Out on the Patio Number Four!

You ever have one of those days?

Sure you have. Every cord you try to move is tangled. Every battery you try to use is dead. Every door you approach while bearing an armful of delicate items is inexplicably and implacably locked.

If you reach for a glass, it breaks. If you race through the house, barking more shins than any biped actually possesses to reach a ringing phone, it goes dead as soon as you pick it up, and it was a wrong number anyway.

I'm having one of those days.

It all started innocently enough. It's Sunday, and I always blog on Sundays. Today I decided to include an audio segment -- and that's when the Chaos Demons came out to play.

First, I took all my audio gear out on the patio. Laptop. Microphone. Pop filter. Cables. Book to read from. Frosty beverage with which to refresh myself. Handy multi-tool with which to open aforementioned frosty beverage.

I set everything up. Windows insisted on some sort of upgrade before loading. Clouds gathered, threatening a shower, while Windows loaded my netbook's tiny processor down with a few million no doubt urgent operations.

I kept an anxious eye on the weather. Meanwhile, Thor saw a book he hadn't read, and made off with my print copy of THE BANSHEE'S WALK. I took off in pursuit, the other dogs joined in the game, and we had a merry romp in the backyard while my poor copy of BANSHEE went from excellent to extremely dogged condition.

I get back to the makeshift recording studio, damp, bedraggled book in hand. I sit down, I start to speak, and the netbook's power light begins to flash, while the ominous Battery is low, connect to AC adapter message appears.

I just charged the blinkin' battery. But hey, arguing with electronics does no good, so I dart inside the study, grab the netbook's AC thingy, and race back out to the patio, arriving just in time to see the netbook shut itself down.

Yay. I run an extension cord out there, hook the netbook back up, wait while it boots. I observe the dogs at carefree play. I look down, and realize my pop filter is missing.

Yes, the dogs are at carefree play with my handmade microphone pop filter.

I make a lot of my own gear. The pop filter is just some weird steel foot-thing from who knows where, some steel pipe clamps, part of an industrial air filter, and some acoustic foam. You could probably drop it out of an airplane and pick it up and use it -- but four dogs? Four happy carefree big dogs?

Once again, hilarity ensues. The pop filter, which is pretty much made of steel, survives (the foam pop filter itself is sandwiched between two sheets of steel mesh). I turn my ankle chasing the dogs, but it's not a bad turn so I soldier on.

Finally, I start recording. You won't hear the segment in which I manage to overturn my frosty beverage nearly on top of my decidedly not-waterproof netbook, because neither I nor the dogs approve of that sort of language. The netbook survives, by the way. Barely.

The dogs decide to insist on air time of their own by holding the Annual Yocona Mississippi Loud Barking For No Apparent Reason Finals two meters from my mic. Finally, I finish, and head back inside, dropping everything at least once.

Once back in the study, I check the audio file before transferring it from my netbook to this big rig. Here's what the audio filed sounded like:


That's right. One brief raspberry.

I checked the filename, the filesize, the date, the whole bit. It simply would not play.

Okay. This has happened before. Sometimes big files just throw the netbook into a funk. It's an Atom processor trying to choke down twelve minutes of uncompressed audio, right? Can't blame it for choking. So I move the audio files to my big machine, and voila! It works.

Well, half of it works. Right about the time I start reading from my Thor-savaged book, the file simply ends, and no amount of coaxing can restore it.

So I bite my tongue and decide to finish the Out on the Patio segment right here, behind my desk.

I go to shut off the big fan that sits behind me and blows on my back. When I do that, I manage to knock a book over on Lou Ann. This startles her, and she jumps, and I step back, and I twist the ankle I just twisted again, achieving the rare double-twisted torture joint score.

So it's been one of those days.

But the audio is out there! Here it is, the latest installment of Out on the Patio!

New Out on the Patio!