Monday, January 31, 2005

Nice Weekend

So it's been a few days since I've last posted but I have been busy entertaining my first visitors from out of town since I have moved to Nashville. My good friends Mike and Jennifer visited me from Austin, TX, my old home. I have sort of been waiting for some friends to visit to see some of the sites here in Nashville so Mike and Jennifer were sort of the guinea pigs for the tour but we did see some pretty cool things. Here they are in front of the famous replica of the Parthenon in Nashville.

Athens of the South Posted by Hello

It was great to see some old friends again and also nice to have visitors to my new home. Plus I finally got to see some of the places that I should have already visited here in Nashville. Now that I know about the sites, I'm really ready for more visitors!

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Mason Jennings

I just got in from seeing Mason Jennings at the Exit/In tonight. It was quite a good show by a singer/songwriter that I have only recently gotten into. I highly recommending checking him out although I couldn't tell you what of his albums to purchase. I was given a mixtape with some of his songs on it and I have to say that "Butterfly" and "Darkness Between the Fireflies" are really great pop love songs.

Mason Jennings Posted by Hello

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Aggie Band in D.C.

I finally have at least one photo to post of the Fightin' Texas Aggie Band at the Inauguration Parade last week. I'm not sure who took this but it has been making the rounds at A&M. My brother Travis is the drum major on the left side of the band. I haven't gotten a chance to talk to him since he has returned, but I'm sure they had an amazing time plus they got about five inches of snow while they were there!

The Fightin' Texas Aggie Band Posted by Hello

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Recording on the SSL

Tonight we had our second student-instructor recording session in the SSL Studio. About a month ago, we did the same thing in the Neve Studio. The cool thing about this one is that this SSL console was used to record AC/DC's "Back In Black" album by Mutt Lange, famed producer and husband of Shania Twain. And I don't mean that he used this type of console, but he used this actual console! Pretty amazing if I do say so myself!

Mutt Lange was here. Posted by Hello

Monday, January 24, 2005

Why didn't I think of that?

Don't you hate it when you see an invention that makes you say, "Why didn't I think of that?"

This is a good one: The Butt-Face Towel. It is so simple, it is sublime. A towel with each end labeled either "BUTT" or "FACE" so you never have to wonder what you just dried with each part of the towel. Genius!

And the Nominees Are...

The nominees for the 25th Annual Golden Raspberry Awards were announced today. The Razzies honor the worst achievements in film for the previous year and although there are some really bad movies and performances on this list, nothing can compare to the near clean sweep that the juggernaut "Gigli" achieved last year. I look forward to the announcement of the winners on February 26. My money is on "Catwoman" and anything involving Ben Affleck.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Goodbye Johnny

I was pretty surprised to see that Johnny Carson died this morning of emphysema. I was especially surprised because of a story I just read last week about Johnny still enjoying writing monologue jokes for David Letterman. I, like many people my age, grew up watching Carson and it was always a treat to stay up "late" to watch, even if I didn't always get all the jokes. Oh the days when then "Tonight Show" was worth watching.

Rest In Peace, Johnny.

More Snow!

Although the sky cleared up after yesterday afternoon's snow, more fell later in the night. I went out to the store to pick some things up late in the evening and was surprised to find that a little more snow had fallen. I checked outside again just before I was going to bed and found that even more had fallen! Here's a picture of my car. I know it's not really that much, but growing up in Louisiana, I never really got to see a lot of snow so this is something really neat to me.

Let It Snow! Posted by Hello

Saturday, January 22, 2005


So it's not as much as they are getting further north, but for a Louisiana boy like me, snow is snow. Frankly I'm glad it isn't piling up here because I wouldn't know how to drive in it. But it was very neat to stand outside as it was flying around this afternoon. It's all over with now and nothing really stuck. I took some pictures but don't think they do the snow justice. Plus Joel and Katie would undoubtedly make fun of me for getting so excited about such little snow while they are getting a lot in New York.

Friday, January 21, 2005

An Image I Can't Get Out Of My Head!!!

I was just scanning through some news articles and ran across this story entitled "Betty White Takes It Off for TV Movie." As if the headline wasn't disturbing enough, my morbid curiosity compelled me to read the article. It turns out that the movie features a skinny dipping scene with White, but she wore a flesh toned suit during filming. Still, the idea is enough to make me lose a little sleep. That and I can't help but think of White's "Golden Girls" castmates, especially Bea's going to be a long sleepless night.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Inauguration Day Protests

So today is the big day and I've been hearing about various protests for months now. The one's that I am most interested in seeing if they have any impact at all are the "Blue Flu" and the "Not One Damn Dime" protests.

The Blue Flu is basically asking anyone who doesn't support the president to take a sick day today. Last time I heard about a massive amount of people taking a sick day, it was by baggage handlers at U.S. Airways over Christmas. They were trying to make a point to the powers that be that they felt they deserved better benefits. However, all that I feel that happened is that they aggravated and alienated so many customers, U.S. Airways will not be able to recover and most likely will have to downsize if they have any hopes of remaining competitive. So the people who had the Sick In will most likely lose their jobs. So much for better benefits.

This Not One Damn Dime protest sounds like it will have a similar effect. The thing that I think is funny is that they are urging people to do all their spending before or after January 20. To me that defeats the purpose of the protest. They want to make a a statement by showing that they can affect big companies bottom lines. But the problem is, whatever the companies don't make today, they will have made yesterday or will make up tomorrow. Plus the little guys who do their jobs and rely on tips for income are going to be more negatively impacted than the big bosses. So again, it seems like this could miss the actual target.

But I am all for non-violent protest and the right to carry them out. I am just curious to see if there is any major impact by these or any other protests. We shall see...

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Inauguration Eve

I got a call from my brother Travis tonight. He is in Washington, D.C. with the Fightin' Texas Aggie Band and will be marching in tomorrow's Inauguration Parade. I'm very excited that he is getting to have this opportunity. It is quite an honor. Plus he is one of the Drum Majors which makes it that much more exciting. He told me that he has been taking lots of pictures and I plan to post some when he gets back to College Station and has a chance to email them to me. His part of the parade will be starting at 2:00 Eastern/1:00 Central. Hopefully I'll be able to catch part of it but I'm sure that the band will be documenting it for posterity.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

I'm A Southern Boy At Heart

Last year when I was researching recording engineering schools to attend, I found what looked like an amazing program at a school called the Institue of Production and Recording in Minneapolis, MN. It had some wonderful facilities but when I did further research, I began to realize just how cold Minnesota can get. Well I was watching the Weather Channel this weekend and saw reports of the current cold snap. And then yesterday, it was confirmed that the town of Embarrass, MN reach a temperature of 54 degrees below zero!

The cold at Embarrass didn't stop the regular customers from getting their morning coffee at Four Corners, a cafe and gas station.

"Everybody left their cars running," waitress Trish Roggenbuck said. "It was pretty much breathtaking when you walked outside."

Of course that is in the northern part of Minnesota a mere ten miles south of the town of Tower which holds the record low of 60 below zero in 1996. Minneapolis is much further south so it was warmer:

Farther south, Minneapolis-St. Paul bottomed out at a mere 11 below.

I don't know how people can even live in that kind of environment. It is just crazy! I'm glad I visited and talked to residents of Minneapolis this summer before I chose my school. In doing so, I realized that I am a Southern boy and could not handle something like 11 below zero. As much as I complain about the humidity in Louisiana and Texas, I'll take that any day over an Arctic climate!

Monday, January 17, 2005


Early morning, April 4th
Shot rings out in the Memphis sky
Free at last, they took your life
They could not take your pride

-U2, "Pride (In the Name of Love)," The Unforgettable Fire

Thursday, January 13, 2005

100 Most Mispronounced Words

I found this interesting site today and I think I learned a thing or two. Although I do take issue with a few of the words. Even if I do use it from time to time, "spit and image" just sounds wrong and kind of gross. I think that one would best remain "spitting image." I also don't think that "pernickety" is a word that can be classified as "often used."

I do however totally agree with the mispronunciation of "supposedly." I'm not sure when people started saying "supposably," but it has always been a pet peeve of mine.

No one is perfect though as I found at least ten words that I often mispronounce.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

An Obsession of Another Variety

Is it just me or do some people worry too much about the impact that Fox News is having? Someone is concerned...

I saw this on the internet today. It's a little device called the Fox Blocker and the claim is that "[U]sing proprietary technology, the FOXBlocker works to filter out FOX News from your cable lineup." Come on! Is that really necessary? Even if the technology does exist, why do you need to spend $8.95 when you could just choose not to go to that channel. It really boggles my mind that someone would buy this thing but when you have an unhealthy obsession, I guess it makes sense.

I only wish that I had come up with the idea because I'm sure this thing will sell even if it is just a novelty. It proves the oft-quoted (but apparently misquoted) P.T Barnum saying that "[T]here's a sucker born every minute."

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Star Wars Obsession

I'm a big fan of Star Wars especially the original trilogy. When the first new prequel was released back in 1999, I went to a late night showing on the first night and was disappointed after all the hype. Since then, I have vowed not to go to another opening day show for any movie that is hyped so much that the first showing is at midnight of the night before.

However, the quality of the prequels didn't stop some people from waiting in lines for days or weeks prior to the release of the second prequel in 2002. And so it continues with the upcoming release of the final installment of the prequel trilogy when it is released in May of this year. Read all about Jeff Tweiten's wait outside of a Seattle movie theater for the next five months(!) on his Waiting For Star Wars blog.

Jeff, the first step to getting help is admitting you have a problem!

Monday, January 10, 2005

Carnivale Season 2

I finally just finished watching the first episode of the second season of "Carnivale" and all I can say is: WOW! It was so good and totally worth all the plotlines that were set in motion during the first season. I have read the the creator Daniel Knauf said that the first season really was just to set up the story and that after that all kinds of cool stuff would happen. Well, I have to say that I am on board!

When the first season aired more than a year ago, I was slowly drawn in and hooked because I wanted to find out where the story was going. By the time I realized that it would not be resolved by the end of the season, it was too late. I am glad that I kept the faith because the season premiere was so much more satisfying than the overhyped two hour premier of "24." Bravo again HBO for letting such an original show flourish in an otherwise vacant television landscape.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

24 Season 4

Tonight was finally the season premier of the fourth season of "24." My take on it is that the magic of the first season has yet to be recaptured since but I am going to give this season a chance. My problem is that other than Jack and Chloe in CTU, there are none of the old characters that we have grown to either love or hate. Plus the first hour was very slow. Towards the end of the second hour, I hypothesized that they are showing four episodes over the next two nights because they are setting up the story and want to get them out of the way in a hurry before people get bored. We'll see if I'm right after the next two hours are shown tomorrow but I just don't feel the same excitement so far this season. But a lot can happen in the next twenty two episodes. Here's to hoping that "24" hasn't completely "jumped the shark."

Saturday, January 08, 2005


According to Ain't It Cool News and Yahoo, Ricky Gervais is working on a new show about bit players in movies. For those who are unaware, Gervais was half the creative genius behind my favorite Brit-com to date, "The Office." I am not sure if Stephen Merchant, the other half of the team behind "The Office," is involved, but Gervais is certainly a masterful comedian and writer. I only hope that "Extras" is as satisfying to watch.

Friday, January 07, 2005

While I'm on the subject of Analog Recording...

I was surfing the web this evening and stopped over at one of my favorite sites, The Superficial. Normally I check it every day but I have been very busy at school this week so as I was catching up I found an interesting post about a new Britney Spears song and how bad it was. Well I thought I'd follow the link and hear for myself and sure enough it is very, very bad. Now I know I am not the target market for a Britney Spears album, but what made it so bad was the over production. Since I have been in school for recording, I have started listening to music in a different way. I listen for what's going on with the effects and with instrument placement in the mix.

As we move farther away from analog recording and closer to purely digital recording, we as engineers, run the risk of getting "too fancy" with all the digital tricks that we can perform to fix problems with instruments or vocals in the post production process. One such tool that I have learned about is called Auto Tune. Auto Tune is a plug-in for recording and mixing software that allows the engineer to actually manipulate a vocal so that it will always be on the correct pitch. So if a singer misses a note or two, it can be fixed. However, pop music has been using it more to turn a pretty face with no musical talent into a pop star. Ashlee Simpson is a perfect example. Although she'd never admit it, one of the reasons she was using a backing track (i.e. lip syncing track) on SNL is that she can't actually hit the notes she hits on record. It is all done with Auto Tune. And she is not the the only one. Most pop singers are tuned in the studio. And it doesn't stop there. It goes all the way to the heart of country music in Nashville, TN.

Auto Tune used sparingly is okay, but when taken to extremes, the singer no longer sounds human but rather more like a computer. This is what I thought of while listening to Britney's new single. If you listen to it, it sounds inhuman, especially in the chorus. Frankly I'm surprised that this made it out of a studio. It just doesn't sound good at all. I only hope that people will notice just how strange the vocals sound and realize that this has been going on for a long time. Can't we just go back to the days when people could actually sing and not worry so much about how pretty they are?

Thursday, January 06, 2005

The End of Analog Recording?

The buzz around school for the past two days has been that Quantegy, the world's only producer of analog tape, has closed their doors due to lack of profitability. The recording business has already been moving away from analog recording for the past two decades with the introduction of Radar, Pro Tools and affordable computer hard drives. Some instructors at school feel that this might signal the actual end of analog recording as we know it. There is literally no tape to be had in Nashville. My school's supplier is completely sold out of tape and one of the instructors was driving from store to store this afternoon trying to purchase as much tape as he could find!

Although I prefer digital recording because it is much easier to work with the raw material and edit it during post production, I don't really want to see analog recording go away. But supply and demand will dictate any decision to keep Quantegy around. In the music business there are many people who prefer to record on analog tape and then transfer into the digital domain for editing because there is a certain quality to analog recordings that can't be entirely matched in digital yet. I feel that the niche demand by these people will entice someone to buy Quantegy's business and continue to produce analog tape. However, the cost will be higher and thus make the already scarce analog recording business even more cost prohibitive and smaller. But it does indeed make an interesting time to be studying recording. We could literally be witnessing the end of analog recording forever.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Thanks for playing, Ashlee Simpson...

I mentioned in an earlier post that the highlight of the Orange Bowl for me has to be when the crowd at Pro Player Stadium booed Ashlee Simpson as she finished her halftime performance. It was really a great moment for my faith in pop music. Just when I was on the verge of giving up all hope that the nation as a whole did not understand just how bad it has gotten, this little gem happens.

After what should have been Ashlee Simpson's career ending "performance" on Saturday Night Live, I was surprised to still see her making headlines and embarking on a tour. But after what happened last night, I would be surprised if anything comes of the still planned tour. I really don't think there is any way to spin the crowd's reaction to her latest appearance. And if you think I'm exaggerating, the good folks at have the video that I knew would surface on the internet at some point today. Some things I have read about it say that you can actually hear someone yell "You Suck!" but I haven't been able to hear that over 75,000 people booing in unison.

Recording Session

This is what I was doing last night instead of watching USC dominate OU.

I'm going to need some more cowbell. Posted by Hello

We were doing a recording session at school for a guy who is trying to pitch a song to George Strait. In order to do that in Nashville, you first have to record a demo version of the song that sounds almost perfect so that the artist can hear it. If he or she likes it, they buy the rights to record it and then record their own version.

I was mostly involved in recording vocals last night and I took numbers on the lyric sheet so that we could know where every single line of the song started on the time counter on the recording computer. Then after we laid down the initial recording of the vocals, the singers would go back and re-record lines that they thought they could do better. This involves taping over what has already been recorded but not erasing anything that you want to keep. It is very tricky and takes practice but I'm happy to say that I did not miss any of my punches last night.

UPDATE: For anyone who is curious, I forgot to include that the console we were working with last night is a Neve V Series console.


If there's one thing I learned a couple of years ago, it's that I'm really good at picking a winning football team as long as there is nothing on the line (i.e. money or personal glory). I was always great at picking upsets in College Football games. Then I went to Vegas one New Years and put money on Miami in the National Championship Game against Ohio State. Pretty much since then, I've lost any ability to pick a winner. And so it went last night...

I didn't get to watch much of the game but I did get to see a score update at some point before halftime. When I saw it I said, "Yeah that figures. If I had not made any comment on the game at my blog, OU would be rolling, but no; I had to put my prediction in print." So I guess it's my fault that the Big XII went 4-3 in bowl games this year.

On a funny note, before I went into the recording session, we got to watch the halftime entertainment and watched as Kelly Clarkson very obviously used backing tracks to beef up her vocals. But the highlight of the halftime (and the lopsided game!) was when Ashlee Simpson finished her song and was met with 75,000+ boos! It was a testament to the memory of Ashlee lip syncing on Saturday Night Live a few months ago. So much for Americans having a short memory about that!

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Last Call for College Football

The 2004-2005 College Football season is ending as I post this. Last I checked Oklahoma was up on Southern California 7-0. Of course it is still early in the first quarter but I don't think it is going to be all that close. I think that OU is a lot better than people think and that USC is not nearly as good as their #1 ranking would suggest. Plus did you see what Texas Tech did to Cal in the Holiday Bowl? This is the same Cal team that thought they deserved to be in the Rose Bowl. It just shows that the Pac-10 isn't really that great of a conference. So I'm thinking that by the time the night is over, OU will be crowned National Champions. Unfortunately, I won't be able to see much of the game as I am off to a late night recording session at school. No big deal...once A&M got crushed by Tennessee the College Football season was pretty much over for me. But of course I am eagerly awaiting next year!

Monday, January 03, 2005

Les Miles to LSU

This is interesting to me especially as a a fan of Big XII football. Oklahoma State has gotten pretty good under Les Miles so much so that they beat the Aggies at Kyle Field two seasons ago. However, he was completely outcoached by Dennis Franchione this year when the Aggies dominated OSU during their homecoming game. Good luck in the SEC Les Miles. They are not as forgiving about losses as the people of the Big XII!

Sunday, January 02, 2005

My Recording Studio

As promised, here is another picture taken with my new digital camera. This is a picture of my iMac laptop, Pro Tools M-Box and my music-only hard drive. It's not much to look at but it's quite amazing what you can do with this little setup.

I used this equipment to record the Hek-Atomic Cherries et al. on December 23 in Lafayette. Although it's not the greatest live recording ever, it's still pretty good for my first attempt and using such limited but powerful equipment.

To sample the recordings go to the Hek-Atomic Cherries MySpace music profile. Enjoy!

Studio in a Bag Posted by Hello

Saturday, January 01, 2005

5 Turnovers!!!!!

I was quite disappointed to see the Texas A&M Aggies lose the Cotton Bowl today. It wasn't the losing of the game that bothered me so much as the way we lost. We committed five turnovers! There is no way you can win with five turnovers. I didn't know if A&M would win today when I woke up but I thought that they'd at least make it a good game. Unfortunately it wasn't the Aggies' day today on either side of the ball.

We were beaten by two teams today: Tennessee and ourselves. Hopefully we can build on the improvement that we made for most of this year and put this loss behind us. Only 246 days until we play Clemson!

Happy New Year!