not in any negative sense. In fact, in the time it took me to level from 11 to 13 on my front-line Warrior (doing only in-world events without any personal story), I didn’t really have to use my self-heal. I was able to be smart about how I handled engaging enemies, and there was enough support from my teammates to keep me from resorting to my healing skill.”