June 10th, 2012 | Tags:

My dad doesn’t understand that talking at a motorsports course is futile. He does this every time we go to Mid-Ohio, he did this at Road Atlanta. Seriously dad. Race cars are loud. I don’t mean like, white cars, and black cars, and Hispanic cars, I mean like, Grand-Am touring cars.

What I’m trying to say is that yesterday I went to the Grand-Am race at Mid-Ohio. Myself, being a motorsports enthusiast, I was of course excited about this endeavour. Sort of. It’s kind of hard to get excited about going to races, because you know you’re going to get there in the morning, you’re not going to leave till the evening, and the whole time you’re there, you’re going to be walking around on uneven terrain, under the sun, while it’s 35 degrees, or like, 90 if you don’t believe in common sense.

I woke up at 7AM, got there at about 10AM, and spent the next nine hours walking around the infield and outfield. According to my dads pedometer, we walked a little over seventeen kilometres. You know that the end of the day, you’re going to be miserable, you’re going to get wicked sunburn, and it’s not that you’ll have blisters on your feet by the day’s over, you’ll have feet on your blisters. It sucks. But you do it anyway, because it’s awesome. When you’re there, walking the grid before the race, seeing the cars up close, then watching them from as little as 50 metres away, it’s awesome. The cars scream with a howl that TV can’t capture. When the cars are going under the bridges while you’re on them, the entire thing shakes from the decibels the cars are pumping out. Racing cars that are built to the spec and level of Grand-Am cars are amazing machines, the amount of engineering that goes into them is intense. While Grand-Am cars aren’t engineered to the same level as Formula 1, or DTM cars, they’re still wild. They are very serious cars that for me, would be scary to drive. I’m an okay driver, but I know that if I were behind the seat of Daytona Prototype, the pit crew would have to clean a few dozen kilograms of sand out of the car after I hit turn one. Fortunately, I wasn’t driving, only spectating, and taking pictures. I have never done motorsports photography, and have no idea how to do it. I still don’t, but I have a camera, a 300mm lens, and I’m a motorsports park*, I’m going to be taking pictures, dang it. Whether or not they’re going to be good, I’m going to get them.

*I now realize they’re called motorsports parks, because for petrol heads, they’re like a fucking amusement park. Some people like to go on rides, some people like to have their hearing permanently damaged by going to races.

Before the race, they had all of the cars on display in pit lane, and let you walk the grid. Some of the Daytona Prototypes had their doors open, and all the GT cars had their windows down so you could get a peak inside. I saw this in one of the cockpits, and it made me laugh.

As always, click my pictures to embiggen.

And I saw this in another cockpit.

That’s a map of the course. I’m not sure the driver ever consulted it, however I still hope it helped him out during the race.

While I was poking around pit lane, checking out all of the cars, I saw a photographer with a photography pass laying down on the ground, pointing his camera into the cockpit of one of the Daytona Prototypes, but couldn’t get the shot because there were too many people in the way. I looked at him, and he gave me the ‘What can you do?’ shrug. I’m not sure what type of shot he was going for, but I’m sure he saw something. I know that when I see something, I want to get the shot, and I will shoo people out of the way to get it. Not everyone will do this, I get that, common courtesy is a good thing to have. When I’m shooting, I don’t have that. If I want the shot, I’ll push you out of my way to get it. You only get one chance to get shots, if you’re not a photographer, if you don’t have a camera in your hands, concede, step away, this is a photographers one chance to get this shot. The photographer takes precedence over the gawker. Like I said, not everyone believes that, or thinks like that, but I do, and this guy was either having problems, or wasn’t a big enough asshole to enforce that. He wanted this shot, but wasn’t going to get it, because he was being courteous. He has a photography pass, he’s obviously here on business, so I decided to help him out. I’d be the asshole for him. I leaned way into the cockpit, and started intentionally bumping into people, and I kept hovering around the side of the car, getting way too close to people. I backed into a kid and heard his mother scold him for not watching where he was going. After that, except for the photographer laying on the ground. there was no one around the side of the car. I stood in front of the car to keep people form getting to the side, which is when the photographer got his shots. I asked ‘Did you get it?’, he then looked at me, and you know how when you mouth the words ‘thank you’ so you don’t want someone else to hear it, and you emphasize the words? He did that, only he also said ‘thank you’ out loud. It felt good, I like helping out my fellow photographers.

My dad and I spent about an hour looking at the cars in pit lane, scoping out the cockpits, commenting on various things. My family has one common ground; motorsports, we’re all enthusiastic about it, though my dad and I have the most severe cases of the motorsports bug. We can spend an hour looking at Grand-Am spec cars and going ‘hmm yes the different Porsche teams have different airfoils on the cars and the spoilers seem to be different, I wonder how that will play into the straight following turn three, and going into the kink?’, we’re motorsport nerds. We stuck around the pits till they said ‘All right, shoo, it’s time to race’, which is when I decided to head over to the keyhole (at Mid-Ohio that’s the hairpin after turn one (it’s turn one assuming you’re not running the chicane, which they weren’t)). I had scoped out this spot earlier in the day to find a good spot for shooting, and had shot the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge prior to the Grand-Am race. We’re not going to be seeing any of those shots, because I had no idea what I was doing! I still don’t, but that race was simply a lesson. I knew where I wanted to be to get the shots I wanted, so a half hour before the first lap, I trekked up to the viewing mound at turns two and three (that’s exactly what it sounds like. A mound that you sit on to view the race, clever name!), scoped out my spot, and thought ‘please oh god people with photography passes don’t get in my way’. They didn’t, hooray! When the cars started rolling around, I started to take pictures. Ed, taking pictures? Do go on! No, really. This is my first day doing motorsports photography, so I had no idea what I was in for, I just knew pan with the car, stop the aperture down to get the focus on the cars, angled shots can look slick (I’m not sure how tacky that is), and cars look better coming over a crest. The latter is why I set up at the keyhole.

I feel pretty good about the shots I got at the keyhole! First time doing this, and for a first timer, I’m happy with the results. To start, I was just looking for pictures of cars. Ideally, I’d be taking shots that tell a story, a pass about to happen, some aggressive driving, the car getting slightly sideways as the driver guns it out of a turn, but to start, just pictures of cars. And these are pictures of cars!

I set up at a few different places at the keyhole, I went farther down turn three to get a different angle, more the side of the cars, and the cars leaving turn three, those came out okay, too.

I spent about 45 minutes at the keyhole (I’m saying keyhole too much, it’s starting to no longer sound like a word), and moved to the esses, which is the best part of Mid-Ohio. I haven’t been to Mid-Ohio in years, and in the time since I’ve visited, my interest in motorsports has grown, a lot. I’ve been around Mid-Ohio literally thousands of times in racing simulators, but going there in 2012, with a new appreciation of motorsports, the elevation changes in the esses are intense. You go straight up, then straight down. It is a wild turn, and very difficult to take. When you’re on the downturn, you’re losing grip, you have to be so gentle on the throttle to make sure you don’t lose the back end. I can never get it right, but the professionals can do it just fine for two hours and forty five minutes straight. I set up so I could get a good look at the crest, right before the cars go downhill, and got a few good shots.

I hate fences. When my friend Putz went to a Grand-Am race in New Jersey, I told him I’d have called the gallery ‘FUCK TIRE WALLS, AND FUCK FENCES!’, I didn’t have the tire wall problem, but I did have the fence problem. And seriously, fuck fences.

I spent I don’t know how long at the esses, though I didn’t stay stationary. I moved about 100 feet down from where I started, which gave me this angle, and let me follow some cars and do some totally sweet panning, brah, as the cars drove by, and still let me catch them as they crested over the esses.

This, however, I feel is my best shot of the day, because exhaust. Yes, the fence is very prominent.

I spent some more time there, and moved about another 100 feet down track, to catch them as they went under the bridge after the esses. This is where I tried some more angled shots. I’m not sure if it’s tacky, or if it’s like, motorsports photography taboo, but I did it anyway.

I tried walking a bit further down track, to turn nine, which is right after a crest. If you’re a driver on the course, turn nine is totally blind. If you’ve never been on the course, and you’re coming up on it, you’re going into the gravel trap, and you’re not coming out. However, professional drivers, they understand the course, some of them even have a map of the course taped to their steering wheel, they’re aware of what’s after this crest. I didn’t really like shooting here, because the backdrop made Mid-Ohio look like some sort of half-assed garage league motorsports course. It’s not! It really isn’t! Honestly! American Le Mans Series runs here, it’s a serious track! It’s one of my favourites, too. It’s an awesome track. But, this spot made the track look like shit.

I spent all but the last 20 minutes of the race at the carousel, which is turn twelve, leading into turn thirteen. I did this for two reasons; the sun was setting, light, yay, and because in racing simulators, this is the turn at which I have the most trouble. It’s almost a hairpin, but not quite, it’s not as tight, so you can still keep good speed through, and when you come out, you’re immediately going into the last turn, which kinks onto the straight, hitting it just right is kinda trick. I was there to take pictures, and take mental notes on how the cars handle the turn. Here are the pictures;

Here are my mental notes; Break hard and drop down a a couple gears, the apex is around where the rumble strip starts. Don’t hit the rumble strip on the apex, be close, and kiss the rumble strip on the way out, and don’t go flat out into the last turn.

I ended day at Thunder Valley, which is turn ten. Following turn nine, you go down into ‘Thunder Valley’, which is a dip after turn nine, a small kink at the bottom which is turn ten, followed by a crest into turn eleven, which then leads to the carousel. Since it’s a valley, sound waves have a lot of things to bounce off of, it’s almost…thunderous! I see what they did there. I did some pan shots here, got some decent ones, did some more angled shots;

And that was that! The race ended while I was in Thunder Valley. I did a bit more walking around, got into my car, and left. By the end of it, my face was completely burnt, my feet had turned into blisters, and despite all of that, I still felt pretty good! It wasn’t till this morning, when I woke up that I realized ‘oh my god I ate almost nothing yesterday and spent the entire day walking around’. So, I spent the morning eating all the food, and realizing I’m really knackered! My legs and arms don’t want to work, but it was still oodles of fun. I definitely want to do more motorsports photography, so I’m sure I’ll be heading to Mid-Ohio again, maybe later this year, who knows!

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May 4th, 2012 | Tags:

I recently picked up a Rebel XTi (or 400D, depending on where you’re from), and was a bit skeptical about the purchase. I’ve been a film shooter for my entire photography career, but have lately wanted to get into studio work. If you’re doing studio work, you gotta shoot digital. When I’m not shooting in the studio, I’m shooting in low, low light conditions. Think 3200+ ISO. When it came time to pick up a digital camera, I did some poking around, and saw the Canon Rebel XTi looked like it was the right price, and it seemed like the right choice. However, I couldn’t find much information on how it handles low light shots. All I found were some images that were at best 500 pixels wide, you can’t tell much from a picture you have to upscale to view on your phone.

I still picked it up, and the day it got here I took it to a local venue to do some shooting. The band was Larkin Poe, and they were really fun. I of course, took pictures. It was the first time I had shot with an autofocus camera, first time shooting digital, and my first time shooting a concert in colour. All sorts of firsts! The stage at this venue is dark, so I set my XTi to 1600 ISO EV -1. I was pretty happy with the results. Shooting with a Canon AF 50mm 1.8, I was getting exposures at about 1/125th at 1.8, and dropping down to 1/25th at 5.6. I spent most of the night around 3.5, though I did drop down to 1.8 quite a bit. The autofocus was faster than I was expecting, and the shots looked better than I was expecting, too. I shot at 1600 -1 the entire night.

Here are a few shots. The only thing I did was bounce a JPEG straight from the RAW using Lightroom. Click the images to see the bigger versions.

It looks pretty solid. You can see the pictures on which I did post on my portfolio.

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November 29th, 2011 | Tags:

This is a gay furry sports bromance turned romance novel, and it got published! What does that say about all the losers who say ‘I’m a writer’ then bitch about the publishing business?

I have nothing against gay furry sports bromance turned romance novels. I even like to say gay furry sports bromance novels turned romance novels, it’s fun to say. Try it! Say out loud ‘Gay furry sports bromance turned romance novel’. It’s fun! What I like about this is the fact that it got published. There are so many people out there who say ‘I’m a writer’, everyone’s a writer. Turn over any rock on the internet, everyone’s a writer. They’re not just on the internet either, they’re everywhere. I was at a music venue handing out my business card, and some jizz bucket came up to me and asked what I was doing. I told them I work as an audio engineer (I do), and was handing out my card (everyone has my business card, fucking everyone. Everyone in Dayton Ohio who’s been to a music venue has at least three copies of my card). Their reaponse was to tell me they were a writer. The first thing I ask when someone says they’re a writer is ‘Have you ever been published?’, the answer is always, ‘no’. This time the answer was no different. But they started probing me, and asking questions about my work and comparing it to what they do as a writer. I really wanted them to piss off, but when I’m handing out my business card, I’m putting on the Cap’n Jovial mask and being all chummy and shit, that’s business, and until I have enough clout in my field to tell strangers to fuck off, I’ll keep being Corporal Jovial of the U.S.S. Good Tidings.

But this novel, Out of Position, and oh my god out of position of what? What does that imply? It’s about a tiger football player who’s in the closet and gets it on with a gay activist rights fox. Are they implying that the tiger is /out of position/? Like, sexually? I really hope so. I hope that’s a stab that the homophobic culture that’s perpetuated on this continent. It takes the hetero past time of American football and turns into a homoerotic furry love story, the title of which implies a sexual position different from what the protagonist has always known. Fuck me that’s brilliant.

Anyway, this novel gets the fuck published! This Kyell Gold cat (I say cat ’cause I listen to a lot jazz, not ’cause I’m a fur) sits his ass down, and writes this. It gets published, he keeps getting published! He’s gotten a lot of his work published, people know his name. Doesn’t that shit in the face of every alleged writer who’s complained about the publishing business? The ones who say they can’t get published for some bullshit reason like their work isn’t mainstream? Motherfucker this is gay furry sports bromance turned romance! Novel, and it got published!

What’s your excuse? If something like this can get published, what’s your excuse? You have nothing to lean on. There are no excuses. Some people aren’t good writers. Odds are, you’re one of them. Just because you know how to do grammer good doesn’t mean you’re a writer. Any asshole (myself included) can write in a grammatically concise manner. That makes me a writer like putting a Hot Pocket in the microwave makes me a chef. It’s a means to an end, but it sure as Shire talk ain’t a good means to the same end.

You suck at writing, is what I’m trying to say.

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November 24th, 2011 | Tags:

I take pictures, it’s a thing I do. One of my favourite things to do is concert photography. I like portraiture, candid shots, and musicians. I do like studio photography, and playing with light, but the amount of digital post production that goes into it isn’t my style. I’m definitely a darkroom photographer. I don’t feel like I’m done with a picture until I’ve developed my own prints. I’m not championing darkroom photography over digital, my personal prerfence is for traditional photography. Digital isn’t better than film, and film isn’t better than digital. They both have their merits, and disadvantages.

One of the drawbacks of film is you’re on a limit. When I go out to a music venue, I usually bring a roll or two with me, more if I really like the band. Rolls of film are expensive. I shoot Ilford 3200 almost exclusively. It’s $10 a roll. Which, after developing costs (I do all of my own developing), comes to about fifty cents a shot. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but it adds up. I can burn through $40 of film in a three hour set. This is a drawback, but one of the positives is the excitement of the negatives. When you see a great moment, and you release the shutter, you don’t know what you have. Ideally your focus will be spot on, and the exposure will be right. I shoot manual focus cameras in aperture priority mode. Getting good shots is luck as much as it is skill. I have to hope I get things in focus fast enough and well enough, and I don’t know that I did until I develop the negatives. The excitement and anxiety that comes with developing negatives is a unique thrill. It can give you very high highs, and devestating lows. I’m sure we all have those moments that are so exciting you have to pace around wherever you are to dispel some energy. When I see a really good negative, that’s how I feel. I’ve also developed rolls that have made me want to quit photography, that have made me curse my hands, eyes, and cameras. That happened this week.

One of my favourite musicians is the violinist working with The David Mayfeild Parade, you might have heard of them, maybe not, but I’m sure you will. They’re getting popular, and fast. I’ve known about this violinist for a few years now, and became enamoured with her the second I saw her. She’s just as talented as she is beautiful, and she is the best violinist I have seen in person. I firmly believe that when she’s done touring, or when she gets bored with touring, she’ll end up playing lead violin for an orchestra, one of the better ones. Chicagoland Pops, Boston Philharmonic, Los Angeles Symphony, she can take her pick. She’s that good.

When I saw The David Mayfield Parade was going to be in my town, at my favourite venue, I got very excited. One of the reasons I got into photography was to take pictures of people. Portraiture and concert photography are my favourite types of photography, I enjoy them a lot more when I’m taking pictures of a subject I like, and here’s my chance to take pictures of one my favourite musicians. I was very excited. I told myself ‘This is it, this is one of the reasons you got into photography’. I got worked up for it.

The show was on Wednesday, the 16th. I burned two rolls over the course of the set, I wish I could have burnt more, but my financial well being right now is not very well, so I had to settle for two rolls. 74 exposures is enough to get a dozen good shots, and hoping for a dozen is being very optimistic. Having high expectations is how you set yourself up for a let down.

I wanted pictures of this violinist, lots of them, lots of good ones. I don’t want to take good pictres, I never want to take good pictures, I want to take amazing pictures. I want to take pictures that when you see them, they stop you, and you’re compelled to look at them. When you see one of my concert shots, I want you to feel the venue. I want you to feel the ambient temperature of it, I want you to feel like you’re alone with the musician, or musicians I’ve captured in time, and in that moment, I want you to feel like you could walk around them while they’re frozen. I want you to be able to smell the venue, feel it’s temperature, feel your feet hitting the stage as you walk around that moment in time. I don’t want you to hear the music, I want you to feel that moment.

If I take good pictures, I did poorly. If I take great pictures, I did okay. If I take amazing pictures, I did well. If I take one of the best pictures you’ve ever seen, I did damn well.

Over two rolls, I wanted to get an amazing picture of one of my favourite musicians, at least one. I didn’t. I took two good pictures of her, and one great picture. The rest of the negatives were just as depressing. I was heartbroken, literally. I felt horrible. The night after I got that roll developed and scanned I did a lot of chain smoking, I needed it. It was awful. I was ready to sell all of my cameras and very close to quitting altogether. It was the biggest hit I’ve ever taken in photography, and I hope it’s the biggest hit I ever do take. It was tough, but it’s a learning experience. It’s always going to be a learning experience. One of the downsides of traditional photography is that you can’t chimp your shots. You can’t see that you’re off. You can’t see that you’re out of focus, or your exposure times are off. I felt good while I was shooting, I was excited on the drive home, but at the same time, I was cautious, obviously not cautious enough. It was a huge blow. A huge hit. It felt awful, worst I’ve felt in years. Even now, writing about it, I feel awful all over again.

Here are the shots I got of her. This is the good one.

This is the great one.

I will vindicate myself, if I have to travel to an adjacent state to see them play again, and to shoot this band, I will. I’ll have to do it soon, because this band isn’t sitting still. They’re getting popular, fast. They’re not going to be playing intimate venues forever. But, I will vindicate myself, I can’t not do it.

I shot on Wednesday, developed on Thursday, and on Friday, I went another show, at the same venue. This time it was Caravan of Thieves, who are absolutely one of my favourite bands. I was going to take pictures of them, of course. I loaded my cameras and my film, packed my bag, and went to the venue, very gloomy, very glum, not expecting much after the shoot on Wednesday.

The show was great, really entertaining. I spent a fair bit of time talking to the bassist about, y’know, bass, also spent a fair bit of time talking to one of the vocalists about music, and writing music. Not lyrics, but bars, beats, time signatures, harmonies, the math of music. It was a really good time, I enjoyed myself, thoroughly. I also burnt two rolls of film.

I knew that if these rolls didn’t turn out well, I might be done. I might sell all of my gear, or at the very least keep around it and not touch it for years. After The David Mayfield Parade show, I needed some good shots, I needed to vindicate myself, and prove to myself I am a good photographer. If they were bad, I was going to hock all of my gear on Craigslist.

The shots were freakin’ amazing. I exposed one of the best pictures I’ve ever taken, two of them, actually. I took two amazing pictures, freakin’ amazing pictures. I love these two shots.

I hate my negatives. I hate my negatives. I hate them. They’re full of awful and shameful pictures that no one should ever see, and they’re there. They’re around. People can see them. For me to say I love two of my negatives is very high praise. I freakin’ love those two pictures. The first one is, I really think, the best picture I’ve ever taken. The focus is bang on, I had to push process that roll, and I pushed it just right. The light is fantastic, and I captured a moment. It’s brilliant. There’s nothing you can say to take that shot away from me. You can’t say it was Photoshop or trickery. I have the negative. Look at it. You can’t take that away from me.

All told, over two rolls, there were 28 shots that qualified as at least, good. A few of them were great, and a couple of them were amazing. It’s the most consistent I’ve ever been as a photographer. I needed that, so bad. So very bad. After the huge letdown on Wednesday, I needed to take some good shots. I hit this huge low, and I don’t think I can get any lower. That was, for a photogrpaher, rock bottom. I now have a threshold for low, and I’m definitely going to learn from it. I can only get better.

I put some more shots from the Caravan of Thieves and David Mayfield Parade shows on my porfolio.

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August 2nd, 2011 | Tags:

This song is upsetting, this song is infuriating. It pisses me off because I am not recording music like this, I am not recording music like this. I said that twice, because I think I need to write it twice, that way when I proofread this four times over, I’ll read it eight times. I’m not recording music like this. That pisses me off. I want to. I deserve to, but I know I’m not good enough to do it, and that pisses me off, a lot. It’s upsetting, and it bothers me. I’m good at what I do, I’m not just good at what I do, I’m fucking awesome at what I do. People pay me to do it, and they don’t pay me much. If I were in a better market I could be making a lot more, and that doesn’t even piss me off. I don’t care about money, I care about what I work on. This is the type of music I want to work on. This music is amazing, and every time I hear it, it’s a reminder that I’m not good enough. It pisses me off, it makes me want to punch things and honest to god it makes me want to cry, not because I’m sad, but because I’m that pissed off at myself for not being able to do it.

I’m not going to sit around and be beaten, I’m not going to record rock bands out of their rehearsal studio for the rest of my life. I like doing that. If I could do that or flip burgers, I’d go the seediest rehearsal studio in the seediest part of town and set up my recording rig, but I’m not going to do that forever.

I’m going to record vocalists this talented, I’m going to record orchestras this good, I’m going to record music that matters. Not music that matters to a lot of people, or music that will make me rich, but I’m going to record music that matters to the right people. To people like me. I want to piss people off because I’m good, people need that. This industry is going to turn to shit if people don’t want to fuck things up because they’re not good enough.

I swear to whatever deity you believe in that I’m going to record music like this.

If you’re reading this, link it to people, give it to people in the audio industry, and tell them to hold me to it.

If you’re reading this, send me an email (doctormowinckel@gmail.com), and ask me if I’m recording music like this yet. Send it to your friends, and tell them to do the same. Don’t stop until I’m making music like this, hold me to it, hold me to a higher standard, because I can not only meet that standard, I can exceed it. Until I do that, until I raise the bar, I’m going to be pissed off.

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February 19th, 2011 | Tags:

Ditch Winamp, don’t touch iTunes, and if you’re using Windows Media Player, you had better only be using it to sync your 360 with your computer. As far as audio players go, Winamp, iTunes, and Windows Media Player suck compared to Foobar 2000. If you don’t know what Foobar 2000 is, acquaint yourself.

It’s an open source music player that can handle pretty much any audio format you throw at it, and it’s not locked down to a sample rate of 44.1khz. Think of ‘sample rate’ as the framerate for music. 44.1khz means 44,100 ‘frames per second’, so for every second that piece of audio plays 44,100 samples. The four most common are 44.1khz, 48khz, 96khz, and 192khz. Add three 0′s to the end of each of those numbers, and that’s how many samples per second an audio file plays. Most media players are stuck at 44.1khz, but Foobar is capable of handling everything up to 192khz. This doesn’t matter for most of you, but if you’re someone who’s ripping vinyl at 96khz, foobar can take advantage of it. There’s also a lot of buzz out there about foobar ‘sounding better’ than Winamp, which I can’t back up. Allegedly, foobar is better at decrypting and decoding audio files than Winamp, but I maintain foobar is better because it’s lightweight, and can support more formats and sample rates than Winamp.

In this tutorial, I’ll walk you through the steps of getting Foobar set up, and how to get started using VST plug ins with Foobar.

First, install foobar! Why haven’t you done this already? It’s pretty awesome! Go snag it here, the install is pretty painless. Click the buttons that say ‘Yes’, and ‘I agree’, and soon, you should have Foobar 2000 installed, hooray! Once you open it, you’ll be greeted with the default layout. If you want to change this up, click the ‘View’ tab in Foobar, scroll down to ‘Layout’, and select ‘Quick Setup’.

Click on the images to enlarge them

I have mine set to ‘Simple Playlist + Tabs’, and the colour scheme is ‘Dark Blue’, but you’re free to play around with the settings as you please. Click around, find something you like!

Foobar comes with a default EQ, but it’s not that fun. I prefer something a bit more visual. If you want to use the default EQ, you can, just click the ‘View’ tab, scroll down to ‘EQ’, and select it. but I’m going to suggest another EQ very soonly.

You’ll want a VST wrapper for Foobar, fortunately, someone else has made one for us! You can download it here; http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=59206 He has an install tutorial, but I’ll run you through it as well.

To use this particular VST wrapper, first, find your Foobar folder. It should be in C:Program Filesfoobar2000. If not, look for the ‘Foobar 2000′ folder wherever you told it to install. Then, go into the ‘components’ folder. So we should be at C:Program Filesfoobar2000components. From there, unzip George Yhongs VST wrapper, and drop it in the components folder. You can drop his limiter in there as well, but I’ll leave that up to you.

From here, go to ‘File’, select ‘Preferences’. This will open the Preferences menu. Expand ‘Playback’ by clicking on it, then select ‘DSP Manager’.

Once there, you’ll see a list on the right hand side that says ‘Available DSPs’. Select ‘George Yhongs VST wrapper’, then click the arrow near the top to add it to the list of active DSPs. Click okay, and we should be ready to use some VST plugins, woo!

First, let’s talk about how to add and use VST plugins. When the plug in is active, and Foobar is running, you’ll have an icon in your taskbar.

Click it. This will open it’s menu, from there select ‘VST setup’.

This will open a menu that asks for ‘VST Plugin Folders’. There arent’ any, oh noes! Make a folder, put it someplace you’ll know where it is. Something like C:Program Filesfoobar2000VST is a good idea. You still don’t have any VST plugins, oh noes! For EQing, start with RS-Mets ‘EasyQ’, it’s free, and pretty awesome. You can get it here; http://www.rs-met.com/freebies.html

Once you make your folder and put stuff in it, click ‘Add folder’, scroll down, select your designated folder, then hit ‘Ok’. After this, his ‘Rescan all’, and we should be good to go!

To start using your VST plugins, click the ‘VST’ icon in the taskbar, hover over ‘Use VST Effect’, this will open the list of available VST plugins.

For now, we just have EasyQ installed. Select it, and it will open up! It will open with a flat EQ like so;

Start messing with it! Click on it to add a ‘band’, these are represented by dots on the graph. To increase or decrease the range of the band, click it, and use the mousewheel to scroll up or down.

To change what the band does, select one, and hit ‘Mode’. This will change what that particular band does.

Click around, play with the options, see what you think sounds good, and what doesn’t! If you don’t want to lose your EQ options, you can save them. Just click ‘Save’ in the upper right corner, and save them as whatever you want. These can be loaded by, well, clicking the load button.

You don’t have to stop at EasyQ, there are tons of free VST plugins out there. You can snag a bunch of ‘em here; http://audio.tutsplus.com/articles/general/over-90-free-vst-effects-plugins/

Load them up, try them out, and enjoy the versatility of Foobar!

November 21st, 2010 | Tags:

I like to make pizza, it’s pretty awesome. Sometimes people ask me how to make it, so now I’m telling you, AND EVERYONE YOU KNOW! If everyone you know happens to read this, that is. This will yield you one pizza dough that’s about, I dunno, 12-14″?

.75 cups hot water.
1.25 Tsps of active dry yeast (It needs to be active dry yeast)
.125 Tsps of sugar.
.5 Tsps of olive oil
.5 Tsps of salt (or Garlic salt)
1 Cup of flour
Italian seasoning (optional but highly recommended)
Pizza sauce
Garlic (totally optional)


STEP THE FIRST; Yeast and shit.
Ingredients needed:
.75 cups hot water.
1.25 Tsps of yeast (again, active dry yeast)
.125 Tsps of sugar.

Take .75 cups of hot water, add in 1.25 tsps of yeast, and about .125 tsps of sugar. Stir this a bit after you add the ingredients, then let it set for about 10-15 minutes.

After it’s set, it will look something like this

STEP THE SECOND; Yeast and flour.
Ingredients needed:
The mix from the first step.
.5 Tsps of olive oil
.5 Tsps of salt (or Garlic salt)
1 Cup of flour

Take your yeasty mix, and add half a tsp of olive oil, and half a tsp of garlic salt. Regular salt works too. Mix that shit up. After your yeast mix is all stirred, get another bowl, add a cup of flour to it, and add about 1-1.5 tbsps of Italian seasoning to it. The Italian seasoning can be omitted, but it is pretty bitchin’ to have. Mix the Italian seasoning in with the flour, don’t just put a glob of it in there, and go ‘Looks good!’.

This is not what you do.

Once you have your flour all Guido’d up, add the yeast-tacular mix to it. Then stir that shit. If it’s all sticky and gross lookin’ add a bit of flour so it’s less sticky and gross looking. Once it’s at a level of sticky grossness that is more gross and less sticky, pour it out onto a floured surface, and knead the Christ out of it, which I guess means knead it until Christ comes out of it. BUT DON’T KNEAD IT TOO MUCH! Get it so it’s not sticky to touch, but don’t get it to the point where you’d like to roll it out, and put shit on it.

This is what dough looks like after you knead it.

After you have it kneaded BUT NOT KNEADED TOO MUCH OH GOD NOT TOO MUCH, lightly coat a bowl in olive oil, and I mean very lightly, toss your dough in there, and let it rise. Ideally, you’ll find some place to let it rise that’s warm, but not so warm it will bake. I usually pre-heat my oven until it’s warm, about 35C, or 90F for Americans, and let rise in there for about an hour.

PRO TIP: I like to soak some minced garlic in olive oil while I’m waiting for my dough to rise. A 1/4 cup measuring cup will usually work for this task. Fill it up a third of the way which is some fraction of 1/4. Whatever a third of a quarter is, I’m sure it’s some sort of amount, then chop up some garlic, and put that shit in there. Given an hour (which is about the time it will take your dough to rise), the oil will soak up all the vampire defeating garlic flavour of the garlic. Brush this concoction onto the crust when it comes time to put the dough in the oven, this will help the crust get all golden and awesome looking, and add a bit of a garlic-y taste. If you don’t like garlic, but still want the fancy pants golden crust, you can do it without the garlic, and just use the olive oil. This sans-garlic approach also applies if you are a vampire. I hear they’re popular these days.

STEP THE THIRD; Knead it, ALL THE WAY. Double rainbow?
Ingredients needed:
The dough you just made

JESUS CHRIST WAS IT TOO HOT!? DID YOU BAKE YOUR DOUGH!? Do you have a ball of cooked dough that rose in your bowl and spilled out all over the place and ruined your oven?

This is what it should look like you idiot.

Shit, my bad. Sorry bro. If it rose out of the bowl and dripped all over your oven ruining it, buy a new oven and go back to the start of this article.

So, yeah. Your dough is ready to be kneaded. When you turn it over and out of the oiled up bowl, it will be sticky, but that’s cool, that’s what flour’s for. Flour a surface, then knead it out this time like you’re ready to add toppings, like, I dunno, bacon or some shit. Keep sprinkling flour on it till you get it to a consistency you like. After you’re happy with your dough, roll it out however you want. Use a rolling pin, shape it with your hands, whatever. Want to impress a ladyfolk? Roll it into the shape of a heart! Want to be all ‘Man, FUCK CURVES!’? a square or rhombus pizza is totally cool. Maybe even a diamond, or a triangle! I’ve never seen a triangle pizza, now I want to make one.

You can make a round pizza. Or a…sort of round pizza. It’s sort of round.

After you’ve made your heart shaped triangle rhombus pizza dough, set the dough aside, and let it rise for a bit. Ten minutes is fine, but if you’re going to let it set out for 20 minutes while you clean up, that’s fine too. What can you do while you let it rise? I dunno, clean up, prepare toppings?

STEP THE FOURTH: Adding shit to it, like cheese, and things that used to be alive. Vegetables are okay, too.
Ingredients: Whatever the flying frak you want.
The dough you just made.

So, you have a dough, fantesticle! While it’s rising, why not prepare some toppings? Mushrooms are pretty awesome on pizza. If you’re going to add mushrooms to your pizza, sauté them before you put them on your pizza. Just add some olive oil and apply heat to a pan. How you get the heat doesn’t matter. Fire, electric stove, gas stove, running engine (I’m not responsible for injuries accrued whilst sautéing mushrooms over a running engine), whatever. Sauté them till they’ve started to brown, then set them aside, unless you’re ready to add them to the pizza RIGHT THIS SECOND, then put them on your pizza, or not, it’s your pizza, not mine. I don’t give a fuck about what you do with it. Various types of peppers are pretty rad on pizza, too. So are onions. Prepare these the same way you would the mushrooms. Dead animals are also good on pizza, too. But not like, dog, or cat, or rat. Stick to the usual pigs, cows, and chickens. Bacon, pepperoni, ham, whatever. If you’re a carnivore or an omnivore, find a part of an animal and throw it on there, odds are it will be good. Cheese is a good idea, too.

These are pizza ingredients.

So, awesome. You have your ingredients and shit all made up, now pre-bake the dough a bit. When I pre-bake my dough, I like to use a pizza stone. Put the stone in the oven while it’s preheating, this will let the stone warm up, and provide the pizza with an evenly heated, uniform surface for baking. Since the stones all porous and shit it will take away some moisture from the dough, and make the dough EVEN MORE BITCHIN’. Don’t get suckered into paying full price for a pizza stone, though. Just go to Home Depot and buy the biggest unglazed quarry stone they have, unless they have giant ones that you can’t lift, or are otherwise unable to fit into your stove. A 1 square foot stone is like eight bucks, that’s less than the thirty you’d be paying for a pizza stone. If you don’t have a pizza stone, that’s cool, too, a regular pizza pan will work. Pre-bake the dough at 260C, or 500 Fahrenretarded, for 5-10 minutes while keeping an eye on it, and defeating any air pockets that crop up in the dough. These can be easily vanquished by poking them with a knife. A good rule of thumb is when the dough starts to brown, even slightly, that it’s read to be taken out of the oven, and toppinged.

So, shit, now you have 5-10 minutes to wait while the pizza dough pre-bakes. Now what? Read on, that’s what;

While the dough is pre-baking, now’s a good time to mention how you add shit to your pizza.

PRO TIP: Add the cheese last. The ingredients you add to your pizza will be baking for 10-20 minutes, if you keep your cheese on top of your pizza for 10-20 minutes, it will get brown, burnt, and gross looking.

Add your sauce first. What sauce? Whatever, if it’s made out tomatoes, odds are it will work. Spaghetti sauce will work, or you can gaggle some sauce recipes. If you like lots of sauce, add lots of sauce, though a lot of sauce will affect the crispiness of your dough. If you don’t like a lot of sauce, go screw yourself and add a lot anyway. Or not, either way’s cool. It’s your pizza. Then add your other ingredients. Whatever you want. Peppers, mushrooms, onions, ham, bacon, pepperoni, whatever. BUT NOT THE CHEESE YET OH GOD NOT THE CHEESE.

This is what pizza looks like with uncooked toppings.

Once you’ve added whatever your toppings are, toss it in the oven, but scale back the temperature to something more modest while you’re baking ingredients, something like 220. Or 425 fahrenstupid. and keep an eye on it. It should take about 10-20 minutes to get these toppings nice and toasty, maybe even five, just keep an eye on it. If you’re adding meats, watch for the edges to burn just an iota, That’s a good indicator of when it’s time to yank it out, and add some cheese. Which is incidentally, what she said.

This is what it looks with cooked toppings.

Adding cheese is pretty straightforward. You put cheese. But don’t be a re-re and add like, a slice of Kraft to your pizza. Buy some brick cheese, and shred that shit. Don’t buy preshredded cheese, it has preservatives and gross shit in it that make it taste not as awesome as cheese you have to shred yourself. If you like a lot of cheese (that you shredded yourself), add a lot of cheese. If you want to be stingy with the cheese, don’t add a lot. Once you’ve added your little or a lot of cheese, toss it back in the oven for about five to seven minutes. Keep an eye on it so as to make sure the cheese doesn’t burn. If you like burnt cheese, well, keep an eye on it till the cheese starts to burn, then take it out. Or don’t even add cheese. I don’t give a shit, it’s your pizza.

This is what it looks like with uncooked cheese.

TO SUMMARIZE; Sauce first, toppings second, bake a bit, add cheese, bake a little bit more.

Take it out, let it cool, or not, shove it in your mouth while it’s piping hot if you’d like. Or wait. Either way, it should be pretty awesome.


Pizza is best served with root beer that’s in a 28 year old Pac-Man mug.

September 8th, 2010 | Tags:

We’ve all had them things, what where we sleep with someone of the opposite gender, or maybe of the same gender, or somewhere in between. And when you’re not sleeping with them, you’re hanging out with them, and doin’ shit together, that doesn’t involve each others genitals. They start out pretty awesome, but after a while, things get less awesome.

At first, it’s like, you’re about to launch in the space shuttle. There’s a countdown, and it’s like ’5…4…3…2…and we have lift off!’ *FWOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOSH!*, it’s all dramatic and intense and shit, and you’re caught up in the ‘HOLY SHIT I’M IN A SPACE SHUTTLE’ vibe, and there’s news cameras there going ‘HOLY SHIT THEY’RE GOING TO THE MOON!’ and you orbit the Earth two thousand times at eighty billion kilometers an hour before you slingshot yourself to the moon, and you’re like ‘WE’RE GOING TO THE MOON!’, and shit is fucking awesome, and you’re like ‘HOLY SHIT CAN THINGS GET MORE AWESOME?!’, and you think they can.

After a while, it’s like a commercial jet. Your first ride on a commercial airliner is like ‘Oh neat I’m flying LOOK OUT THE WINDOW WE’RE SO HIGH UP!’, then you realize ‘Oh wait, it’s just a bus with wings’, and it loses it’s allure.

Then it’s like a cheap as dirt flight on a microjet from the seventies with eight other people and seats from a bus. The pilot comes on over the PA, but he doesn’t need to on account of the fact that he’s so close you can clearly hear him without the need of a PA. And he’s like ‘Uhhhhhhhhhh….we’ll be uhhhhhhh….going on a uhhhhhhhh flight’, he sighs, and carries on, ‘it should take uhhhhhhhhhhhhh about uhhhhhhhh three hours, enjoy your flight’. And you’re like ‘God damn it, three hours of this shit! Sigh’, then you start thinking about what you’d rather be doing with that three hours, and end up playing your DS, or if you don’t have a DS, some games on your phone. But if you’re like me, you don’t have a DS, and your phone sucks shit, so you open your phones stopwatch, and try to stop it as close to the exact second as you can. You get pretty good at it. And all this time, you’re like ‘God damn it, I’ve been to the moon, when did it come down to playing stopwatch on a microjet from Columbus to Lansing? Fuck my life’.

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