Mac’s new home


Just a quick update-Built my little vocal recording booth.

It is composed of Duck brand air-conditioning foam insulators, and a small media crate (about 7″x9″). All purchased at Wal-Mart for just a bit over thirteen dollars. No glue applied-the foam-just fits snugly together.

It definitely helps with killing the sound reflections and picking up external noise. And it does not actually sound like it is in a box like I initially thought it would. I will keep experimenting with it of course.




Today was one of those days that started off fairly optimistic and exciting; Then it ended rather sourly.

I’ll start with yesterday, I had finally gotten a decent amount of sleep after my commitments to work graveyard at Green Hell and jobs/commitments to family had worn me out. I was so ridiculously tired that I slept some 11 hours.

When I awoke, I knew it was payday, so I checked to see if my direct deposit payment from work had found its way to my bank account. It did, and it was a bit more than I expected. Seems working the late night shift has benefited, if only ten percent more than usual. I also had extra hours in day shifts, so that contributed too.

In any case, that was a nice surprise. With that extra bit of cash (along with what my sister was paying me to walk her dog and other odd jobs), I had enough to finally make my first major purchase in awhile-A digital audio interface to record my vocals properly into my computer.

After grocery shopping, I spent a good portion of the night researching what I could afford, trying to find the best bang for the buck. I was settling on an old Lexicon Omega for bid on eBay. It was decently priced and enough for my vocal recording needs. However I also would have liked to get a midi controller that doubles also as a control surface to my software (Propellerheads Reason). Again, I had all this stuff, but I sold it to help fund my move here to Virginia.

After running through the possible deals on eBay and Amazon, I made my way to craigslist. That is where I found a listing for a Novation XioSynth 25 key controller. After looking into it, I found that not only is it a controller, it is indeed also an analog modeling synthesizer, as well as a midi controller with assignable hardware (that takes care of the control surface), and is also a digital audio interface with XLR and TRS inputs. Essentially, it’s everything I need one package! And it was also being sold for only ninety dollars, which is what I may have paid for the audio interface alone. Yes, I jumped on that deal, and e-mailed the owner right away.

It was early in the evening, although already four hours since the post had been entered, so there was a good chance that the XioSynth was already claimed. At midnight, some three hours after my attempt to contact the owner, I still had not received any replies, so I gave up and just went to sleep.

Around nine o’clock the next morning, my phone woke me up with an e-mail message, and it was indeed from the owner of the XioSynth, detailing to me his home address and to set up a time.

At noon, I set out to Sterling, Virginia, some twenty miles away, and picked up my new piece of music gear. The drive up was nerve racking because it was somewhere I had never been. The drive back was worse because I was so darned excited to try the XioSynth out.

I could go into immense detail, but essentially the keyboard worked right out of the box. As soon as I plugged it into the USB port, Windows 7 had recognized it as an audio device, and all the sound was now channeled from the computer to the XioSynth and into my AKG headphones. It was music to my ears-Litereally, I tested it out with some Frank Sinatra tunes.

I was giddy as I was messing about the preset synth sounds-Completely content with this purchase. It was an excellent deal!

After breakfast (in the late afternoon), I set out again to drop some donations to the Goodwill store, and planned on going to Micro Center to look around. I ended up spending close to an hour at Goodwill browsing around, trying to find something to use to build a microphone booth. Came up with more questions than answers, so I abandoned the idea until I could do more research.

However, I found in the boutique showcase there, what looked like a Roku internet streaming box, except it was made by RCA. I had the attendant pull it out for me, and asked if I could test it out on one of their TVs. I found it indeed had apps like Hulu and Netflix, and yes, the wifi was also working. They priced it at only twelve dollars. Yes, I bought it of course.

I was on sort of a consumer buying high. Two great deals today! Could it get any better?


After the Goodwill run, I decided to just skip Micro Center, but go down to Green Hell and check my schedule for next week. Found it really wasn’t much which was a bit of a letdown.

Also while I was there, I was greeted by a certain co-worker whom I have been a bit taken with. We worked together very few times, but in those moments there was left a good impression on both of our ends-At least I felt it was that way. So I chanced it, and attempted to ask her out. Not necessarily romantically, but at least to go out and have some fun, and get to know each other even further.

I suggested taking her to the Renaissance Fair since I had talked at length about how much I enjoyed it, and that she would too. That’s when scheduling came up, and we tried to work it out-And that’s when she mentioned her boyfriend and his schedule.

I can tell you that my heart sank deep into my stomach at that very moment. No, it wasn’t really a rejection, but it still hurt. Sometimes you have these visions in your head-You with that special someone, and it’s so real in your mind that you can absolutely believe it-This could be the one! No, it IS the one! And then she reminds you, completely nonchalant and innocently that you are wrong. You are still alone. You are a loser.   

I played it off of course. There was really no need for drama. Hell, it was my fault for assuming she wasn’t attached. She is after all not just attractive, but overall a very nice, down to earth person. Too good for me. Her boyfriend is a lucky guy.

To add some symbolism-As I walked out of Green Hell, I found it had rained. The cloud cover was heavily overcast with distant sounds of thunder, and sporadic flashes of lightning.

A fitting end to this day as it started out well; Yet ended with me again being broke and alone.

At least I still have my writing and my music.



Yes, mom is in her Insomnia class once again. So it’s time for a bit of blogging as I wait.

As mentioned in the prior post, it was my birthday a couple days ago. I thank everyone, my friends, and family, and acquaintances for their well-wishes toward me. It’s nice to know that people do care.

Now to celebrate my birthday, my sister (Daphne) and brother-in-law (Brian) had taken my mother and me to the Maryland Renaissance Festival. As I’ve mentioned, I normally don’t celebrate my birthday, but I wasn’t about to push away what would be an interesting experience. Yes, It was very entertaining.

For those that don’t know, a Renaissance Fair is a celebration of the Renaissance period in history. People dress up in period clothing and for a short time live out their lives as if it were that time period. They also set up shops to pedal their wares-Anything from clothing/armor to household decor, and even weapons, all painstakingly made in the players chosen profession can be bought by the public.

I suppose players is the wrong term. I dare say some are more fanatical than others, right down to their mannerisms and accents.

It’s not all purely medieval or Renaissance in theme however. I saw plenty of rather odd mashups. Plenty of modern kilts, when there were actually no kilts in those times. (I blame Braveheart.) There were plenty of bodice and corset wearing women with long flowing dress that looked absolutely gorgeous-and men brave enough to wear leotards. The people who worked the festival were all fairly authentic. The King was looking quite dapper looking like he stepped out of a Tudor painting.

The most interesting look, aside from the Turkish belly dancers, were these incredible pirate mashups. I didn’t really get it. These were medieval pirates. They were a mix of gypsy, medieval segmented leather armor, with those baggy pirate shirts with frilly cuffs, and the three pointed hat. Now I’ve seen this look before, on one of my favorite neo-medieval bands, Cultus Ferox, who I believe are out of Germany. Seems the look has taken on a life of it’s own.

Speaking of music. I was ecstatic as I heard the distant drone of bagpipes. So I broke away from my family and followed it. As I paced closer, I heard the melody from Game of Thrones. When I arrived to the stage, I found it was indeed a neo-medieval group playing live. One of their beautiful dancers was walking amongst the crowd with the bands CDs for sale. I stopped her and asked who they were.

They are called Cu Dubh. And here is a short video clip that I took of them

That was easily the highlight of my day there. I had never seen a neo-medieval group play live until then. And I can assure you, it’s far better live than watching it on YouTube or listening to it on some music player. I would definitely like to experience more of this sound in person.

Ooops. It is almost time to pack up as mom’s class is ending soon. I will continue with more of this later.