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Playing with the camcorder

Filed under: Pater Familias,Things From Wood — @ 7:48 UTC

Playing with the video camera.

YouTube Preview Image


Song Ordering Is Dead

Filed under: Making — @ 13:01 UTC

… or at least seriously wounded.

At first it used to be that when an artist completed a record, the record company would select the song order on the record, often picking the “hit” song for track 1, side A. Eventually the artists themselves took control of the process and agonized over the song selections for each side of the record. Some of it was the physics of record pressing: the grooves could only be so close together so there was a real limitation of which songs could be placed on which side. All of these rules also applied to cassette tapes.

The era of the compact disc, of course, changed the entire song selection process. Song order was important, but there wasn’t a “Side B”. This actually made the song-ordering process a bit more difficult because the artist had to consider the ebb and flow of all the songs that were being published. You need to look no further than Radiohead’s “OK Computer” to understand how song order can take a great record and make it timeless. Some artists even went so far as to release an entire record as a single CD track in order to preserve the ordering of the songs and to guarantee that they would be heard in what the artist deemed as “the correct order”. This is what we could call “clever, but annoying”, but really short circuited a CD player’s “shuffle” mode.

The digital era has changed the process again. Individual mp3 tracks are being bought and traded without regard for the rest of the songs that comprise an artist’s recordings. This is like evaluating Picasso by viewing a single “Blue Period” painting and not considering the rest of the collection. It’s seriously annoying, but what can be done? Here we are on the cusp of a Method of Frobenius release and there doesn’t seem any point to making song ordering decisions and placing the songs on CD. I wish there was a way to keep the songs in order, somehow, someway.


Flash Video Player Test

Filed under: Making — @ 0:27 UTC

This is a test of an FLV Player WordPress plugin. This one is using Jeroen Wijering’s FLV player, but any one would do.

Here’s Ronan in Waterford City:


Elephant Ears, Meet me at the fair

Filed under: Making — @ 22:23 UTC

It’s amazing how popular the Lemon Shakup recipe has been. So roll up your sleeves because it’s nearly that time of year!  Here is the recipe for Elephant Ears!

Elephant Ears (makes 4)

  • shortning for pan
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 5 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Heat oven to 425 degrees (F).  Grease cookie sheet wih shortening.  Heat butter until melted; set aside.  Stir flour, 2 tablespoons sugar, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.  Stir in milk and 3 tablespoons of melted butter until dough forms.

Sprinkle surface lightly with flour; turn dough onto surface.  Knead 10 times.  Roll dough with a rolling pin or pat with hands into a 9-by-5-inch rectangle.  Brush on remaining melted butter using a pastry brush; sprinkle with mixture of 3 tablespoons sugar and cinnamon.

Roll dough up tightly beginning at narrow end.  Pinch edge of dough into roll to seal.  Cut into 4 equal pieces with a sharp knife.  Place cut sides up on cookie sheet; pat each into a 6-inch circle.  Sprinkle with more sugar.  Bake until golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes.

Immediately remove from cookie sheet with a spatula.  Let cool on wire rack.

(adapted from cooks.com)


My Rickenbacker 4001 Turns 25

Filed under: Making,Noise — @ 4:17 UTC

My Rickenbacker 4001 bass guitar will be 25 years old in March, 2006. I bought it in 1985 (That reminds me: I gave my old, crappy bass to Liam Lynch aka Bill Niederst). I love this bass guitar even though my bass playing skills are not worthy of this instrument.



Lemon Shake-Up

Filed under: Edible,Making — @ 3:47 UTC

One interesting thing about the mid-western United States is this fascination with County and State Fairs. It’s really a celebration of agriculture and may even have roots in European harvest festivals. I don’t know. But one thing is for certain: farm animals smell bad.

But there’s silver lining: Fair Food. One favorite of mine is the tremendously over-priced Lemon Shake-up. At the fair I suspect that they use corn syrup instead of simple syrup, but it’s difficult to say. At any rate, here is the recipe for Lemon Shake-Ups, posted here so I won’t lose it.

This recipe allows you to prepare a simple syrup that you can use to make several batches of shake-ups:

2 cups sugar (380 grams)
1 cup water (240 ml)

Combine sugar and water in saucepan. Boil for 5 minutes. Cool and refrigerate up to a week.

To make two shake-ups, cut a lemon in half and juice each half into a tall glass. Fill the glasses with ice. Add the lemon rind and 3 Tablespoons (45ml) of simple syrup to each glass (some like more, some like less). Fill glasses with water, cover and shake well. Don’t skimp on the shaking part.


Ampeg M-12A Guitar Amp – Saved!

Filed under: Noise,Tech Tech — @ 2:29 UTC

Sometimes I forget I’m an electrical engineer. I was working in the basement, trying to clean the place up a bit, when I took a long look at the old Ampeg M-12A Mercury (7591 tubes, not the older version — probably an early 1964 model) guitar amp. That damn thing always shocked the Hell out of me every time I used it, but it sounds really good with the Rickenbacker model 1997 reissue. I have a copy of the schematics, so I took a look and came to the conclusion that I’m lucky to be alive…. (more…)

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