Experiments in the key of life

From an unapologetic middle aged gay

Audio processing
sound forge

Wished my Beatles LP's weren't running a bit fast as it takes many relistens and adjustments of the change pitch and timing plugin to get it right, and comparing to a digital sample online. Not trying to get it exact, but close. However, I have discovered that if I do say, 102.5, instead of just 101, or 102, I get the speed increments much smaller so I think I'm pretty much there, hence getting it close.

Another thing, I was also trying to bring out Ringo's drums a bit more, but on the Night Before, they get buried through parts of the song, as that was how it was mastered. I think that got rectified to some extend in the Capitol Albums CD box as the snares and such are MUCH more prominent than on any other source I have listened to, which is the original US albums, and their initial reissues, and teh 1987 Parlophone CD issues. While neither of them sound bad, for the most part, the Capitol Albums remasters trumps them in overall clarity and a bit more detail while at it.

Nonetheless, it's a tedius part of audio processing, listening over, and over again the songs to ensure things are right when needed.

At 1:35pm I've...
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done the laundry, cleaned up the kitchen, cleaned the oven, yes, the inside got sprayed with oven cleaner, and I just now have to wipe it out. This is my first cleaning of the oven cavity itself (no self cleaning on this thing), it's not bad, but it's not all that fun either, but it's something that needs to be done periodically in any event, and got to it before it got so bad that the job would be much worse.

So with that, I've since done my taxes, all but actually send them in, as I'm waiting to be sure nothing else drops in before the end of the month. so next Friday, or Saturday, I can sent 'em off electronically. Done, and am getting 1,181 back, go me.

THEN I paid up two bills that I don't have on auto pay, oh need to check as I may have already paid the credit card for the month. So productive I say.

Next up is go wipe out the oven, sweep the floor and then shower.

It's nice and sunny out there, though the Weather Channel thingy says partly cloudy, and its currently 55F so not bad. We are expected to hit 59F for the high today.

All in all, a productive day so far and for that, I'm not complaining one whit.

Feeling much better today than yesterday
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However, my back letting me know it didn't/doesn't like the bed anymore. :-(

Am up and at it, so to speak. Had breakfast, and laundry is drying as I type, as of 9:18AM.

Also grabbed the mail and got a notice from my apartment manager, yep, rent is going up again, fortunately only $50 this time, doable, though NOT ideal.

So on the agenda today, besides laundry is taxes, pay bills (two), is finish cleaning up the kitchen and continue on with my Beatles CD project. Will have to grab the unmolested digital file of Help! from the media computer as the one I have on the computer is fucked up somehow, and it came from adjusting the tempo I think one time too many.

Meanwhile, despite the not so great morning yesterday, did get my loaf of bread for the freezer and hit Pacific Galleries to peruse around and found something I've been wanting, a vintage Kobenstyle baking dish, this is the lasagna sized pan from the late 70's to early 80's in brown. Very cool, and on sale no less!

I blogged about it yesterday, and came this close to picking up a blue Kobenstyle Dutch oven at $35. It was in like new condition too, but when I went around the corner and saw the pan, on sale, I got it instead. Essentially, these are made by Dansk, and was first introduced in 1955, and were initialy made in Denmark. Mine is from France as the production moved there in the mid 60's.

So that was fun, and they have a bunch of stuff there I'd love to have, some WAY out of my price range, others doable, but not until the house hunt is over and I've moved and all that, and if they are still there, and there is a need for it and in my budget, purchases will SO be made.

They aren't the only source, but it's a good source for furnishings, lamps and accessories however if you are into vintage finds that is.

Next up, put water in my oatmeal bowl and get in the shower and get on with things, by then, the dryer should be done.

Ugh, not feeling so hot
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Awoke with a headache, a kind of sharpish one at that, that feels more sinusy than anything, and it's on my right side, so have been a tad nauseous, and have tossed my cookies a couple of times (mainly breakfast). It doesn't feel exactly like a migraine, but could be a hint of one perhaps as well? Anyway, I have it and I can't seem to concentrate all that well this morning, thus not done much as a result.

I will need to make a quick errand and had hoped to get a start at least on my taxes, pay a couple of bills I still pay manually, and perhaps work on the Beatles CD project.

As for work, it's going well, and our new integrated account manager is trying to help us become even better, and to support us in ways we've never had since the account was created in 2007. So that's good and it will mean changes down the line, and some of that is to reduce bending over to pick up stuff, or put packages down, but how is the next question, simply put, we get at times LARGE boxes, and multiples of them so there needs to be a place for them being just one aspect of the puzzle.

Plus, in the past couple of weeks, one of our own guys has had t split up with his girlfriend, whom, it turns out, isn't doing enough to help herself, even with his assistance, and she has a teenaged daughter too, so last week, or was it the week before, he had to split from her, and is moving as much of his stuff out this weekend and staying with some friends for the time being, and already had 2 job offers with better pay, and had to refuse as he's too emotionally unstable at the moment to properly take them on. Essentially, his GF had been abused growing up, no one did anything about it, and has post traumatic stress disorder as a result. One thing that's happened is their food stamps were about to run out, however he told her what to do etc, and she never did anything about it. In the end, he felt used by her manipulation etc. Plus, he was doing much of the support for the three of them, and he makes WELL under $30K/year.

Glad to see that he's doing what he can to get back on his feet as he gave, and gave, and can't give anymore, and he didn't have a whole lot to give in the first place, financially anyway as it was.

Soon, I will be ramping up the house hunt, once I know what I'm getting back in a tax refund, and today will be trying to get this headache over with. Some Ibuprophen will help and a nap before I head out to get another loaf of bread.

Welcome to hump day
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That means, the slide on into yet another weekend. :-)

Just did a quick perusal of my pay stubs for my boss, to see if I'm getting the deductions for health insurance, yep, not only on this last pay stub, but the previous one too. I, however, forgot to check to see if they are using the updated W4, but as of last Friday, I hauled home $837, the most I've earned in quite some time. I forgot to see how many hours I had on this last pay check so can't compare exactly.

That being said, every little bit helps as they say, and my W2 for last year finally dropped, so will be doing my taxes here this week, certainly by the weekend.

The first part of my shipment came on Monday, the stylus should arrive today, and is coming via USPS, so that'll be nice to get the old stylus replaced.

Overall, not too much going on, though I DID spend some time last evening washing up a good amount of dishes, not so much actual bowls and plates needed washing as much as a mountain of plastic containers, cooking vessels, and various mixing bowls and the like. Always feels good to get as much of that washed as possible.

Finished viewing Zoom, Back to the 70's last evening on DVD and it's wonderful, though I would love to get more of the full episodes, but this is largely a DVD redo of the old VHS version from 1997, or 98 anyway. It's done by the WGBH archives, so the transfers are VERY good, with the occasional dropout at the end not withstanding (all transferred I think directly from 2" Quad masters), or perhaps a 1 gen dub to 1", as all episodes are clean and clear for the most part, though one segment looked to have been a couple of generations down, it's a little softer around the edges. This is the original series that ran on WGBH from 1972-1978. There is a more current variant out there now, I think still, also from WGBH. The great thing is, we see the old WGBH logos and the old PBS logos at the beginning and end of the program, nice! I miss that show, and it, along with the Electric Company, Big Blue Marble, 321 Contact, and You Can't Do that on Television (CBC) are largely a part of my younger years, though You Can't is later, as is 321 Contact as it ran from the late 70's through the early 80's.

Anyway, fun stuff!

So next up is get my lunch put together and get the hell out the door. Thank God my car is just out front...

Tomorrow, I take my integrated account manager with me to show him my building so he can get a GOOD look at how our site works, about time an IAM did as such, none of the previous ones ever bothered to do that, and it's a wonder our site has been fucked over by our own employer.

So there is hoping.

Well, off to get out the door!

It's Monday (and Martin Luther King's Birthday)
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However, that means I still gotta go into work (wah!). Oh well, it's a paycheck and that's what counts right now, right?

Overall a good weekend with errands Saturday afternoon, lots of writing, and yesterday, actually got some tidying done. Did laundry, cleaned up the kitchen for the most part, picked up some in the living/dinning room area (can't do too much due to all the boxes of stuff), but can remove a pile of receipts, put away dish towels, that kind of thing however, and finally fixed my bento box, the latch that brock initially got whacked one day a few months ago by the cafe door at work, and broke again, so had to whip out the Krazy Glue to fix it. It needs a bath before I can though.

I also listened to the Beatles CD I had burned Friday, or Saturday night, and it's great sounding though it seems there is a bit of a speed fluxuation now? Can't tell, and maybe the vinyl files didn't change to the newly slowed down saves? Not completely sure, though I DO think I missed one. Anyway, sounds great with good detail and all that, and will definitely move up the two Singles that were placed on the US Beatles '65 LP in their places in Beatles For Sale (the UK variant) to simulate the US LP since I don't have it.

Essentially, Beatles '65 has the core of Beatles for Sale in it so it makes sense to do that. Anyway, will rectify all that this evening, and MAYBE redo Vol. 2 if I have time. I did save Vol 1 though in Roxio so pulling it up, and making the changes will be a fairly quick and painless process. Tomorrow, and/or Wednesday, I should receive packages from Amazon so that should be fun.

So with that, gotta pull lunch together and get myself out the door to work. Should be decent, mostly cloudy and 50F so dry for a change. The weather will be largely similar for the next few days as well before the rains return on Friday. Nice.
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A wet morning
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Was up by 5:45AM and have had a slow, leasurly morning, though now I have laundry all but done and eaten breakfast. Outside of being online and writing, not done a thing, yet today.

I did, however get smoe shots this morning of a rain storm that blew through mid morning as had been posted here, it was windy and rainy last night, and again this morning, now at 11:15am, the skies are largely clear and the sun is out!

So here you go, the 2 best shots I got.

heavy rain 1

heavy rain 2

I had to up the contrast, exposure for the bulk of this (and go vivid on the color) but there you go during the heaviest portions of it.

In my errands yesterday, I not only got parm cheese, but more penne pasta as well, and of course, bought bread, then made a quick stop for a bite to eat before resuming my errands. From there I WAS going to stop at Pacific Galleries, but they were busy, the lot full so went onto Homo Depot and got what I went there for, 2 LED bulbs, both made by Cree to try out. One is a 3 way bulb, the other a basic 60W equivalent that's dimmable in the classic A19 style to try in the bedroom since I have a lamp that blows the incandescent bulbs out every 3 months or so. It is on a plug in dimmer as these are IKEA cord sets which don't have any switches on them.

Having seen an LED bulb at IKEA on a dimmer similar to mine, and seeing how it worked (though some of them didn't dim smoothly) but seeing that it CAN work on a regular dimmer was what got me to try them out, finally.

I also bought a 3 Way version as well to use in my living room lamps as I keep blowing those out on a regular basis, one filament at a time. I chose warm white as they'll be very close to incandescent bulbs.


Here you can see what I mean, the LED bulb is in the lamp closest to me, the incandescent (regular pre halogen bulb) in the farther lamp, both 60W, or its equivalent, so virtually the same light output. Notice the color difference is slight as that's been the case with my incandescent bulbs too and it largely depends on whether I am using a commercial bulb (feit), or the GE soft white, or it's Reveal variant, or the cheap Everyday Living bulbs from Fred Meyer/QFC. So far, I like it a lot, it dims smoothly, and I can dim it WAY down to where it's barely glowing, but like any lamp plugged into the dimmer, the dimmer turns on, but not always smoothly for the first segment of the dimmer range, but once on, it's smooth and dims the whole range of the slider.

These days, I run CFL's throughout most of my apartment with a few exceptions where the tried and true incandescent bulbs still exist (for aesthetic reasons). All in the name of reducing my energy consumption (and reducing my electric bill as much as I can).

So the rest of the day is picking up around here as I have NO plans to go anywhere, outside of the grocery store later on.

No packages came yesterday so Tuesday and/or Wednesday, goodies should arrive.

I was SO tired last night that I hit the sack before 10pm, and slept well until about 5:15am or so, finally getting up because I had to pee.

So that's that for now.

Been a while...
sound forge
Since my last post, yeah, I know...

That is, my last post was last Saturday, the 10th of January.

ANYWAY... Managed to work more on the Beatles CD project as well as post A Tale of Four Beatles Cassette Tapes Pt 2 to my blog on the 14th, which was Wednesday. Pt 1 got posted on January 4th.

I also spent $$$, thanks to $100 cash from Christmas, $100 cash from my oldest sisiter last Saturday as we all celebrated my birthday, and I also got a $40 gift card from Amazon as a belated Christmas gift. On its way to me are 4 items in 2 separate packages, one via USPS, the other via Ontrac.

The stylus replacement for my cartridge is coming via USPS from I think Tennessee, the three other items from Pheonix Arizona, Both are in the area now, with the shipping date being mid week next week, the 3 items on Tuesday, the stylus the following day, so we'll see if they come today, or next week. I have NO idea how Ontrac works, though we get the occasional Ontrac delivery at work, and it's a carrier delivery guy who is directed to the mailroom and we sign off on such items. It's usually no more than a couple of items on any given day. This is because I'm having it all delivered here at the apartment, so have NO idea if Ontrac needs me to be here to get it, or not, though it may be handed off to USPS for delivery the final way here, dunno. Just found out that while the cart MAY arrive today, the other items by next Tuesday as they don't usually deliver on Saturdays, unless the post office does the final leg, which I doubt. I just know both items hit the area yesterday.

The three other items are the Lives of Anna Madrigal (hardcover as the paperback is not released just yet), Zoom, Back to the 70's (DVD of the original Zoom program from the 1970's that was produced by WGBH/Boston), and a 50Pk of the Mobile Fidelity inner sleeves for my precious vinyl, good enough for archival use too and very reasonably priced at $20 for 50 of them.

The stylus is a replacement one for my Shure Cart that I bought new in 2006. The stylus replacement is WAY overdue, and thus is worn most likely as well as the suspension being old and likely drying out as well, which affects the audio quality. Eventually, I will want to upgrade that old table of mine to something MUCH better than a mid 80's era Japanese mass market deck. It does fantastic for what it is, but I know i can do MUCH better. Eventually. There is still a house to purchase, once I find one before I can even contemplate a new/used table purchase, but in the meantime, I need a new stylus, and at $44, it's better than no upgrade, right?

I'm still awaiting on my electronic W2 for '14 to drop so I can do my taxes. My strategy of redoing my W4 and adjusting my lunch breaks to compensate for not clocking in by 7:30 (more like 8am) and getting off at 4:30pm has helped as my paycheck yesterday is the highest it's probably ever been. $837. Nice. As the old saying goes, Every little bit helps... So that meant going from a full hour to a half hour lunch instead.

I also got the rest of the tracks I needed, outside of Abbey Road, which I'm still awaiting on the CD from the library to come in (I'm in the cue, but there are others ahead of me, and at the time of placing the hold, 5 copies and all out and with others waiting for them).

So meanwhile, had the two CD's I had also requested come in at the same time, the Capitol Albums, two 4 CD box sets each whereby Capitol Records remastered ALL of the early to mid official Capitol releases of the Beatles career, that is, from Meet the Beatles to Rubber Soul. and was able to replace three tracks, Two from Beatles '65 (She's a Woman and I'm So Fine) that I didn't have anywhere in my collection since I didn't have Beatles '65 on vinyl, and they were ONLY singles in the UK at the time. This is because I'd pulled the digital download mono files from iTunes initially. Plus, I also nabbed the US STEREO version of I'm Looking Through You as it was the ONLY version to have the false start. That is, you hear 2 notes strummed, then a restart that goes a bit further, then the song actually begins. On all Mono and UK versions (stereo/mono), the false start is edited out.

The nice thing about the Capitol Albums box (on CD anyway), is it's some of the best remastering out there of the Beatles ouitput, it even trumps the 1987 UK/Parlophone CD's with such clarity and accuracy, and this includes Ringo's drums, full timber and all that with them that don't usually exist, even less so on the original Capitol releases back in the day, and the subesequent reissues decades ago. Another nice thing is the mono versions are NOT folded down stereo to mono, but the TRUE mono mixes/masters from the day as the Mono version of I'm Looking Through You does not contain the false start being just one example of the differences. Also, Capitol saw fit to retain all of the various fake stereo tracks where they only had the Mono mixes on hand (single releases mainly) and perhaps did use the nasty Duophonic technique on a few tracks too, whereby gobs of reverb and tape delay affects to simulate stereo. You Can't Do That is one if I recall whereby it's all echoey and nasty sounding, compared to the other tracks. I'm still on the fence on replacing it with the UK CD version instead. The Capitol Box had that toned down considerably and is much more pleasant to listen to.

So with that, I was able to rebuild Vol 1 last night finally with the newer/better sources, and add in I Want to Hold Your Hand from With the Beatles. The significance of that track is it's the first song ever by the Beatles to be recorded on a four-track, multi-track machine. The significance of that is, they can now multi-track in true fashion, and can get more elaborate in their work, which you get as they progress along. So now, the CD has 22 tracks, I think and they ALL just barely fit onto CD at something like 78 minutes in length, and the CD is 80 minutes in capacity for full CD resolution. So I begin with Chains from Please, Please Me UK CD (I know, I could have used the even more inferiour sounding Introducing... the Beatles from Vee-Jay records on vinyl) and then ending it with the feedback laden single, She's a Woman from Beatles '65. So today, I'll do Vol. 2, beginning with I'm So Fine another feedback ladened single that was included on Beatles '65. Beatles '65 is mostly the core of Beatles For Sale, a UK LP, but contains these two singles, and one leftover song from A Hard Day's Night (I'll Be Back), and a slew of what the author, Thomas Erlewine of Allmusic.com called, "less sharp edged covers" to round out the LP. It, like its previous albums, duly went up the charts like nobody's business, despite the album having lost any sense of cohesion and this co-mingling of various sources for a comp LP had already begun to wear thin by late '65 as it was released just in time for Christmas.

However, when rebuilding Vol. 1, I had to open up practically each vinyl track and fix the tempo as ALL of my vinyl tracks run a half step or so too fast - and this is despite my turntable strobe disc showing my table to run a tad slow, if I read it right. I went by the samples that Allmusic privided (from CD sources) and compared and made the adjustments. It's an arduous in some ways task as it takes several moniutes to do an entire song that is often less than 3 minutes in length each. So needless to say, didn't get to bed until midnight once all done and a quick scan down in Windows Media to check it all out after burning the CD.

So that is where I stand with that. The main reason for all this is I'm rebuilding four cassette tapes I'd been given 34-35 years ago by an ex brother in law of the Beatles work, though in his case, from A Hard Day's Night through Let it Be, leaving out With the Beatles, the Beatles Second album, Something New, and the Early Beatles. Something New was essentially a duplicate of AHDN Beatles material, sans the title track, and I Should have Known Better. along with some great R&B covers from Carl Perkins and Larry Williams, and ending it with the German language version of I Want to Hold Your Hand. Essentially, AHDN was a United Artist release as it was the movie soundtrack of the same name, the Beatles first movie at that from 1964.

Anyway, it's "in the can", though I may redo the CD, once more as I think I'll bump up She's a Woman up to its more or less proper place in the Beatles for Sale tracks, since Beatles '65 contains the core of the very LP.

As far as work is concerned, a good week, though yesterday we had to let a temp go. It'd been obvious from early on that he was NOT going to work out long term as he had issues integrating with ANYONE, and two, could not be depended on being detail oriented, and thought he knew everything (when he really didn't) and was just annoying to all of us, so he was let go and no love lost amongst us all. It all got extended out longer than needed for reasons I'm not really sure of, but it may be that we had to negotiate with the temp agency, and/or with upper management, and in there, we got a new integrated account manager, whom is there most days, and seems to be making a concerted effort to learn the site, something that NO other IAM has EVER done since the site went IKON/Ricoh, nearly 8 years ago.

As for today, it's get my haircut, and do some errands early on and then come back and muck out the kitchen and pick up elsewhere since it's supposed to get wet by mid to late in the day with more threats of flooding (minor) since 3-4 inches of rain are expected in the Cascades and Olympic mountains through tonight and into the first half of tomorrow. This means errands this morning to PFI, and the bread store since it's a non Seahawk game day (that's tomorrow) as they play another round in the playoffs (home advantage). If they win, I think it's off to the Superbowl again this year. This I don't think has ever happened in the life of this franchise (assuming it happens), thus the fans are right to be giddy with pride for the home team.

So that is what's up here in the past week.

Got a fun day ahead
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Yes, and as soon as I finish this, it's off to the shower as I need to be ON the road no later than 9:30AM as I am heading to Tacoma to meet up with my sibs at the very least for brunch and then we'll go do some antique mall(s), one of my favorite things to do every so often. Been up since 5:45am or so, so have had time to relax and awaken so that's nice.

So that should be fun.

Alas, it is going to be a damp one though as rain is forecast for most of the day. Ah well, it IS January and rains are part and parcel for the month. This means, no fog this morning, and that means no tempurature inversion.

Thankfully, I don't have to deal with Seahawk traffic much, outside of just getting INTO Seattle via I-5, but I'll be getting off way north of the stadiums so it should not be TOO bad.

That is all dependent on WHEN I head back as the game begins at 5:15pm, so people will be heading up to Seattle mid afternoon in time to find parking and get in before kickoff starts.

Either way, should be a fun outing. I will have to make a store run later when home and that's OK with me.

(no subject)
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Another week has come and gone, this time with a mild temperature inversion thing going on where we have some stagnent air and some fog, some mornings, ti's thicker than other mornings, but is largely gone by midday. Despite it all, I love fog, it's so pretty.

Nonetheless, not an uncommon occurance this time of the year, and it can flare up allergies for some people. Me, it can be a problem if I don't take my meds, which includes an allergy pill.

Some developments at work.

Had a site certification on Monday that seemed sudden, but turned out, our new boss got the notice in his work email several weeks back, the one from our employer, which he can only access through a complex portal as it's Lotus Notes, and hadn't been in it in a couple of weeks, thus missed the announcement, ooops. I think we largely did OK despite the ack, here they come! Oh well, we usually do fine with these things. Also, we hired on one of the 3 temps, Amy. Sarah, still on the fence about, and Ryan, I'm hoping not, and from what my boss indicated, likely not as one, he's annoying, and two, lacks attention to detail amongst other issues.

Sarah when she's working does a good job, but takes multi lunch breaks and such and does very little outside of delivering to her building so she may get the heave ho too.

Life here is moving along at a leasurely pace, which is nice. Late yesterday had a hearing aid appointment, got that done, with some readjustments to the aid to reduce the tendency of it dropping the volume, and keeping it low and I think I described what it's doing a bit better, so far so good. I think it'll help with speech MUCH better at the very least.

Tomorrow, I'm to meet with siblings for breakfast and go hit some antique shops in Tacoma as Sunday is my Birthday, and at that point, I'll be 50. So that should be fun. I may see if my 2014 W2 is ready electronically, and if so, get my taxes done.

Overall, life is fine and should get back into the house hunt fray again now that the holidays and the first couple of weeks of the new year are out of the way and see what I can find.

Overall, been a good week, still working on Pt 2 of my Beatles tapes post for my blog, but Pt 1 is up and has been for most of the week.

So with that, time I fix lunch and get myself out the door to work.
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