Saturday, May 23, 2009

"I don't like being a Post-Modernist"

It sucks.

I'm somewhat tempted to leave the post at that, but feel a little elaboration may be at least polite.

We are finite individuals. We cannot know completely, comprehensively. We can only know in part.

Modernism claims that we can know definately. That our knowing something to be true can be true, and right, and accurate.

I don't believe that. Our finite, human perspective is so limited, so small, so warped, that how can any one human's perception be absolutely comprehensively true? It could, in theory, be an absolutely honest viewpoint, but a small, finite, limited and warped honest viewpoint, nevertheless.

So then. Where does that lead us?

Claims of truth being relative.

Counter-claims by modernists that not believing in God as absolute truth absolutely denies you access to Him.

Declarations of nonsensical "Pan-Everythingism" as Francis Shaeffer would call it.

Refutations by absolute logic.

Definitions of logic as equally relative and therefore meaningless.

I dunno.


There is a road, and along the road there are signs pointing along it. Some travellers wear green-tinted glasses and so say "The Signs are Green! Unless You Believe In the True Greenness Of The Signs, You Will Never Reach The Destination!"

Others have red tinted glasses, and so say exactly the same, "The Signs are Red! Unless You Believe In The True Redness Of The Signs, You Will Never Reach The Destination!"

Others wear glasses where the tint is red at the top, green at the bottom, yellow on the left, blue on the right, and purple in the middle. "It depends which way you hold your head!" They say. "Everyone has their own perspective on the signs. There is no absolute colour of the signs."

I have several sets of glasses, and I can put them both on. Neither of them really fit my nose, but without them my sight is so poor I can barely see anything. Everything looks distorted, confused, and wrong when I wear the glasses, and I don't want to settle on any one of them.

I want the sign maker to come, take my hand, and lead me to His home: the destination at the end of the road to which the signs point.

I trust Him. I don't know fully where I'm walking, but maybe that's enough.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

broken stuff

I don't like broken stuff.


Our main pulpit/lecturn mix suddenly for no apparent reason completely died. No signal, *nothing* any more.

About half the outputs of the audio distributor. Why? I dunno.

The door request form box (as of about a month. The carpenter finally came around yesterday, and said maybe he'll get a chance to fix it sometime in a few weeks time...)

Two more of the TVs in our "Main Lounge" auditaurium seem to be going on the blink, just a little.

The main desk connector for the camera control unit doesn't seem to be able to last longer than about a month. It's broken again.

The door between our main and forward lounges. This time the carpenters don't seem to know how to fix it or what to do.

The main stage floodlights dimmer knob has become suddenly wobbly and probably the whole unit needs taking off and fixing.

The port side BOSE speaker is making funny noises. It sounds like it's bust a cone or something. Fluttery. I need to investigate that as well sometime soon.

The main rack preview monitor is (I think) giving out some kind of weird electrical/magnetic/radio/something interference on to every other video signal in the vicinty. As soon as it's switched off, a whole bunch of problems go away.

The AV room amplifier/speakers are distorted.

Almost all of the mics seem somewhat wobbly on the ends of all the cables, and occasionally drop out.

For some reason I've not been able to get our usual wireless bodypack to connect to the violist's pickup/bodypack, and so have had to use a SM57 for him for about a month. It always worked before, and I can't see anything that's changed. We only ever encounter problems like this during a 10 minute line-check and so don't have time to fully explore what's not working.

I've only got 3 mostly working DI boxes left.

I've got 4 VHS tape players in the rack, because they are all only capable of playing some kinds of VHS tapes correctly.

All of the amps have been dropping out occasionally, randomly.

The book shop sound system is falling apart, I fear. The fan in the amp sounds about as loud as a whole fanroom is supposed to.

The main computer VGA->composite video scan converter is distinctly unhappy, and takes about 10 minutes to turn on.

The computer sound input is *very* noisy. I don't know why.

I have two wireless mics in the UK for repairs right now. Hopefully they'll make their way back here in a fixed condition at some point.

The video distributor for the Book Ex screens seems to be glitchy.

All of the jackfield/patchpanels are somewhat ... odd. I'm working my way through cleaning them all, but some of them just seem sad and tired. the sockets wiggle about and the connections as glitchy as you would expect.

The folding doors between our port and main lounges seems a bit squint and is now very hard to open or close.

The rubber mats on the starboard side one is equally falling apart.

Our chair broke again today.

The beanbag is more like just a bag now.

All of the music stands are slightly broken.

All of the mic stands are slightly broken.

And that's just off the top of my head right now.


I'm just plain tired of it all.

I have no training or knowledge about anything. I'm just a headless chicken, running around bleeding all over the place.

And I suck so much at delegation and actually getting other people to get things done, that it feels like nothing is getting done.

I know that's not true.

I'm just tired and complaining. I should shut up, finish the port shedule, and go to bed.


Oh yes. I just remembered the whole point of this post.

Yeah. Anyway. So, we've got so much *stuff*. It's insane. So many things. We're incredibly blessed, I guess is the good christian way of saying it. We could do without so much. We don't, honestly, NEED a lecturn mic. Yes, a mic on a stand next the lecturn looks ugly, but hey, looking good isn't a need, right? Most of what gets actually spoken through it is boring anyway. And we don't need non-distorting preview speakers in AV. Just enough to hear "oh yes, there's sound!", right? Most of the sound we have to play sounds bad in the first place, so what's the point of telling just exactly how bad it is? And it doesn't matter if there are wavey interference lines all over all the TVs, becauase as long as the audience can see at all, anything else is just "nice" but not "needed"?

I dunno. I'm frustrated. I don't know what is actually needed or what is just nice. I could make most shows happen with just a boom-box, laptop, and kareoke mic. It would sound and look a lot worse than currently, but it would still happen.

So much of the musicians themselves are so undertrained and unarranged, getting better speakers in the ceiling would help a little, but somehow persuading them "y'all don't actually have to strum every single chord in every single bar in every single song!" would help a lot more...

I've lost perspective, I think. I'm working out of what I think I can kind of expect, given the current state of things, but it's hard to know what stuff is my vision for improvement, what stuff is worth replacing, what parts of the work should be continued, what should be scrapped, etc.

The grass is always greener, though, hey?

If I could actually spend my whole time teaching music theory, I'd wish I could just do easy stuff like fixing mic cables and not have to worry about how to explain syncopation.

Funny. Being human and all.

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus."

Saturday, May 09, 2009

A few days mixing

You know you're not going to enjoy the evening when you get told before sound-check "make sure I'm very quiet in the mix, because I'm out of practice".

That was a few days ago. Today:

Our keyboard output stopped working between soundcheck and performance. We didn't know until there just was no sound as the musician hit her cue *after* the soloist started singing. We couldn't do anything in time, eventually we managed to get it working for about half the piece, and they carried on very professionally, but it died again. She left the stage in tears. That really makes you feel crap as a sound-guy.

We then got a SM58 microphone and clamped it to the top of the keyboard's built in speakers. That worked well enough for the rest of the show.

I hate stuff like that.

It's fun, showing up at venues, and having comments like "Oh yes, well, all the tweeters are blown, that's why it sounds bad. We haven't replaced them yet". (Well. Thanks for telling us the same day we need them!)

I spent about an hour today trying to figure out the wiring for the venue on shore, it was "broken". everything held together with tape, wires coming out of the wall without labels. I managed to get some working, and watching the little blue sparks flying around was quite amusing when I was trying to find which speakers were attached to which wires, and which amplifers actually worked... I gave up eventually and just used our own speakers.

I screwed up a lot today. It could have been a much better performance. I didn't manage to get the compressors hooked up into the system in time, even. And the MC and translator were all over the place with their level. Crying out for compression. Painful, even.

If someone feels like randomly donating something expensive to me/Doulos, I really wouldn't mind about 4 or 5 of these: ...

I really need to start playing worst-case-scenario with my people more. I can generally problem solve and get something working "well enough" fast, but they can't (yet), and I could do so much more, and better, if I could a few arrange things ahead of time, and think in advance, and not do everything by the seat of my pants.

*sigh* So much to work on. So much to do.