Sun Jul 26 2020 16:00:00 GMT-0700 (Pacific Daylight Time)
This year, World Listening Day was on Saturday, July 18th, 2020. The global SARS-CoV-2 pandemic and civil unrest (caused by social injustice) have dramatically altered the world. I thought it would be interesting to try and recreate the soundwalk I did last year in hopes of making a recording that could demonstrate a sonic contrast.
In order to be more faithful to the previous recording, I took the liberty of doing the soundwalk on Friday, one day before the actual official World Listening Day. I met up with my colleague Wes downtown at noon, and we wore masks and stayed outdoors and socially distant. There were a few surprises along the way.
First, the wind was considerably stronger than prior years. I decided to try the windscreens that came with my in-ear binaural microphones, but I wasn't sure how they might be impacting the recording volume (plus, it was just really quiet downtown). Once we were walking for a few minutes, the wind really wasn't that bad and I'm not entirely sure how necessary the windscreens were (although they probably helped). The recording did end up being quite quiet, so I applied a constant 15dB amplification, which I think sounds pretty good but maybe calls up the background hiss/noise floor a bit more than I'd have preferred.
Second, the route I chose last year winds along the Willamette river via a stretch of private greenway (shared use path). Sadly, this year the path was closed due to construction in parts and covid-19 concerns. We ended up with more sidewalk time than I had hoped, which probably makes contrasting with the prior year more difficult. The upside, however, is that we got to find and explore some interesting new spaces, like a parking lot under the Broadway bridge. Ultimately, this detour caused us to be out recording longer, and we captured closer to an hour (compared to 50 minutes last year)
During our walk, I found it harder than usual to concentrate on my intentional listening. The sights and sounds of the city seemed more alien than they normally would, and so my mind was easily distracted and my focus drifted. While this is normal for me (and probably for most) during soundwalks, I found the sense of distraction elevated from previous times (especially visual distraction). Every new bit of graffiti seen brought me back to thinking about our current crises. I tried a new technique of purposefully "softening my gaze", and I think it helped fair amount. Before today, I genuinely didn't know that this was an actual thing, let alone that it's leveraged in Buddhism, anxiety therapy, and yoga (drishti...which I have unknowingly used both in eagle pose and while track-standing on a bicycle).
This is a binaural recording, so good stereo headphones work best. Click here to visit the archive.org page for this recording or just listen to it here:
See you next year for WLD.
Sun Jul 19 2020 16:58:38 GMT-0700 (Pacific Daylight Time)
Earlier this year, I found some CDs of a minidisc recording of the
2005 PDX NoiseFest. I ripped the CDs and pulled together some pictures
and video that I shot and put up an info/archive page
and also put the
.flac files up on archive.org.
If you've stumbled upon this and can help me identify any the unknown recordings and/or images, please email me.
Hope you enjoy!
Sat May 02 2020 22:35:58 GMT-0700 (Pacific Daylight Time)
Well, here we are again, another blog entry paying late respect to one of the greats.
I learned last week that Portland wrestling superstar Rip Oliver had recently passed away after battling heart disease.
As a child of the 80s in Oregon City, I grew up watching Portland wrestling and Tom Peterson, and "Playboy" Buddy Rose, "Rowdy" Roddy Piper, Don Owen, Sandy Barr, and the whole bunch. Me and my friends used to love staying up late (while the parents all played cards) to watch the spectacle and hopefully make it to the main event. We were just like all the other young idiots who thought it was all real...and, to that young, impressionable, naive macho tween kid brain, it was fucking amazing! We lived for this shit. We cheered and yelled and recreated the action in our living rooms. We always begged to go to a match, but it never happened.
These wrestlers were ahead of their time. These mostly naked dudes were legend.
We used to just call Rip Oliver (and Buddy Rose etc) "the bad guys" or sometimes villains. Today we might call them "heels". It didn't matter, they were great! We'd always boo them and cheer for the "good guys", but the most important thing was always the show and the spectacle and the action. And they always delivered.
Back when junior high was a thing, I was on a (Greco-roman) wrestling team in the 'burbs, and Rip Oliver's son Lance was on my team. I think he might have been a year older, and I didn't really know him that well, but we were teammates. I was a skinny little dork, he was our crushing heavy (IIRC). I remember being star-struck when his dad RIP OLIVER would show up to our matches (and rarely our practices). I honestly felt conflicted, though, by having "the bad guy" rooting for our side, and giving us advice. I didn't think we were villians...and I wanted to be one of the good guys. I was an idiot.
In doing some late-nite nostalgia diving / web stalking, it's definitely clear that the sport of wrestling was important to Larry "Rip" Oliver and his family. From a couple of google searches, it seems like Lance might have even continued the tradition with his children...which I think is pretty amazing and brings me joy to see the bloodline live on.
RIP RIP OLIVER. 2020. Your legend is missed.
Thu Jul 18 2019 13:00:00 GMT-0700 (Pacific Daylight Time)
Background: 5 years ago I decided to guide a soundwalk for World Listening Day.
5 years later, I decided to do it again.
My employer is awesome. We are encouraged as part of our happy employment and ongoing professional development to engage in "thrive time" -- essentially expansive work that may not be directly related to daily business deliverables, but work that makes us better, stronger, healthier, and happier. I offered this sound walk.
Click the link above or listen to it here:
See you next year for WLD.
Sun Dec 09 2018 21:26:27 GMT-0800 (Pacific Standard Time)
So I took a staycation! And this time, it was voluntary!
People are often curious about staycations -- asking "What did you get up to? What did you get done?".
I'm not sure why -- maybe they're just nosy, but maybe it's because I always have so many projects in the air and I talk about my interests all the time? Maybe people just love the idea of a staycation. I dunno.
In any case...for my own fulfillment and sense of GSD, I decided to log some of the high points of my staycation. I feel pretty good about it overall. :)
In no real order:
I made pretty great bánh mì for my home team. We had some pork chops that needed to be utilized, so I ended up marinading them in a lemongrass/fish sauce potion and quick-pickled some carrots and radishes and made sandwiches with the usual bánh mì gear. They turned out super delicious and I think I will never not marinade pork chops.
Hung our xmas lights. Honestly, I probably only actually realize that it's winter and frigging cold when I have to take warm-up breaks during light hanging. Every. Single. Year.
Updated the DEQ/registration on the 20-year old car (and the only car I've owned). Another stupid-yet-necessary yearly ritual. In the interest of staying positive and constant learning, I chatted with the DEQ guy and learned that failing vehicles will emit a code(s?) that vehicle owners then take to mechanics to do adjustments. That sounded awful...and I started pondering this later as I caused our car to emit a squeely sound as I hit the gas hard. Hmmm. #thisisfine
Topped off the wiper fluid in the car. Yup. AMAZING! Not really, but since we park outside under a pine tree we end up using it a lot.
Spent most of Tuesday volunteering with Futel to finish
installing a public free payphone on NE Killingsworth (near 12th).
You should check it out and call your mom (or the operator) and leave voicemail and listen to LPC. It looks like this:
Made a pretty solid beef stew in the InstantPot. Isn't that like the first thing you're supposed to make? Well, meh, I finally did that...and I tossed in a ton of weird/variety mushrooms that I got in a pack. Between the thyme (maybe I used too much?) and the gross-ass-shrooms...I wasn't that into it...but it was hearty. Ok, it was pretty good.
My comic backlog is pretty out of control, so I took some time to get caught up on a few things. Like Prism Stalker (which is amazing and beautiful) and Plastic (which has been sitting waiting for over a year). I don't read that much...but when I do, there are pictures...which I can enjoy while....
LISTENING...to a backlog of sounds. So. Many. Podcasts (and radio shows). And sounds. And music. So much everything, always. After binging on Shit Town I also was stoked on this Negativland Vicki Bennett anniversay thing and some Institute of Spectra-Sonic Sound (which I wish was a snarfable podcast) and this recent :zoviet*france: live set and this radio show that LPC did with Negativland and the new Xiu Xiu video (I was stoked to learn that Thor drummed on the upcoming album) and probably several more things I'm forgetting...
I attended a parent meeting about middle school safety/climate/culture...and sent emails, and read emails, and planned meetings. We also volunteered to walk around the middle school for 20 minutes to serve as recess monitors. While being notably different from elementary school, wasn't too crazy...just more fuckwords and clandestine cellphones. #dadstuff
Got some sweet hot mud drywall repair done in our kitchen and stairs from Ruben Cortez Drywall, who was prompt, reasonable, and kinda excessively (funnily?) chatty.
Attended HH with some friends/colleagues who all got fired from Adidas with me a year ago. Great people, good times, harsh nostalgia. ///
Hung with my cousin and his partner in their new place which is only about 5 minutes by bike! We went late...and I have seriously not laughed that hard in so so many years. This.
We stalked/hunted a wild xmas tree from a parking lot, much like our ancestors. It's a real beauty! At least that's what Stacy's FB feed says.
After 10 years, I finally managed to stitch+sync audio with video for a show that I played on KBOO in May 2008. I got it uploaded to youtube and archive.org and maybe one day I'll finish reworking infiltrationlab.com and host it there too. Big thanks to earfeast (2) for getting a huge/rad 1080p recording before it was reasoanble. :)
It's the holiday season, so in keeping with tradition, I watched Jason Eisner's "Treevenge". Nothing else can ever get me in the xmas spirit like that brutal short film.
Went to a birthday party for my 1-year-old niece, who is frigging adorable. I got to rock her to sleep for a nap and watch her eat cheesecake. What a joy!
I hand-sewed 3 patches on my kitchen apron. It always takes longer than I estimate, and my fingers are always cramped and sore after. It kinda looks like this:
I definitely had a different view/perspective/appreciation of the staycation after being
laid off last year. I haven't been squarely project focused. I pace myself.
I think thoughts and carve a mild trajectory, knowing full well that it's all
subject to change at a moment's notice. I feel like a dad. I celebrate small
victories and enjoy the variety and base excitement where I can find it.
Tue Oct 23 2018 18:56:44 GMT-0700 (Pacific Daylight Time)
Fri Jul 13 2018 21:30:30 GMT-0700 (Pacific Daylight Time)
We've been back in pdx for about 16 years and I had not yet made it out to the Witch's Castle in Forest Park.
So I decided to do that on Monday.
I can't really say that I recommend it on a road bike, but it was mostly fine. I couldn't ride about half the trail, due to the rocky/steep/slippery/muddy nature of a trail in a park...but it was quite ok early on a Monday morning. Only passed about two other people on the trail (one hiker, one jogger).
The trail dumps you out on Cornell, and then you get to take the lane and bomb maybe 2 miles downhill, including 2 tunnels. I didn't know the area that well, so I was fully clenched and expecting to fall/die.
My device said I hit 40MPH. It was insane and also fun as hell...
Fri Sep 26 2014 22:42:31 GMT-0700 (Pacific Daylight Time)
The Church of Robotron has been working hard to find the mutant savior and to train members of the last human family. We had an opening on Wednesday, and my friend Zach edited together this fantastic video:
Here's a test video I shot of oscule's much improved jacob's ladder...it's terrifying:
If you have not yet been tested, please join us on First Thursday, October 2nd, 2014 at Diode Gallery for indoctrination, testing, anti-robot training, propaganda distribution, and some good old-fashioned street devival.
Mon Jul 21 2014 22:47:05 GMT-0700 (Pacific Daylight Time)
So yeah, this is a series of thoughts random, poorly organized thoughts and bookmarked tabs from the conference. In no particular order...
I'm sure I've only captured a fraction of what I found fun/interesting/inspiring! Until next year...
Fri Jun 27 2014 01:00:18 GMT-0700 (Pacific Daylight Time)
I know what I'm doing when the next economic downturn slices our faces in half! I'm going to the pawn shop with all of my Hargadons!
For historical record: First observed yesterday morning, around Broadway and 3rd (??). This is not a common morning route for me, but the sign was there and appeared fairly new. I considered going back last night to pick it up but decided to give it a day or more to cook(?). Tonight it's mine mine mine mine mine mine mine...
I want the g-voice number response team to be moar responsive, though I respect that my calls are hopefully just noise in the matrix. From the support perspective, we should be OUTRAGED that it's this difficult to get actual cash money for your actual Banksy (original artwork). Actually.
Please call the above sales line and let them know how upset you are that you can't actually sell your actually original Banksy.
Thu Dec 26 2013 23:38:13 GMT-0800 (Pacific Standard Time)
This is inspiring: http://humansofpdx.com/
Reinvigorates my desire to do grassroots street recording, interviews, exploration. I vowed to field record once a month. Starting that again.
Mon Dec 06 2010 23:55:56 GMT-0800 (Pacific Standard Time)
Sun Jan 03 2010 22:17:15 GMT-0800 (Pacific Standard Time)
On the transition from New Years Eve to New Years Day I made a recording of the sounds in my neighborhood, similar to the one I made last year. Here's a link to the archive.org page for it in case you want to download it or read more:
http://www.archive.org/details/NewYears2010WoodstockPortlandOr. It has reminded me just how much I enjoy the sound of binaural recording. I'm still tickled by the spacial placement of sounds in a 3D field. If you listen, you should ideally wear headphones and keep the volume very high (I didn't alter the signal and left a bunch of headroom).
Wed Feb 25 2009 23:22:25 GMT-0800 (Pacific Standard Time)
So my pal Mykle has done this EPIC event called LIGHTBAR to cheer people out of their seasonal affective disorder during February in Oregon. If you can't see the victory in building a GIANT and BRIGHT bamboo-event-party-dome, by hand, in the middle of winter, then you need to be poked (with sharp bamboo).
A few of us from dorkbot PDX have been peripherally involved, even contributing some works.
My friend Brian and I collaborated on a light-based project dubbed the RETINAL TATTOO GUN. The concept involved a series of bright flashes intended to [temporarily] imprint iconic imagery directly into the retina with strong after-images (ghosts).
We had a semi-working prototype up at LIGHTBAR last weekend before it collapsed(!!!) this week. This iteration of the retinal tattoo gun was a pretty big technical failure, but it was a fun project and we have a nice foundation going forward.
The circuit I designed/built had a series of issues, the worst of which was some form of ground bounce or inductive jibber jabber that caused all 8 flash channels to fire when any of them fired. Turns out that yeah, it's nontrivial to sequence a bunch of disposable camera flashes.
The day of installation we also found out that the repurposed viewmaster switch was connected in a way that caused the flashes to trigger when the advancer jobby was directly in front of the slide...so most of the light power was dampened. Whoops, doh!
We hope you enjoy the above image, and we hope to have something dangerous, compelling, and electrical to mount to your face in the near future.
Tue Jun 26 2007 23:12:06 GMT-0700 (Pacific Daylight Time)
So this past Sunday was the first "official" (more formal) DorkbotPDX event in Portland. I've been meeting with the group semi-frequently and really enjoyed seeing the first major event come alive. I gave a brief talk on the p5 glove controller as used as a sound controller with free/open source software...especially pure-data. I have slides and demo patches from the talk available here I had a real blast! Things went pretty smoothly for being a first-time event...and we're well positioned now to learn from our experiences and move forward toward great success. The momentum factor is a big thing IMO, especially during mid summer when people are on vacation or are generally more active...travelling, enjoying the outdoors. That's a big yearly theme in the NW -- sun comes out, people go out. We tend to get really busy during the summer. I'm slowly and surely working on building an audiopint, but I had to RMA the PSU, and so progress has been delayed. (crossing fingers hoping the problem is actually the psu). David has been super helpful in explaining some of their process and what the caveats/pitfalls are. I still don't have a great method of mounting things to the inside of the case/lid without poking through from the outside...but I'll likely resort to JB weld or a plastic weld to hold in brackets/bolts so things can remain secure. More updates on that project as it progresses...