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Monday, December 19, 2016

50 things every audio engineer should have by age 50, in no particular order

I saw that "50 Things Every Woman Should Have by Age 50" and it said a bunch of crap about shoes and clothes and having a bank accounts in your own name. It waxed poetic about old boyfriends, jewelry, and loving your wrinkles. What the actual hell. I don't need to acquire self confidence about aging, I need to make more music and get more gear to record it with! I will be 50 soon and I have just about everything on this list, so if nothing else I'll be motivated to finally upgrade to Pro Tools 12. 
  1. At least one microphone that costs more than $600
  2. Soldering iron
  3. SPL meter
  4. A working turntable and preamp
  5. A working cassette deck
  6. Reference monitors
  7. Sealed headphones
  8. Unsealed headphones
  9. An analog mixer
  10. Firewire or USB interface
  11. At least 2 channels of decent mic pres
  12. 100’ snake
  13. An XLR to ¼” snake
  14. Fishpole
  15. Shotgun mic
  16. Stereo mini to ¼” adaptor
  17. RCA to ¼” adaptors
  18. Barrel type XLR turnarounds
  19. Seven computers (2 PCs and 5 Macs)
  20. Eight computer monitors
  21. Pro Tools 10
  22. Pro Tools 11
  23. Pro Tools 12
  24. Adobe Audition (to troubleshoot opening OMF files)
  25. Logic
  26. Reason
  27. Max/MSP
  28. 2 channel graphic equalizer
  29. At least one decent reverb plug in
  30. MIDI controller
  31. Video camera (ie a digital audio recorder that takes pictures, too)
  32. Patch Bay
  33. 20 hard drives
  34. A decent subwoofer in your car or at least a system that goes to 30 Hz minimum
  35. Card reader
  36. A gaming console (Xbox, PS3), you don’t have to play it but you need it to compare streaming audio quality
  37. A headphone amplifier
  38. MIDI cables
  39. MIDI to USB cables
  40. Clients
  41. Acoustic piano
  42. Guitar
  43. Bass Guitar
  44. Choose one : Melodica, harmonica, recorder, dulcimer, thumb harp, or anything someone visiting you will be prompted to say “what’s this?” when they pick it up
  45. Active DI
  46. Passive DI
  47. A webpage showcasing your work
  48. Up-to-date CV
  49. One formal outfit for the awards ceremony
  50. Sneakers to go with the formal outfit

Thursday, April 14, 2016

The food allergy saga continues

So here is the sequel (read the previous chapter here):

On Wednesday, I ate small "doses" of a muffin and my back started to itch. But I didn't break out. During the day they increased the serving size and each time my back started to itch but I didn't get break out. So my doctor observed that I am allergic to either wheat, baked egg, or both. She gave me the option to continue with our plan to exert the next day. I absolutely wanted to keep going with our experiment, I am tired of breaking out at random times.

The Treadmill. The Muffin.
So today, Thursday, I ate a muffin and ran on a treadmill.... and I got hives. Yay! (?)  It is actually good news because it's no longer a mystery.  So now I know if I eat wheat and baked egg (and possible any of my other dozen allergens) and exert myself I will break out. Of course, I could break out without exerting, but let's not get ahead of ourselves here.

And wait a minute.

HEY PEOPLE. I ran on a treadmill for 30 minutes without stopping at an average of 2.8 miles per hour. Can we just take a minute and reflect on that?

[insert ray of sunshine]

So what to do next? Well, the hives episode is an anaphylactic reaction. I didn't have the swelling of face or lips, nor did I have breathing problems, but the reaction is actually anaphylaxis. Scary shit, right?? So she is going to put me on a regimen of four different daily antihistamines. And then we are going to try a drug called Xolair which seems to be effective for chronic hives. A really fucking expensive monthly shot for which I have to dedicate 90 minutes each time. Worth it? YOU BET. I never again want to rush to an emergency room with my kids in the back seat of the car wondering "what's wrong with mommy". Never again. Been there, done that, got the scar on my heart for life.

The other good news is that this condition could be temporary and resolve within 2-7 years. So maybe it's just a hormonal thing...??

And that, my friends, is all I have to report. Thanks for peeking in on my journey with food allergies. It's embarrassing and it's gross, but hopefully now you'll understand why - if I am ever fortunate enough to dine out with you - I only end up eating a piece of lettuce and some carrots.

Here they are, in no particular order:
Fish, beef, potatoes, carrots, apples, rice. Oh - and lettuce.

* * FIN * *

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Leslie's food allergy saga


So I have allergies, lots of them. And today I am taking a food allergy challenge. And I get to have an IV. And I am not enthused.

Where to begin? To quote from the caterpillar in "Alice in Wonderland": "Begin at the beginning, continue through the middle, and stop when you get at the end".

Here goes.

Mom and I used to go to Elder Beerman's (a department store in Dayton, OH) to get mixed nuts. I loved sitting on the couch cracking nuts with my mom. Cashews, pecans, peanuts, coconut mixed in, almonds ... I ate them all.

One day I started grunting and my ears were itching. Mom mentioned I might be allergic.  Sure enough, I started noticing every time I ate peanuts, cashews, raisins, etc. my throat and ears would itch. The list began to grow: raisins, celery, figs (Fig Newtons), oatmeal (Little Debbie Oatmeal Creme Pies!), peanut butter, grape jelly, grape juice. Over time it wasn't worth it to go through all the itching so I just avoided that stuff.

Later, when I was 11 years old, at Easter, I ate hard boiled eggs. Six of them. And I had the mother of all rashes that lasted for months. I tried special soaps and cremes and nothing got rid of them. Add to list: boiled eggs.

Now that I had assembled a list of foods to avoid I was good for the next 30 years. Occasionally I would have something touch something else - for example, I had a piece of birthday cake at Benihana one year and my lip became swollen. I figured maybe some peanut oil had gotten in there. Shrug.

THEN. Then for the love of God. THEN.

After I had my second child in 2012, I remember it was Easter again. Surely I could have one hard boiled egg.  NOPE. For the first time in my life I had hives. I drove to the store to get Benadryl. Because that is what my dad used to do.

Oh yeah --- my dad had hive breakouts. It was fun. I would be sitting watching MTV (probably around the time Tommy Shaw's solo career took off) and dad would call me. "Leslie, I want you to see something". *Groan* So I would trod back to where he was in bed after he had taken Benadryl. "I think it was green peppers", he said one time. Another time it was "There were anchovies in the worcestershire sauce". Gross, dad.

Well, as fate (and genetics) would have it, I am manifesting allergies in the same way. Hives. Fucking hives. And what is worse, my poor dad eventually had an anaphylactic episode after eating green peppers that were "hiding" in some gumbo. It was really, really scary. He is okay now. Carries an epi pen everywhere (DON'T YOU, DAD.)


So back to 2012. Had a boiled egg, broke out, fuck boiled eggs forever.

But then I started having other reactions. And here they are for your reading pleasure. By the way, what are you doing today you have time to read this whole thing? Well God bless you.

Meals that have caused hives since 2012. The trick is there is no way to know for sure what set it off.

  • Single hard boiled Egg. White shell. Home.
  • Le Peep: Scrambled eggs, bacon, potatoes, toast
  • Corner Bakery: Chicken Pomodori panini (suspect mayo)
  • Panera: Frontega chicken panini (suspect mayo again)
  • P.F. Changs: Pan fried shrimp dumplings (sesame oil?)
  • Cassano's: Cheese Pizza (wheat? Tomato paste? cheese?)
  • Infinitus Pie: Cheese Pizza
  • Amy's Organic Cheese Pizza
  • Random pizza shop in London
  • Whole foods uncured beef hot dog (organic), hostess white bun (wheat? celery salt?)
  • Auntie Chun's teriyaki chicken noodle bowl
  • Chik-Fil-A chicken nuggets, waffle fries
  • Qdoba cheese and chicken quesadilla

So from this list we have added sesame, celery, mayo, eggs (at restaurants) to the list of foods to avoid.

Which brings us to today. There are some common ingredients in the list above: wheat, eggs, and chicken.

So today I am taking a oral food challenge. A skin prick test revealed that I am, indeed, allergic to wheat. But to what extent? Is that what is causing the hives? And why - in most cases - have I been able to eat these foods in the past but not now? And why - in some cases - can I eat a food one week and have a reaction with the same exact food the next week? Why can I eat scrambled eggs every morning and not have a reaction? Why can I eat chicken at home (usually organic of course) but not out at a restaurant?  I can have toast or a grilled cheese sandwich at home. It's a stupid puzzle.

One cause could be exertion. In many cases I have a reaction after I have done a lot of walking.

I could also "just have hives" (idiopathic hives). Fortunately there is a drug called Xolair that might help.

But first things first... I'm at National Jewish Hospital and I am going to start by ingesting tiny doses of wheat.

(read the next chapter here)