May 2014 Archives

Projects galore...

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Quick little update...

Been quite busy with projects - two of my own, and one for a good friend from Yelp. My Yelp pal wanted to spruce-up his new condo and give it a more rustic feel, so he ordered some custom cut-and-planed reclaimed barnwood from a craftsman woodworker down in the Monroe, WI area.

His plan was to fit the barnwood to one of his living room walls, and to give it some texture/feel. Problem was that my pal doesn't have a ton of woodworking tools, and he wasn't quite sure how to piece it all together. He asked me for some help, of which I was happy to provide.

I brought over my 12" Hitatchi compound miter saw, my stand, a vacuum, and my pneumatic nailer. Corey had thoughtfully pre-arranged the wood by color type. I suggested we start at the floor and work our way up; the ceiling wasn't super level, and the thought of having to deal with that for the entire effort wasn't exactly appealing.

The wall measured 13-feet wide and 10-feet tall. He wanted at least two boards per level, and didn't want super pronounced seams. So, we miter cut each end of the boards and just sort of fit things together "mason like."

Here's what we had after the first day:

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I also relocated an electrical outlet to the middle of the wall (for television mounting purposes) and relocated this thermostat to another room (for aesthetics). We finished up the project a day later; the final layer that met the ceiling called for some fun hand-cut, hand-fitting... but it turned out pretty well. I was extremely pleased with the end result.

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Project number two involved improving the quality of the drinking water at my house. My water tastes absolutely terrible - like mud mixed with metal. So, I ordered a new SpectraPure 4-stage, reverse osmosis drinking water system, similar to the one I installed at my previous house.

I say similar, because the previous system was only a 2-stage. I went with the 4-stage system here because of the extremely poor quality of the city water. I'm so thrilled to pay $5000/year in property tax and hundreds of dollars every quarter for crappy water...

The install didn't go too terribly well, primarily because SpectraPure is terrible with their Quality Control and Inventory. The kit was missing several very unique fittings, the instructions were incorrect in two places, and the pre-assembled Reverse Osmosis membrane leaked like a sieve. So... several trips to a few hardware stores and a disassembly and reassembly of the RO membrane later, and I finally have good, clean, pure water. Yay!

No photos; sorry.

The final project involved the new car. When I took delivery of it, I noticed a slight brake pulsation. I mentioned it to the dealer, and they dismissed it as being related to the car having sat for so long. I didn't think that sounded accurate, but I was happy to get the car, and took ownership of it, complete with pulsating brakes.

Fast-forward a few months and I couldn't take the pulsation... I did some research, and apparently Mercedes had a known issue with brake pulsation in my particular vehicle. Despite having 14.2" vented and cross-drilled brake rotors, the initial metalurgical make-up lent itself to pulsation.

Mercedes corrected the issue by way of a new brake rotor assembly. Unfortunately, rotors and pads are about the *only* item not covered by my awesome warranty... so, I ponied-up the nearly $800 for new rotors and pads and drove over to Topels to do the work.

Things went relatively well; had a minor situation thanks to the calipers being 2-piece, direct-mounted calipers, but it wasn't a huge ordeal. Here's the finished product - those new rotors are not only gorgeous, but effective. With the new pads and rotors, the car stops on a dime (and gives nine cents change).

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Sounds good to me

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Some of you may recall that I used to run sound (typically Front Of House ("FOH")) for some bands way back when. Well, I've had the opportunity to revive that old role; I've recently run FOH for a few bands here in Madison, but the most fun I've had with it happened this past weekend.

Typically, FOH is a bit of a challenge. You have to help the band "load-in" their equipment; heavy speakers, amplifier racks, mixing boards, and other stage equipment... Then you have to set-up all of the equipment, which typically belongs to the band, and is often in rough shape, so things like microphones and cables are beat-up and in questionable states of performance. Then you sound check, which the band usually doesn't want to do, because they're tired from all of the set-up, and they'd rather relax before the show starts.

Then the show starts, and it's a constant fight with the band; their stage volume is usually far too loud, which makes the overall mix far too loud. And they're never happy with what they're hearing on stage through the monitors, usually because the band's equipment isn't capable of delivering what the band wants.

And, when the show's over, you get to tear down all of the equipment, load it into the trailer, and finally head home, usually around 4:00am or so. It makes for a long day/night.

Well, I was thrilled when I was asked to run sound for a very small venue here in Madison. The venue is called, "Kiki's House of Righteous Music," and it's actually someone's house.

I've seen a few shows at Kiki's house, and have thoroughly enjoyed every one of them. Kiki normally has a regular person to run FOH, but apparently that person has been unavailable quite a bit, as of late. So, she asked if I'd be interested in running FOH for her. Apparently, word got out that I do sound, and she reached out to me.

I arrived to Kiki's at around 6:00pm on Sunday night; she owns her own sound system, complete with speakers, amps, microphones, board, and all cabling. Nice. No set-up to worry about!

The band loaded-in their gear; I offered to help, but between the two of them and their assistants, everything was taken care of. Nice!

We got the stage set-up by 6:45pm. I asked for a sound check, and they were more than happy to oblige. These guys were true professionals; they had just come from a show in Toronto, and were on their way to play a show in Chicago on Monday, so they weren't your typical bar band crew. Nice!

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They were fantastic to work with during the sound check, because they maintained a very reasonable stage volume, and they knew exactly what they wanted in their monitor mix. We had everything dialed-in within 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, Kiki was upstairs preparing dinner for us, so when we finished with the sound check, she hollered down the stairs to alert us that dinner was ready. Kiki made a wonderful chicken, vegetable, and pasta dish, complete with an Asian coleslaw and some bread from the Batch Bakehouse.

The band invited me to eat with them; we sat around Kiki's table, gnoshing and getting to know one another. It was really cool to hear about their recent travels and to learn about where they were heading next (Russia an Europe in June!).

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By the time we had finished eating, the crowd was beginning to arrive. Ian (the lead singer), asked if anyone had a coffee grinder. Kiki didn't, but I did, so I ran home to grab my Chemex coffee pot and grinder, and before long, I was brewing coffee for the band. Here we are, enjoying a cup of coffee (photo, compliments of my friend's Instagram account).

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At around 8:00pm, we made our way down to the basement; my iPod was playing pre-show music for the crowd of about 45 people. I grabbed my seat at the sound board; my pals (Chris and his girlfriend) sat next to me. I had to snap a quick "selfie" to capture the moment.

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The show started, and the band was incredible. Their musical style could best be described as melancholy southern rock... think of something like an acoustical version of Tom Petty meets Lynrd Skynrd, or something like that... I'll include a link to their website at the end of this entry.

The guys were solid; they hit every note, they were consistent with volumes, and they just sounded professional. It really made my job easy. They'd throw me an occasional glance for a little adjustment, but nothing was too difficult or unusual. It was super fun.

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The band shared stories about their travels and gave a behind-the-scenes look into many of the songs (inspirations, meanings, etc). Before we knew it, the clock had struck 10:00pm and it was time to call it a night. The crowd slowly made their way home, but not before grabbing a t-shirt or a CD or poster. The band graciously signed autographs and chatted with nearly everyone.

I helped them pack-up and load things back into their trailer; they responded by giving me a personalized, autographed poster, and by inviting me to join them on tour this summer. Sadly, my "real job" would prevent me from traveling to Russia and/or Europe, so I had to decline the offer. Who knows if they were serious, but they seemed sincere!

I can't wait to run sound for future Kiki shows. It's such a better, more enjoyable experience all the way around.

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Ian Moore Music - Official Site

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This page is an archive of entries from May 2014 listed from newest to oldest.

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