July 26, 2015

Om Street 2015: From the Soundboard

Om Street: Yoga on LaSalle went off yesterday without a hitch.

About 1,800 Gather In West Hartford For Outdoor Yoga (Hartford Courant)

‘Om Street’ Draws More Than 1,700 Yogis (we-ha.com)


You can actually see me in this photo, I'm the orange dot in the front / left, at the sound board. 
Once again, I was in the middle of it all, setting up and running the sound system for the event.

I've been involved in this event from the very start.
Aug 6, 2011: A few days back I started sniffing around to be sure Barb could connect her wireless headset to the sound system. I was a little shaky on the sound system Lululemon had rented (a battery powered PA from Taylor Rental, never did get the power or model) so I decided to bring the studio kirtan sound system. It rocked all the way to the back rows.

And we've grown the tech each year as the event has grown. Last year I set up a zoned PA system (a second satellite PA, 200' down the road, with a delay line to match the sound from the main system). This year, we added a third PA (and a second delay line) and I convinced the band (the talented Craig Norton and Co. / Hands on Drumming) to let me mix them through the board. (in previous years, they ran a PA and I took a feed into the mains)

Green: Road Closed Off / Blue: Stages / Red: Speakers / Yellow: Audio Table
It's a bit of a challenge - I was out on LaSalle Road at 5:30 am (for an 8:00 am event) and it was all I could do to get it set up. It helped that I pre-staged a lot; putting together a board with power, mixer and delay units for the satellite PAs (see right) and setting up and testing the entire system at the studio on Friday night. Even with all that, I had some issues with the speaker cables (bad cables and/or bad connectors) but it all got fixed.

Today is a recovery day; even though there was help on hand from the studio, I still did a lot of the lifting, cabling, and clean-up myself - it's quicker to coil a 100' cable the right way myself, rather than have someone else do it and then have to redo it at home, and I had 400' of XLR, 600' of power, and 300' of speaker cable to deal with. I'm 54 here - doing sound for this sort of thing is a task for  younger legs, shoulders, feet and back!

Glad it's over, glad the weather cooperated, glad there were no significant technical problems. And thank to the Twitter, a bit of feedback live from the event.

July 22, 2015

Falcon Ridge Folk Festival 2015 - Merch Tent Prep

Even though my near focus is on Om Street: Yoga on LaSalle (and the three sound systems, 600' of power cord, 400' of audio cable, and multiple mixers, delay boxes, wireless headsets, and mics that I need to cobble together to make it all work), I spent a good chunk of today immersed in preparation for the 2015 edition of the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival.

Checked off my to-do list in the past couple of days:
  1. Finalized the 2015 pre-fest spreadsheet (researched and input most of the artists' CDs), printed out all pages, and created the three binders we need to make it work
  2. Printed out 6 copies of the schedule (yellow paper this year, I had a pile of it lying around) and laminated same for the merch tent / trailer
  3. Printed out table cards for all artists
  4. Purchased (24) 5"x7" plastic sign holders and made placeholder signs and download card signs for these  
  5. Ordered the little removable colored dots we use to color code / price merch
  6. Checked out the old printer (still going strong, since 2007) and replaced the ink cartridges (need to buy a couple of spares tomorrow)
  7. Checked 3-hole punch paper (1.5 reams should be enough)
  8. Booted up the laptop and updated software / virus protection, and loaded up the 2015 spreadsheet
  9. Unpacked and repacked the merch trailer bin
New for 2015:
  • The placeholder (no merch yet) / download cards (available at cashier) signs 
  • LED lights (I'm always a little nervous about the site electrical, plus the LEDs will be less hot if it's a hot / humid year
  • A new desk lamp that has been sitting in my office for a few years unopened, I'll donate it to the fest and that will free up the one we've been using

July 08, 2015

Project Saturn Window Regulator 2015

It started off innocently enough. I had two worn tires on my 2007 Saturn Ion (I am rather notorious about not rotating tires, so the front ones wear out much more quickly than then rear) so I went to Town Fair Tire yesterday morning to purchase new ones. All went smoothly, but when I went to drive away, the driver's side window was stuck down - the motor engaged, but all I got was a clicking noise that communicated "off the track" (a bit of an anachronism, turns out) or "gears slipping".

So I had a window stuck down, intermittent rain in the forecast, and no way to lock the car. When I got home, I dug around online to find out how to take the interior door trim off, in order to at least pull the window up, and found this gem.

Easy enough; I gathered the tools and proceeded. The interior moisture barrier was a bit of a challenge (glued on, removing it involved more tearing than I'd prefer) but all good. But this really did not give me sufficient access to the window to either manually raise it, or so see what was going on. So I decided to remove the exterior plastic door panel, also with the aid of a Youtube video (albeit a much more coarse and in some ways amusing one)

Fortunately, I have a full collection (several different sets in fact) of star and security bits, so the door panel was not a big challenge. The result, a somewhat freakish looking driver's side door that was nevertheless fully driveable.

Once apart, I was able to raise the window (about 1/2 way up, the gears engaged, and the power window kicked in), and although there was a bit of a sliding bolt adjustment on one of the support bars, I could not seem to improve the situation.

However, while I was Googling around for door removal information, I had stumbled upon door removal instructions published by Dorman Products, a company that makes the window motor / regulator assembly. They were very clear, copiously illustrated, and I realized that I was almost 1/2 way to the point of replacing this part myself, if I could find the part.

So I dug around online, found a "parts finder" at Advance Auto Parts, and within 10 minutes had purchased the part online, and was 30 minutes away from picking it up in downtown New Britain. My one mistake was not shopping around online (turns out I could have gotten the part for much less) but perhaps not within 30 minutes, and I do not think I wanted to drive around for a day or two with the door disassembled (parts were all over the front floor, the cup holders, and the back seat) for too long.

The actual replacement also went well, the Dorman Products instruction se4t I found was most helpful, as was yet another Youtube video (which turned out to be the master video that the door removal one above was clipped from)


I remain somewhat curious about the whole "left vs. right" issue - since the window regulator is not side specific, I assume it's mounted "backwards" in the passenger side door, but I'm not prepared to pull the door apart to find out. 

The regulator went in fairly easily; a little challenge to unclip the window from the old device and reseat it in the new device. Nothing got broken (those little plastic clips are notoriously easy to mangle, not to mention the big piece of glass), there were no parts left over, and I impressed myself by having everything I needed, tool wise (including Gaffer's Tape to hold the window in place during the repair). The Facebook video link below will have to suffice until I get the Vine-ish video of the window going up and down uploaded. 

My Facebook feed was somewhat engaged: 
  • Wow you're very handy (to which I replied "Poor more like it. Also self employed so I have time to mess around.")
  • Impressive
  • Nice job, just saved hundreds of $ 
So yeah, mischief managed, thanks in no small part to the information afforded me by Google, Youtube, and the Internet, and the content providers therein.