ironphoenix: (gear)
( Aug. 7th, 2007 02:00 pm)
Refreshed, after a long weekend: besides Monday being the Civic Holiday, I and most of my co-workers had Friday off (company perk) as well.

Aikido Thursday evening was a very enjoyable advanced class, during which we considered some of the ethical as well as the technical aspects of some variants of throws. Friday's weapons class was also fun, with jo practice (jo vs. jo and jo-nage, throws using a jo). The dojo's air conditioning was much appreciated by all, given the weather: hot and humid both days!

I ordered my new mixer from Steve's on Friday; it should get here next weekend! This is a Mackie, an upgrade from my Behringer Eurorack 1604, which I'm quite willing to part with at a very reasonable price. (It has a couple of minor issues: phantom power to microphones can't be turned off, and the "main mix to monitor" button is flaky.)

[ profile] torrain joined us for stir-fry and chatting Friday evening; [ profile] theweaselking was missed, so we'll have to flush him out of hiding next time. Saturday, I was visiting them for poker, which was also enjoyable, although I didn't win or place. (The 2-6 offsuit I was dealt in the first hand set the tone for the tournament.) [ profile] torrain was suffering from an allergic reaction, although the cause was unclear; the only thing we could think of was some mysterious component of the stir-fry sauce. After poker, we watched The Protector, a very cheesy martial arts movie. Fortunately, the martial arts content was in fact quite good, because the plot flimsy excuse for fight scenes was more than a bit weak. It really could use three silhouettes in the bottom right corner.

S. and I went hiking, or at least walking and birdwatching, on Bate Island and along Voyageur Trail East on Sunday. Interesting sightings include Common Mergansers, Northern Flickers (pretty birds!), many Cedar Waxwings, an unidentified diving duck we at first mistook for a Mallard until it vanished below the water (Hey! that ain't no Mallard!), a Herring Gull (most of the gulls in Ottawa are Ring-Billed Gulls), and both a Red-Breasted and a White-Breasted Nuthatch (on the same tree, no less!). The ducks are tough to identify because the males are in eclipse: the colorful and distinctive breeding plumage is lost for a few weeks after breeding season, and so one is left trying to distinguish a lot of generally brown ducks. (This leaves some of them, such as Wood Ducks, flightless during the period!) Monday, we went walking along the Rideau river, and saw the usual suspects (including a few of Ottawa's Mute Swans), and a dozen or so of Barn Swallows catching bugs for dinner.

And finally, S. and I went to see Ratatouille Sunday evening, on the basis that any movie in the mid-90's on Rotten Tomatoes can't be too bad. We weren't disappointed: Pixar hasn't lost it all, even under MegaCorp Disney's influence. I'd rank it up there in quality with Finding Nemo. Animation is pretty impressive stuff these days, blurring the lines between reality and illusion. In the credits, they claim specifically that the animation is "real," in that there was no motion capture used for any of the characters or anything else, which is quite impressive given how natural everything looked. (How natural was that? Natural enough that it was completely transparent, and I never had a "people (or rats) don't move like that!" reaction.) Highly recommended!
ironphoenix: (tunez)
( Oct. 3rd, 2006 03:29 pm)
Well, drat... I wish I'd had these for the gig Sunday. They're really just what I wanted. (If you're just tuning in, I got my hands on my new Denon DN-D4500 CD players last night for the first time.)

Lessee. Features I love:
  • Anti-skip memory: Skipping CDs due to table bumps has pissed me off repeatedly; end of problem, I hope. (I tried it out, and couldn't make it skip by shaking or bumping the table.)

  • BPM Indicator: Okay, it's not perfect, sometimes getting confused in some parts of tracks, but wow does it make beat-mixing easier when you don't have to do it all by ear!

  • Pitch Correction: One of the problems with changing speeds is that the pitch of sounds (i.e. key) also shifts, and this effect is painful on the ear of sensitive music types. These players can correct for this effect, speeding up or slowing down a track and compensating for pitch change. Again, very useful for beat mixing.

  • Jog Wheel and Shuttle Ring: These are just plain nice interfaces for moving within a track. Intuitive, easy on the fingers, and much faster than fast-forward and rewind buttons.

  • Hot Start, Looping and Stutter: Technically, I could do this before, using a sampler, but this is tons easier and faster. One of my main gripes with Roland's SP-505 sampler is that it seems to take bloody ages when writing to internal or external storage, so editing on the fly is time-consuming. Acceptable for the studio, but when playing live, time is in short supply. These are nice for effects within a track and for providing lead-ins and -outs for mixing.

  • MP3 Handling: This is a nice bonus for me right now, although I might gradually switch to using MP3s for live playing (less plastic to lug around). My wife, on the other hand, is very happy about this, since she collects MP3's and doesn't like having to extract them all to full audio CD's to be able to play them on the good sound system.

  • Brake effect: Okay, okay, it's not that all-fired important, but it's a cute bonus. This effect makes it sound like a record player slowing to a stop when the track is halted using the pause button. One can fake it using the pitch shifter set to no compensation and 100% speed range, but having a button just for that promises to cause all kinds of trouble, as I will of course be tempted to overuse it.

There are other features, of course, but these are the biggies for me. The only thing I really miss is alpha track, a feature that lets one play two independent points on the same CD simultaneously to separate outputs. To get that would require spending about twice as much money for a DN-D9000 though, so I'll just have to make do for now.

Now I just have to get my tax money back from the government... nurse, forceps please.
ironphoenix: (tunez)
( Oct. 2nd, 2006 03:05 pm)
Well, Murphy's parting shot has (I hope) been fired: my new CD players arrived the day after my set for the Ottawa Slam Poets Benefit.

Don't ship UPS. Just... never hassle-free. Especially cross-border.

The event was a blast, though not quite as well-attended as hoped for. If you've never heard slam poets and live spoken-word stuff, you're missing out. I did a set before the main event; DJ Neuron did one after.

Tracklist )

It seems that nobody in Ottawa spins Neuron's and my kind of trance and house, given the enthusiasm the bar staff seem to have at the few places I've been... looking at getting a semi-regular gig going "soon."
ironphoenix: Raven flying (Default)
( Sep. 25th, 2006 01:51 pm)
I just got word that the CD player I ordered in June will ship today or tomorrow, after months of backorder! W00t!

Hopefully Customs will still honor my claim for unaccompanied exempt goods. *crosses fingers*

And, it looks like it'll arrive in time for Sunday's gig! Schweet!
ironphoenix: Raven flying (Default)
( Sep. 5th, 2006 03:16 pm)
Well, for those who haven't heard, I dj'ed last night at Saturnalia, a shindig organized by [ profile] hexpiritus's small press Nekusis.

Despite equipment confusion before the event, everything came together just fine in the end thanks to DJ Neuron's generous loand of an amp and pair of speakers. [ profile] dirtybunny spun a set in the middle, and I had the opening and closing spots.

It was tons of fun! This is the kind of thing that makes me want to DJ more often for bigger crowds... the energy was warm (at a goth event, yet?!), and the flavour was of people kicking back and unselfconsciously having a good time together.

Surprisingly, the music I was playing seemed to go over at least as well with the Avant-Garde Bar staff and regulars as with the Saturnalia attendees... I'll be contacting them soon about the possibility doing at least occasional gigs there. It did startle me to have two young ladies catch me outside as I was taking down my stuff and start talking to me animatedly in Russian... seems my playing Hybrid's Altitude (Red Square Reprise) to close out the night (as well as assorted dark East European trance tracks) gave them the idea that I spoke the language. In truth, I knew the moment I first went into the place that that would be either my first or my last track for a set: the constructionist kitch of the place just screamed for it.

Thanks much to [ profile] hexpiritus and [ profile] queenie_writes for organizing the whole thing and thinking to invite me!


ironphoenix: Raven flying (Default)


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