Tuesday, December 27, 2005

And so this is Christmas.....

We are in Connecticut, having braved flying with the three kids. This was nowhere near as bad as it should have been. God bless the inventor of the portable DVD player and thanks be to Jesus, (it is his birthday afterall), for a strong tail wind,which reduced our eastward travels to four and a half hours.

Natasha has about forty million Indian relatives in CT. Actually, it's probably closer to thirty, they just have a multitudenous feel to them, (and, I excercise my Celtic right to gross exaggeration). Our three kids are the youngest by far, so they get spoiled something rotten. See exhibit A above. There will be more of the same when they reach Limerick next week.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

The "N"

This is the N Judah, a street tram that runs from downtown San Francisco to Ocean Beach. San Francisco Bay to the Pacific Ocean. It runs close to my street, and connects with every other major public transport line, so, it's very convenient for Saturday night drinkies, (on the rare occasion I get out of a Saturday night). Actually judging by how blurry this photo is, one might think I was post martini when I took it. The reality is much more mundane: twilight, long exposure, camera in one hand, double stroller with two chocolate chip cookie inhaling toddlers within, in the other.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Dem bones

My neighborhood is pretty mixed racially, but the largest block is probably Asian. Most of the businesses are either, various Asian restaurants, nail and hair salons, cell phone stores or acupuncture clinics. This was in the window of one of the acupuncture places. I need to go back and retake this with a polarizer.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Outside Looking In - done and dusted.

I think I may be finished - not just this song but the whole album. I brought it to Paul Stubblebine Mastering last night, where Michael Romanowski did his magic, (his link has a picture of the room where we did this), and made my mixes sound a lot better. Mastering is an art, something the general public probably has no clue about. If you mention that you are mixing a song, most people understand the general idea of what mixing is, although many would be surprised at how intricate it is. Mastering is a whole 'nother ball of wax. Basically it’s where the engineer makes all the songs sounds as good as possible. More to the point mastering makes the songs sound cohesive as a whole in terms of loudness and equalization. Like I said this is equal parts science and art, and being in possession of what is known in the industry as a pair of "Golden Ears" is essential. After all this the songs are sequenced into the final running order.

Wikipedia has a much better if incomplete description here

The final mixed and mastered Outside Looking In is here:
Click here to play music

If you compared it to the earlier mixes here, and here , (10 second delay before sound), you will notice how dramatic the change has been over time.

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Thursday, December 01, 2005

Richard Loves Charlie

There is nothing worse than the returned immigrant who complains endlessly about his home country and compares it negatively to his adopted homeland. My parents' generation would have been familiar with this stereotype. The newly minted Yank. However, the roles have reversed. When I get home, things seem dramatically improved, (though, saying that, Galway's urban planners seem to go out of their way to destroy the city's charm), but when I mention this, the retort is an endless barrage of complaints: Ireland is too expensive, too corrupt, the traffic is dreadful, etc. Not that these aren't legitimate complaints, but no one seems to remember how bad it was before. Recently, my Dad put all his Super 8 silent movies on video for me. Plenty of wet and windy St. Paddy's Day parades. What is most noticeable is how dreary and run down Limerick looked compared with today.

Richard Delevan writes at Richard Delevan's sicNotes blog. He also writes for the Irish newspaper, The Sunday Tribune. I don't agree with much of what he says on Iraq, and some of what he says generally, but I like his directness and honesty, and it's always good to hear an intelligent view point which differs from your own. He has an entry today about Charlie McCreevey. Up to last year, before he was appointed European Commissioner with responsibility for the Internal Market and Services portfolio, McCreevey was Ireland's Finance Minister. He was the intellectual, and arguably the actual architect, of Ireland's new found prosperity. Here's a quote from Delevan's post, which also appeared in the Tribune:

“It took nearly 30 years for Charlie McCreevy's ideas to be accepted across most of the political spectrum and for their astounding success to be realised. It's taken just a year since he left for people to begin to forget why we have the luxury and freedom to debate how to best enjoy our prosperity."

I couldn’t agree more. I liked it so much I emailed Richard. Here's what I said:

Great post Richard. I read your blog regularly, although we disagree on many things, I like hearing your point of view.
I am your reverse a not so stray Irishman in the U.S. It drives me up the wall how Irish people moan about their successes. I left when there was 22% unemployment, and that included me and all my mates, most of whom had postgraduate qualifications. All of them left. Most came back again, and many have enjoyed the fruits of the Celtic Tiger. Several started business, they all have families and have bought houses, this was almost inconceivable 15 years ago. There was a strain of left wing thinking, (as opposed to Liberal thinking - there is a difference), that was the accepted norm when I was in college. It was a form of anti-capitalism that came from a general lack of experience in the real world. I often feel that many of my Irish peers are either still stuck in this rut, or have failed to develop politically and instead have adopted cynicism as a political ideology - despite all evidence to the contrary.
I hated Fianna Fail in college, they seemed so self-serving and corrupt, and I still can't trust them without the PD’s to keep them in line, (the reverse is also true), but I always admired Charlie McCreevey, He seemed a straight talker who understood reality and worked within its confines. Ireland's John McCain, if you will. That he made such an impression, in a country where being honest can be political suicide, is a miracle.