Category Archives: Blog

Blogging is Terrifying

What a bold subject line to lure a reader into a winding path of paragraphs. It comes off as if I’m attempting some sort of shock tactic for click bait, but in reality… it’s just blunt and honest. Blogging is terrifying. The very idea of putting your thoughts into words and then posting them on the internet for others to interpret, take at face value, or take entirely out of context should scare the shit out of anyone. Especially since most of these 1s and 0s (that’s binary for those of you that have never known a world before the smartphone) are being stored for a seemingly indefinite amount of time. Not by any sort of archival entity interested in documenting and preserving culture, but by companies hoping to exploit the market value of your digital existence. All in the hopes that some data set might improve an algorithm that will find that perfect moment to suggest a product when someone is in a state most compatible with making a purchase.

It’s terrifying. It’s scary to think that the words that I type on this specific date, by the person I am today could be used years from now to somehow define the person I will have become and that all of the context may or may not matter. Who knows? Yet, I’m still taking the time to sit here and conjure up these words. Fear has extinguished many sparks before they ever get a chance to shine. The problem is, most of us want to hide our mistakes and the various imperfections because we’re afraid of being judged. The thing is, those mistakes and imperfections are what make us similar.

Today, as I’m checking in on the various headlines and attempting to contextualize the current state of the world… something I tend to do on most mornings and/or early afternoons whilst I imbibe coffee and plant matter… the world is just sad. Talks of civil war and general distrust dominate news and media. I can’t help but think that we’re all turning on each other instead of focusing on the things we all have in common. There’s a reason I’ve turned back to the blog platform. Social media is currently not the place for long-form ideas and rhetoric. It’s become a daycare that does everything it can to prevent its ward from experiencing friction.

Facebook should have imploded long ago. It should have been prevented from buying up competitors and gone the way of myspace. That’s the natural evolution of the internet. Anyway, the point of this message is simple… we shouldn’t be fighting each other. Here we are, arguing and fighting amongst ourselves for the tiniest sliver of pie while 99% of it is being consumed by those that are fully pleased that we’re bickering amongst ourselves. We could have it all. We really could. If we just focused that frustration in the right direction, we could accomplish so much.

That’s it for this session. Maybe it’ll come back to haunt me in 10 years. I hope you all have a great Sunday.

Millennial Manifest

Change is on the horizon. We were still ordering off of the kids menu in the midst of a global dine-n-dash scheme that left us holding the bill whilst too young to comprehend what was happening.

Pockets were lined to ensure their supremacy into the foreseeable future. The fattest pigs have been guaranteed their meals. Meanwhile, the working class will continue to incur the debt and interest. The luxuries of the well-to-do are still made possible by cash advances on the forgotten millennial generation’s aspirations. It used to be that imperialists would utilize conquest to cover their asses. However, as conquest becomes more difficult with the world watching online… They’ve resorted to squeezing domestically.

It appears that all parties are complicit in these actions and yet they polarize us as if it’s a simple ‘us vs them’ fix…. and while we continue to pick at each other over a few differences, they continue to make backroom deals and it’s business as usual. The real change will come when we realize that we all have far more in common than these differences that are being shoved down our throats. Only when we reach this point, will we be an overwhelming voice to be heard. We will always have our differences and those should be celebrated. However, if we look past what makes us different and focus more on creating a governing body that puts what we all have in common first… It will improve the lives of everyone. That sounds ideal, right? It does, but nothing simple can just be simple.

Term Limits. Break up huge monopolies. Get the money out of politics. Focus on the work being done and not the people doing it. Focus on content instead of a talking head looking to climb the media ladder.  We need a selfless generation that’s not concerned with popularity. We need a generation willing to plant a tree so that the future generations will have shade. We need long-term guidance and multi-generational planning. It can all be fixed. That being said, it can also fall apart. 

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness are great… There’s no fucking around there. However, I also think that the majority of people are looking for a sense of purpose and I believe that’s been eroded. It used to be that if you worked hard, you could get somewhere and when you were no longer able to work hard… You were taken care of. We don’t have any of that now. There’s no guarantees and no one looking out for anyone. I was taught when I was young to not even worry about social security because it wouldn’t be there. They were right. The funds were misappropriated and the people that did the misappropriating have told us it’s our faults. Bullshit.

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.

For the Moms

This post goes out to all you moms out there. Doing the mom things that you do. Oh, and it also goes out to my mother-in-law who did a fairly good job on my wife. I don’t really have a relationship with my own mother (long story), so it’s nice that Lauren and I were able to invite her mom over and treat her to dinner. We opted to fire up the grill and make some classic americana in the form of hamburgers because it’s one of her not-so-guilty pleasures. We also opted for some grilled asparagus. It’s nice that she’s able to just come over and relax. She’s always putting the needs of everyone else first, so it’s nice for her to just take a moment and relax while we take care of the details.

So yeah, that wraps up our Mothers Day celebration. I hope you all made an effort to show the mom(s) in your lives some love and respect. After all, without mom’s, we wouldn’t exist. That would be the worst.


Good Day, Good Pours

Being a co-owner of The Caffeinery means that there’s always work to be done. More often than not, it’s administrative details… Because… Let’s be real, the shop isn’t going to run itself. Someone has to be there to put out the fires and make sure that things are running as smoothly as possible. Employees need to be trained and maintained. Emails aren’t going to reply to themselves. It’s a never-ending list of tasks that Lauren and I happily tackle. That being said, it’s always a welcome break to have the opportunity to get behind the espresso machine and knock out beautiful hand-crafted drinks for our patrons. Here are a few of my pours from today. It’s an absolute joy to be able to serve such wonderful creations to people and watch how they positively transform a person’s day.

I apologize for the lackluster photos, I had to snap them real quick before serving them. Ha

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 Media
    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 Handbook
    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 Audio
    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 Techniques
    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.