And that… is love

For purposes unrelated to the start of this story it is important to note that dinner was had at Buca di Beppo, a good Italian restaurant.

There is nothing more beautiful than sleeping in on a nice morning. Especially where you are gently awoke by the sunshine, snuggled in warm blankets.

You turn to the side you see the angelic face of your love, still asleep, beautiful and serene.

You sneak over to give her a light kiss and just as you are within that last inch she stirs slightly …

… and burps a small burp.

… of aerosol garlic death.

It is hard to put into words the sudden and explosive change of emotions that went through me. It was not a simple reversal of mood, but more of a scattered and mad scramble of mind and body to escape the tangling confines of sheets for self preservation. I’m fairly sure performed a physical dance movement that has not been seen since the last WW I soldiers caught a waft of mustard gas coming up the trench.

Foul does not describe it. It was a garlic stench bad enough to fade the color in my vision.

If I had had the presence of mind to control my actions and words, I might of said something witty. But instead there was a sort of vowel movement that came out of my mouth as I tried to blow back the offending gas, cuss loudly, catch a breath of air and say something along the lines of “EWWWWWW” all at the same time.

Having successfully freed myself of the covers, I collapsed rather unceremoniously on the floor, alternating in laughing my fool head off and trying not to breathe the smell that had now filled the room.

Sue woke up perplexed and was very patient as I explained why I was laughing. She did mention wondering why the room smelled of garlic whens she woke up.

Christmas music.

I like Christmas music. I really do. Ever since I was a little tig I enjoyed playing the dozen or so Christmas records my folks had on the record player. It was a time where as a kid, I could choose what to play and enjoy it. Now that I’m in California and lacking both cold weather and snow, Christmas music is the only way I have to get in the seasonal mood.

Over the years I have searched and found most of those old record albums as CDs. On the way I got interested in finding “classic” versions of many tunes (not modern covers) and also tried to find “jazzy” instrumental versions for work and play.

I digitized most and had quite a chunk of MP3s. Christmas albums are particularly bad for good-to-bad music rations. I had more than a few albums I had bought for a single song. Consequently the whole thing digitized was over a dozen gigs or so.

It was a nasty surprise to anyone who swiped my MP3 collection. While my iPod had most of them marked as non to be played in a random mix, anyone who just grabbed my raw MP3 collection was soon to find their iPod polluted with about every third song on random play being Christmas.

I was really dialing in on the “classic” and “jazzy” play lists, just as my laptop was stolen. So much for Christmas.

So I’ve now been doing a CD dig to try and rebuild what was lost. I think I’ve found about 2/3rds the CDs I had. None of the shared or downloaded MP3s are there. It is giving me a chance to digitize things at a higher level, but it’s slow going rebuilding.

I’m going to start sharing links here as I go through for some of the fun cuts. Maybe it’ll help your season too!

I am currently sitting in one of the most amazing opera houses on this continent, recording a professional symphony orchestra.

A new “Simon’s Cat”

Swiped from tigjah

1812

Artillery playing in the right places. Correct carillon used. Pipe organ substituted for brass band. Russian chorus substituted for the string quartets and national themes.

1812 Overture

Opening a orchestra piece that includes pipe-organ and live artillery with Russian bass singers? Bad-ass.

Recording…

I may need to find a “recording” icon.

Sunday we recorded a Chinese choral group. About 80 persons, plus piano and soloists. The full-choir pieces were in Chinese. The soloists each had a crack at their favorite opera pieces, which were in Italian, Fench and Spanish. The second half of the concert was a recently written cantata-style work with the solo performers in traditional Chinese dress. It also had narration. (Think “Peter and the Wolf”) For not being able to understand a word of what was being said most of the time, it was enjoyable.

Now if only the sopranos weren’t singing flat and the basses could hold a pitch center. But hey, I’ve heard many a professional group that had that problem.

We recorded the group with a set of omni’s suspended about 30 foot in front of stage center. We also had feeds off of the SND 58s that the house had set up for reinforcement. Unfortunately, the singers generally stayed too far back off those mics and they were useless.

At the last minute we had a videographer show up and tossed him a dual XLR feed of our monitoring mix. We helped him set levels (most video folks can’t set levels to save their life) and he got a decent feed. It was your usual 2-guys-using-GL1’s kinda video feed.

The only down side is that at the last minute the announcers decided to use lavalieres that weren’t in our mix. Since our goal was a live recording, we don’t care about the announcers and edit them out. But it meant that the video guy got ambient room audio for that. Oh well. You can’t win them all. It was still very usable signal and I don’t think the video guy even noticed.

They call it a “tension grid”

So today I helped out recording a vocal group at the California Theater.

The California Theater is, hands down, one of the most beautiful theaters I have ever been in. It is an amazing piece of architecture that has been saved and restored to incredible quality. Check out the pictures linked above for that. They’ve also made a lot of great decisions on layout of equipment and infrastructure.

As part of that, the fun item in the overhead is something called a “tension grid.”

Imagine, if you will, steel cable wires about the thickness of yarn that have been woven into a grid not unlike chicken wire. Its a simple square weave, with square holes about 2 inches wide on each side.

Now imagine that you are walking on that wire mesh, some 50 foot up above a stage floor. It springs a bit like an old box-spring mattress while you walk on it. The visual sensation is of walking in mid-air with no support. That is a tension grid.

After about 5 minutes in the theater I was on the tension grid to hang some omni mics from the overhead. It was a tastey little dose of vertigo.

Once the mics were up, and the equipment set up, the recording session was great. Here’s hoping tomorrow goes as well.

*grindgrindgrind*

One or two little stutters from the transmission, and then the next time it’s in drive there’s a horrible grinding sound.

I am living Jim Groat excuse #7 – “The transmission fell out of my van.”

Now all I need to find is a decent transmission shop.

Virtuoso

I occasionally post virtuoso things here. The last few were tuba and trumpet.

Have something you never knew you’d see. Virtuoso accordion playing.

Keep it handy as something you can show the folks at home over Thanksgiving. There’s always an awkward moment when Mom or Dad wants you to show them cool stuff on the internet and you realize all you know off the top of your head is porn and furry.

What the?!

That’s right. I’m polluting your livejournal friends list with Lawrence Welk.

Before you scroll past, let me add that it is a fantastic Marimba solo.

But that’s not why I linked to it.

At the second transition, at 1:05, before the OMFG-fast section, the piano player reaches up and plays the ending arpeggio on some small electronic keyboard.

To my ear it sounds like a patch from a Nintendo. Which is what I associate with it because of when I grew up.

The powder-blue leisure suits tell me that this is older and that that sound was probably a cutting edge music instrument for when this was filmed.

Ok all you old-school-game music people. What the hell is that sound coming from?! And what waveform is it?