Thursday, September 24, 2009

Goodbye Thomas

A good friend of mine, Thomas Dedge, died recently. I got to know him over my several years working at Educational Media Services/ITC back in college. He was my manager and became a close friend as we got to know each other. We used to share stories or talk about music, gadgets, or whatever happened to have our interest that particular day. It came as a shocking suprise when I got word that he was no longer with us. I still find it hard to believe. I want to send out my condolences to his wife, family and friends.

Thomas,

I never got to tell you that since I moved to Germany, I have developed somewhat of a taste for beer. I think you would have been excited about this development. While I cannot have a drink with you, I will have a drink for you. I miss you!

This is Where I Live

Hello all you post craving cats! Here is a post to help ease that insatiable craving!

I have not really been up to a whole lot. I've been into music and art lately. I've attended openings around the city and have been working on some ideas of my own. I have recently gotten into equipment repairs, mostly for a musician friend of mine. I managed to fix his Vox wah pedal, an Ibanez Tube Screamer distortion pedal, and an Electro Harmonix Memory Man Deluxe (an old one, not one of the reissues) which was the trickiest of the three. I may end up modding his Micromoog. I'm also exploring making something similar to an ebow, but for heavier weight strings which essentially means stronger electromagnetic fields!

At a flea market in Treptower, I haggled with a Turkish man for an old accordion. He saw me looking at it and said, "I will give it to you for 40 euros." I paused for a minute and began to walk off. "Wait!" he cried out to me, "How about 20?" I crouched down and gave the instrument a look over and replied, "I'll give you 15." Oh I felt so cool walking out with an accordion slung over my back! I have it now in my floor with the bass mechanism exposed. It is an intense and complex contraption which allows all those buttons to make pre-programmed, if you will, bass chords. 120 buttons in all which means 120 different bass chords. It is a piano accordion and I cannot wait to have it in full working condition. I am very close.

Also taken apart and exposed is my Korg Poly-800, I have learned a lot about this synth. I think I have deduced that there is a bad capacitor which is preventing it from powering up. It should be an easy fix once I get the part I need. I also plan on doing some modifications to this synth. As of now however, the Poly-800 is sitting here looking like a skeleton all gutted for cleaning, inspection, and repairs.

Ping pong, or Tischtennis, has become an exciting interest to me over the past few weeks. I've been playing games in Tiergarten with my friend Elspeth. I love the click click noise the ball makes bouncing off the table and the paddles. It is such a perfect autumn game. Today I went and bought my own set of paddles and some ping pong balls to go along with them. There are about 5 tables withing walking distance of where I live, and so many around the city that there is actually a google maps mashup you can use to look up public ping pong tables in Berlin.

A good friend of mine named Susan came for a visit. We got into all sorts of fun here in the city. We started off relaxing due to jet lag. We walked around the lake and went to see the oldest tree in berlin along with the Schloss Tegel, which was a summer palace for the Humbolt family. Then we chilled at home where we pieced together a homemade cribbage board and played a few games. We went to Humbolthain park where we walked about the rose garden and climbed to the top of the old Flak Turm up top. Then we made or way to Tachles, an old squatter based art community, and had a look around the building. We took advantage of the museums being open on thursday evenings and went to the Altes Gallerie and perused through old masterpieces. We ended up staying out too late and in vain attempts to be at the right place at the right time for the night busses, ended up walking a rediculous amount across the city before finally catching a bus to finish the journy back to the apartment. In the process of running down a dark alley, Susan actually managed to step on a rat! It seemed to be unharmed, more confused than anything, as it scurried away.

Susan and i found a cool bar that had video game consoles you could hook up and play. We ordered some beers and started a game of Super Mario, then we played till the bar closed. The following day was the day of the múm concert. Mandie, Susan, and myself set out to get some dinner before hand at this cool egyptian place where you get to take off your shoes and relax on all these pillows and eat tasty foods! The concert was awesome! Múm is a beautifulsounding icelandic band that I've been into for many years, and I was so happy to get a chance to see them. If you don't know them, please check them out! After the show some crazy dude told us he was developing a phone that would allow people to call places and hear them as if they were actually talking to each other in the same room, that they would be able to hear everything in the room. He seemed to be a bit behind on modern technology. We went to a goth party that night with another friend of mine. It took forever to find it and we didn't really stay very long. On the way to the trainstation some crazy dude decided to pick a fight with me. He ended up headbutting me. I still have no idea what he was trying to tell us. My lack of understanding obviously did not make him happy. We got away fine.

Other things we did included checking out a really cool sound installation in an old water resevoir, going to the German tech museum, spent a day at the Botanical Gardens which was really cool (lots of neat things that you are not allowed to touch that were really fun to touch!), and visited the Berliner Dom where we got to hear a choir practicing (we also got to check out a cool view of the city while the sun was setting up top). We saw the gedachnes kirche, which was left unrestored after the war, and then found a beer garden where we had some drinks in a boat! There was a fox exploring around the tables in the bier garten which was really exciting to see. The three of us went to the Reichstag one night. We got to take the free audio guide and walk around the glass dome on top. We even got a free book about how the government works here in germany. Susan and I went to the music instrument museum, not once, but twice! We were so enthralled with the place on our first go that we didn't even make it to the next floor before they closed. Two music geeks, we went back a second time to finish what we started. There were so many cool instuments! I plan on going back! It was great for me to get to show a friend where I've been living. I don't get that opportunity very often. We had lots of fun hanging out! Good times!

The plumbers have knocked out our hot water this week, and this means cold showers which are incredably breathtaking! I cannot wait till this is fixed.

If anyone knows of any devices that will make a guitar make interesting sounds when held close to the pickups, please let me know. I've been playing with this lately, and though I've found some cool sounds, I know there are more and I'm always open to suggestions.