May 7th, 2007

Elder Sign

Some Days, It's Not Worth Clawing Your Way Up Out Of The Pit

Sunday developed into, on the whole, a very annoying day. Looking back on it, a lot of it was just that I was in a mood, but still...

Accomplishments: My pants have been washed. The two new discs are in the system. New update sheets have been made. A number of people expressed their enjoyment of the Sunday show. I managed to fix the monitor scale problem.

And, I have to admit, the pants (Apart from costing me $4.50) went fairly easily. The discs ended up being much trickier than they should have been, mostly because of my pickiness about entering the data from snafflekid's donated custom CDG (Thank you, Kendall!). I generally try to use index numbers that match what someone might know from a different show, or their own collection. It's not as important at KoC as it is on the standard karaoke circuit, but it's still a valid point.

So I checked Sound Choice's custom CDG site. My first idea (using their index numbers) failed when I discovered they didn't display any. My second idea (using equivalent disc index numbers) failed when I discovered at least one of the songs isn't available from Sound Choice any more. It was apparently on the first release of a disc I already have, then dropped, I assume for legal reasons. So not only is there no number for it, but the closest I'd be able to get is taken by a completely different song.

So after a couple of hours of agonizing, I just called the disc SC-BURN01. I'll probably change it to SC-CUST01 before printing new books.

I then fired up my control page - the one I spent several days of work on a few weeks ago - only to find that it's now giving me odd errors. Possibly something to do with the new domain, though I can't think of how. Fortunately the old telnet method worked.

Then, after printing the new update sheets, I realized that I have no idea where my stapler might be. At this point I was already late for the show, but also in a stubborn mood, so I packed up the car, and headed out in search of one. I thought I remembered a Staples at the Mercado center. I was wrong, but there was a Kinko's, and it seemed they might carry staplers.

And they do, at least according to the labels on the three empty slots on the display.

I drove off, and ended up stopping at a 7-11 in desperation. Which, in fact, carried a stapler. Cool.

I was then back in the car, heading towards the bar, extremely late, and realized that all I'd had to eat all day was a handful of pine nuts. A detour to a drive-thru was therefore necessary, which went as well as could be expected, except for the added delay.

I got to the bar at about 5 minutes to 8:00pm. On a normal Sunday, there'd be maybe three cars out front, and maybe one customer in the bar, and I'd have until 8:45pm to set up. But nooooo. This time, the parking lot had to be near full.

Setup went reasonably well. timenchanter helped carry the behemoth in, so that wasn't an issue. I did have some delay due to lack of experience with this particular setup - it takes a while to work out an efficient routine. In the end, I started the show at 8:35pm, which isn't too too bad of a time. At least, if you ignore the 15 or so singers I had lined up by then.

Ignoring one detail, the night went smoothly from there. I fucked up the song that was playing twice, by inadvertently double-clicking something I needed to single-click. Not too bad.

But then there was the compressor issue. More precisely, the lack of compressor issue, exacerbated by having to deal with being told some really, really stupid things. I'm not sure if the mild headache was connected, or just a happy coincidence.

As I said earlier about Thursday, I'd forgotten exactly how bad karaoke singer vocal control can be. Early in the evening, as I was standing partially stupefied by a duet where not only were the two singers apparently competing for how loudly they could scream, but were also getting louder faster than I seemed to be able to lower their mics, Paula had to come up and tell me they were too loud, and that she was afraid of a complaint from next door.

There's nothing like having the clueless tell you about something you're wrestling with to brighten your evening. But it was compounded by the fact that I know how loud Wayne can get. Granted, he almost always plays far too loud, but he hasn't gotten a complaint since a particular hardware change was made. The real problem is customer comfort, and the bartenders being able to hear orders.

But since I was occasionally peaking at certain volumes, rather than being continuous, the loud portions felt a lot louder. I even walked around the building at one point while someone was singing who, while not the loudest of the evening, had some peaks that were "up there". You could barely discern some music if you were standing next to the building.

For most of the night, I almost continually had my hand on the mic volume slider, in the end making sometimes huge volume adjustments, then bringing them back for quieter sections. In other words, acting as a human compressor. Occasionally I didn't have time, and didn't catch a few spots. Surprisingly, there's other things involved with the job. This generally meant that the vocal levels were higher than would be optimal, because I "dial people in" at the beginning of a song, and they normally aren't at their loudest then - but the volume needs to be loud enough so they can be heard, and more importantly can hear themselves.

About halfway through the evening, as I was partly exhausted from this process, I had... another individual... come up and say some remarkably stupid things about the situation in some rather amazingly judgmental and superior tones. Since he'd been talking to Paula, this was semi-official.

I'm going to assign a lot of the fault for what was said - and the attitude - to alcohol, rather than basic stupidity. 'Cause, ya know, alcohol's a convenient reason. Like I don't know that it's quieter in the DJ booth than on the floor - though what that has to do with relative music/vocal volume is a good question.

I came this close to just closing up shop and walking out. I have some personal issues with having my competence called into question by the obviously clueless.

Later I showed the same individual how far I'd had to move the mic slider during the length of his last song. His reaction was to tell me to just start it out at the lower setting. Yeah, right. This is the same guy who's complained multiple times that the mic isn't loud enough just as I'm reaching over to lower it. If I started him out at the lower setting, he'd have a cow.

Anyway, that was my side of the show. It looked like other people were having a good time, which is the point. We had a good crowd, especially for a Sunday, and the bar did quite well. There were several new faces, as well as a few recent returns - John and Rachel come to mind.

trivialt came out for a couple of songs, and supersniffles and synkitty were hanging out with a couple that I think was brought over from the BayCon world - and seemed to be enjoying themselves.

Then there's the whole "Timmie making out with a straight boy" bit. He's now waiting for his toaster.

In the end, I ran for 5 rounds, and closed at about 1:45am. Well, barring the girls...

At the tail end of the evening, two gorgeous girls walked in and convinced me to start the machine back up for a last song (They'd apparently never sung karaoke before, and weren't all that bad). It turns out they were lost. They'd come up to San Jose for the Cinco de Mayo celebrations, and had taken a wrong turn trying to get back to Modesto.

So Shawn and Eddie dug up directions for them, and sent them on their way. Shame. I really wouldn't mind seeing more of those two...

So yeah, the evening wasn't all bad. Just extremely aggravating at points.

I packed up, drove Synthia home, then went off to the Mini Gourmet to relax and try to lower my blood pressure.

Then home, where I started this rant - and fell asleep halfway through. It's been a very tiring weekend. And I'm obviously going to have to see how to shoehorn the old processors into the new rack, before I maim someone associated with bar management.
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