Tag Archives: Blog

Railroad Ties are HEAVY AF

Another week in the books… so they say. How is it the middle of June already? This year is going by so quickly and yet also at a snails pace. The shortest longest year I’ve lived.

It’s 1:21 in the morning and I should probably be in bed, but instead I’m sitting at the computer and combing through the internet as if I’m searching for the edge. Drawn to the screen like a moth to a porch light; or in this case June Bugs… Those crunchy little shits are quite abundant in the midwest this time of year. God forbid you stand near a light after dark… it’s like being shot by a shitty paintball gun.

Anyway… I digress. Let’s recap the day. All-in-all it’s been a pretty pleasant Saturday. I woke up a bit later than I had planned. I had two beers the night before and I hardly ever drink these days. Felt kinda nasty. You people that imbibe this shit on a regular basis are gluttons for punishment. That, or perhaps you’re past the initiation hump and feel no pain. Or you just don’t give a shit and do it anyway. Either way, I felt kinda nasty and it was compounded by some muscle soreness from doing resistance band exercises on Thursday because now that I’m old, you have to do shit like that just to exist. I’m trying to get in shape. This whole quarantine situation has really taken a shit on my normal routine. In some ways it hasn’t been all that bad; but I’ve definitely been eating more and moving less which is a bit of a problem. So I’m trying to fix it.

Lauren and I went to the coffee shop for a bit to check up on all the construction progress. We’re having quite a lot done as we prepare to bring the shop into this new COVID-19 world. It’s going to be weird, but we’re definitely not the type of people that shy away from weird. We’re just adapting and figuring it out. The break has been good. It’s given us time to think things over and re-assess what’s important to us. Our priorities are different now. Once all the hustle and bustle came to a stop and all the noise had gone quiet, it was easier to think. Moving forward we are going to prioritize happiness over the seemingly never-ending chase for more. This will result in fewer days open, and less hours worked. It’s the best possible solution. Mainly because the more you give, the more that will be taken… Until there’s nothing left. Understanding your limits can be extremely liberating; although it sounds really funny to say that limits are liberating.

After we spent some time at the shop, we went to Menards and picked up a bunch of used railroad ties to create a border for our backyard fire pit. We’d been meaning to do this for a while, but today the weather was perfect and it happened. I don’t know if the demographic of my blog knows much about railroad ties, but they’re ridiculously heavy and a huge pain in the ass to move; especially with just two people. I mean, we got it done… but it wasn’t easy. Tomorrow we’ll take some measurements and then get some gravel and finish it up. If I don’t get caught up in just living my life, I’ll try and take some pictures.

On the bright side of things… I had the foresight to double dip our time working in the yard to fire up the BBQ. I smoked a pork shoulder tonight on the Traeger. I’ve finally got my pork shoulder situation dialed in on this machine. I found the right temperature, the perfect pre-wrap smoke time, and the perfect post-wrap time. It turned out great. We’ll definitely be snacking on this for the next couple of days. It will definitely make it into some tacos tomorrow.

Goodbye 2019. Hello 2020!

There’s nothing quite like starting out a new year with a hangover to really put things into perspective. My drinking days are way behind me and my body’s appreciation for alcohol has long waned. Alas, last night Lauren and I were feeling festive and since Indiana still thinks marijuana is more dangerous than alcohol, we got our drank on. We had a good time, but today has been a chore. The weirdest part is that the hangover had a weird time-delay. I woke up feeling fine. I worked out, cleaned the house, took a shower and then BAM, felt like shit. Shit’s overrated. Moving on…

I’ve been pretty bad about updating this website. I think I only managed a handful of posts in 2019. I need to make a better effort to utilize this blog more going forward; if only as a means to better organize my own thoughts. My main issue is that I don’t sit still long and consider any time spent writing about past accomplishments would be better spent working on future accomplishments. At least, that’s the rationalization I’m working with at the moment. It’s not like Lauren and I are working 60-70 hours per week to build a culturally positive empire that’s poised to make our small city a better place for all of its inhabitants or anything like that. But I digress… Let’s dive into some recaps of important shit that took place in 2019. I’m sure some of this could get wordy, so if you’ve gotta rock a piss… now’s the time.

Lauren and I bought our first house, so that’s kind of a big deal. It’s been on our to-do-list for quite some time so it felt great to finally check it off. Buying a house is no easy task when you’re a business owner, but that’s a whole different topic that could potentially become it’s own blog post so I’ll save that story for another time. We didn’t opt for anything giant and lavish. We opted for something that was just right. We wanted a place that we would utilize every room on a daily basis. Thanks to our awesome Realtor, Rachel… We found exactly what we were looking for. Sure, it needed a little work; but the layout and feel was on point!

Buying the house was just the beginning. Before we could get settled, we had to figure out how fit a move into our ridiculously busy schedule. I don’t know if you already know this or not; but there’s a lot that goes into a new house. All the cleaning, buying furniture, putting together furniture, renovations, and etc. The list goes on and on and this shit is not cheap. The house we purchased had an enormous and problematic shed in the back yard that required legit demolition. I mean, this thing was LARGE in a proper sense. So, getting rid of that thing took a good 2-3 weeks. The back yard is 100000x better now that it’s gone. I know what you’re probably thinking… Why would we get rid of a shed?! Did I mention it was FUCKING HUGE? There’s literally no reason for a house of our size to have that big of a shed. We don’t even have enough yard to justify it. The garage we have is more than enough. GOODBYE SHED and good riddance.

Next, we had to tackle the plumbing. We had decided from the get go that we wanted to rip out all of the supply line plumbing and replace it with PEX. The original plumbing looked like something you would set up to show plumbers how NOT to plumb a house. There were so many different types of materials that it made no sense. We had galvanized, copper, pvc, and more. The water pressure was awful and it was in need of some serious TLC. Luckily, we managed to get everything ripped out and updated in a matter of a week and now everything is great. We even went so far as to install a pretty baller water filtration system that’s optimized for coffee and tea. All in all, we’re pretty pleased with the new digs. We still have some electrical work to do and a guest room to get set up, but those are things for 2020. So yeah, the house is hands-down the biggest thing we’ve done personally this year. Shit, we even hosted the Reber family Christmas this year!

Alright… That’s enough about the house. You get it. There was a lot of other shit that happened too, but since I talked WAYYYYY too much about a house, we’re just going to move on. Oh, did I mention that Lauren and I managed to take a little time off and fly to Denver, CO for a long weekend? Yep. That shit happened. It was the first time I had flown since I was a little kid. It was a tiny plane and while I can tolerate flying, I don’t think I like it all that much. Shit’s for the birds. Colorado is dope (see what I did there?). We visited our long-time friends that are now part of the legal marijuana growing industry. I really dig how things are shaping up out there. I hope that more people come to their senses in Indiana sooner than later. Shit, most of our neighboring states are already moving in the right direction. I’m hoping it won’t be much longer for us. That way I won’t have to see CBD being marketed everywhere.

It’s been one hell of a year. It’s crazy to think just how many things have taken place. First off, we had a couple of key personnel changes pretty early on. We also had to shut down unexpectedly for a plumbing fiasco that closed the shop for a week for repairs/restoration. Plumbing emergencies are the worst, but our crew is bad ass and we all persevered through the mess and used the crisis as an opportunity to make things better.

Secondly, we started working on building a commercial coffee roasting and education center for The Caffeinery back in October of 2018. Being on a budget, it takes a lot of time for these sorts of projects, BUT with lots of hard work and patience, we finished the project and moved our modest little roasting operation into the brand spanking new facility in March of 2019! This is a really big move for us and for this community as it took a significant amount of investment from us personally to put this into motion. However, we wouldn’t be doing this sort of thing if we didn’t think it was the best possible move for the future of our business, staff, and community as a whole. We spent the rest of the year quietly working on layout tweaks and workflow so that when the time was right, we’d be ready to go. By December, I think we hit our stride and we’re fired up for 2020!

2019 was packed with ups and downs, but at no point were we shook. Life will forever try to call audibles and alter your plans, but as long as you’re resilient, able to adapt, and ready to improvise… you should be able to find the lesson in every crisis and use it to your advantage. More often than not, what is initially perceived to be a negative will ultimately result in the option for something amazing if you’re open and understanding. You either made 2019 your bitch, or you became it’s. I’m sure 2020 will be similar in that regard. Cheers to all of you people that refuse to lay down and take the passive road through life.

Maybe I’ll post some photos next to give some visuals to all this BS I’m spouting. Until next time!

charging up

Dusting off and charging up all of my tiny camera equipment for some a/v experimentation during whatever bits of free time I’m able to squeeze out of my busy schedule. No real grandiose plans for these gadgets… My initial plan was to take a couple of videos of me adding musical accompaniment to some of my favorite music. I guess it would be a remix of sorts. I’m just going to make it up as I go along. I’m mainly doing this so that I can incorporate more audio/visual stuff back into my life. I’ve not had the time to do as many production experiments as I’d have liked to these past few years. My schedule has just been extremely full with the day-to-day operations of starting the coffee shop. However, as I manage to incorporate a bit more regularity and sanity into my life, I am hoping to make more time for little experiments and projects again. Oh, and with any luck, I might create something worth sharing. We’ll see what happens. I’m a bit out of practice. 

Gear vs Theory & Experience

Over the years I have recorded music using a variety of equipment ranging from mini cassette recorders to large mixing consoles. My first legit recording devices was a Tascam 4-track cassette recorder that was given to me when my guitar player’s brother upgraded his own recording setup. I didn’t care that it was a hand-me-down recorder. I was too busy being psyched about recording 4 tracks at once. At the time it was the best piece of recording equipment that I had used. It had its quirks. The RCA line outs no longer worked unless you folded up a piece of paper and wedged it under the jacks. Despite it being pretty well worn, I managed to squeeze a shitload of life out of the recorder. In fact, it’s still in my studio today. I use it whenever I want to mix something down to cassette.

Tascam 4-Track

I have always subscribed to the mantra that good gear does not always guarantee a good recording. Although there are times when high-end gadgetry makes a task easier, a lofty price tag does not always ensure that the final product will sound great. Much as ice skates would be useless to someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing, decent recording equipment won’t mean a thing if the operator has no idea what they’re doing. Understanding of the physics of sound and how it behaves in different environments will help you to better utilize both your space as well as your equipment. 

Whether you’re an aspiring recording engineer or a musician looking to save some money by recording yourself rather than going into a studio, you all are chasing the same thing. You are both trying to capture the best representation of the music because you know that if the audio quality is shitty, people aren’t going to listen. So if you’re serious about recording and want to separate your work from the sea of amateurs that are flooding the internet with shoddy demo recordings, you need to do some homework. Luckily for you, I’ve compiled a list of books that I’ve come across over the years and have been recommending to to up-and-coming engineers. Now before you recoil in horror at the thought of having to fork over some of your precious earnings for this ancient book technology, keep in mind that these books contain everything you need to know to be a competent engineer. Some of these books are used to teach audio production at the college level, and you’re not even required to pay thousands of dollars in tuition. It’s not like sound is a new concept. Once you master the subject you’re pretty much set unless something crazy happens that alters the mass of the Earth… Even if that were to happen, you’d have bigger things to worry about. So quit your griping and let’s talk books.

  1. Audio in Mediahttp://preview.tinyurl.com/ksds3cx
    This book is a solid introductory book. When I was teaching as an assistant at Ball State University, this was our go to book. It teaches everything from basic physics to microphone placement. A great resource for anyone interested in audio whether it be for music, radio, or for video applications.
  2. The Recording Engineer’s Handbookhttp://preview.tinyurl.com/pqr268a
    This is the book that I recommend to anyone interested in recording music. This is a great book that includes information on microphones and interviews with top engineers expressing their philosophies on recording.
  3. Mastering Audiohttp://preview.tinyurl.com/m9kfovf
    I have seen this book in every studio I have had the pleasure of visiting or working in. That being said, this isn’t the first book that I would recommend to someone just starting out. There are a number of heady topics discussed in this book. Pick this one up after you’ve been at it for a while.
  4. On-Location Recording Techniqueshttp://preview.tinyurl.com/m9kfovf
    The title is pretty self explanatory. If you plan on running/recording live sound, this book will be incredibly useful to you.

So there you have it, this concludes my list of recommended reads for beginners. Stock your bookshelves and absorb as much of this knowledge as possible. As with most things, books are no substitute for real-life experience but they do make it possible for you to minimize the learning curve. So don’t read the books and start acting like you know everything because it’s annoying and won’t earn you any respect.

Studio Blog: Raising the Bar

Up until this point I have solely been using this website to promote my recording and mixing services to the public. To be completely honest, the blog was just an afterthought. It was something that I would update so that I could promote a new blog and draw attention to the website. That pretty much sums up the reason that any business would put in the effort to maintain a blog, right? Going into a blog with this mentality is limiting and short sighted. A blog can be so much more than an advertising tool. A blog has the potential to deliver a tremendous amount of information so long as the audience has enough interest and discipline to read it. So this epiphany (or whatever you want to call it) that I’ve had made me realize that I’ve been doing the public a disservice by maintaining such a mediocre blog up to this point. I’m going to change that. I’m going to make it a point to utilize text, audio, and video mediums to share my opinions, experience, and knowledge of recording topics with the masses.

That being said, I hope that you’re a bit forgiving as I start this out. I’m not a professional writer, actor, or videographer… You’re going to have to bear with me as I figure all of this stuff out as I go. I mean, I’m not technologically challenged or anything to that extent but it’s still pretty difficult to handle any production as a one-person show. The plan is to stick with it and improve with every blog, podcast, and youtube video. As long as you’re able to take something away from each post, I will feel that it’s worthwhile.

Stay tuned!


This was the URL for my old blog which some of you may remember. I made it popular and now GoDaddy.com is charging a premium for it. I wonder who will pay close to $3k for my old nickname in high school. Anyway, I’ve moved thefrizzle.com to madfrancis.tumblr.com if anyone is interested in checking it out.