A REDISCOVERY OF SOUND
If you’re following me on Twitter, you’re probably sick of pictures of the new mixer setup. But I just had to show off this hack (cramming the mixer on a book stand so it stands up) that allows me to reclaim some desktop real estate.
I finally have it set up right so that the audio for my Zoom calls really is good. But I discovered an unintended benefit this week — pumping music from my laptop through the mixer and into a set of monitor headphones cranked up to an unwise volume actually took me back in time.
See, in the days before iPods or other devices connected to Bluetooth speakers, decent portable music depended on how big a boombox your arms could handle and how many tapes or CDs you were willing to cart around. The sound was as good as you could get (depending how much money you were willing you shelled out), but it was never as good as plugging into an actual stereo system. You know — those huge components connected to a turntable that your older relatives (or young, obnoxious hipster friends with turntables) have that play music when put together.
I spent a lot of time in my ‘tween and teen years with a set of headphones plugged into my dad’s stereo. For me, the joy wasn’t just in the so-called HiFi audio quality. It was hearing things you never heard on the radio — the things that used to creep into studio recordings that could make a studio performance real like chatter or odd reverbs. It was hearing every single instrument part being played. Studio chatter in between and sometimes underneath certain tracks. It really was a world I would regularly get lost in.
I’d gotten used to listening to “good enough” audio over the decades, same as everyone else. I’d basically quit bothering tweaking audio levels on the computers I’ve owned; maybe I could’ve been doing this all along. But stumbling back into the joys of audio — where even the shitty 192 kbps .mp3s I’ve accumulated but never re-ripped over the years sound good — actually put me back in touch with something deeper this week that I’d forgotten about.
FEEDING MY EARS
The latest episode of KCRW’s UNFICTIONAL breaks my heart.
When Fedelina Lugasan moved to the U.S. from the Philippines for work, she was comforted by the fact that she’d start her new life with a family she trusted. But her life and job were not what they told her it would be, and she was cut off from family back home. When an opportunity presented itself, she took her freedom into her own hands.
There, but for the lucky circumstances of me and my family, go I. Not that my mother ever experienced this, but Nanay’s voice in this piece (Lugasan and the woman doing the transalation) reminds me of Mom. And not just because this is the story of an older Filipina, but because the horrors in this story check off a lot of the boogeyman scenario boxes that my parents put into my head as a young kid about how Filipinos could be treated if we stepped out of line, but for the occasional intervention of other Filipinos, which justifies the “us vs. them” mentality that immigrants with the barest measure of privilege sometimes have.
On the brighter side, though, here’s a 10-minute discussion with a friend-slash-my favorite writer ever, M. Rickert, on THE COODE STREET PODCAST.
THOUGHT OF THE WEEK
For any of you out there thinking about applying to Viable Paradise…
If you want more info, you can check this out, or hit me up, or hit up any other alum/staff/person you might feel comfortable with!https://t.co/oZ5rU5wWi1
— Don Pizarro (@DonP) May 9, 2020
There was more to my week, but not much more. So I’m gonna wrap it up and knock some more things off my to do lists. Stay safe, wash your hands, and don’t let anyone tell you not to wear a mask!