I’ve obviously been doing a lot of hanging around at home recently, and I feel just a little lazy as a result. I know that if there’s ever a time to do nothing, it’s winter break, but I can’t help the nagging feeling that I’m missing out on valuable work that could be getting done. My days on break have consisted mostly of gaming with Eric, watching movies, and browsing reddit; while this is all very enjoyable and relaxing, I did spend this time last year learning how to make cables and troubleshoot audio signal chains in tech training at school. I was there from January 3rd on for two weeks of 9 to 5 training, about half of which was spent soldering various connectors onto various types of cable, the other half filled with mock test routines on each of Steinhardt’s 8 recording rooms. That was a lot of work, and I missed the opportunity to see my friends for another two weeks, but it was so enjoyable: I got a lot of time to myself (for South Park) in the evenings, and I was learning so much!
That process of learning continued as I started working as a studio tech last spring and continued this past semester. The first semester was trial by fire, as, despite my training, I still found myself somewhat unprepared for the reality of the job. People would ask me questions all the time that I didn’t know the answer to, and I frequently found myself sheepishly asking the more senior techs for help, only to have them stroll over, assess the situation, and calmly press a single button, resolving the issue. I was acutely aware of my rookie status the first semester. That continued for a bit in my second semester as a tech, and I still notice that it happens occasionally, but I’ve put together a mental list of about eight different things I reflexively check for when I’m confronted by the most common problem of all in learning studios: “There’s no sound”.
My tendency as a beginner was to assume that something was wrong with the system when given this problem. I’d spend several minutes too many testing the cable connections, getting the multimeter, sometimes even opening the connectors to check the solder joints. After all this, I’d usually get frustrated and ask an upperclassman for help. A few weeks of that fruitless strategy, though, and I started figuring out that about 90 per cent of the time, the fault for there being “no sound” lay with the student, not the equipment. So I’ve memorized the locations of all buttons and switches that could function as “mute”, reflexively adjust gain stages and turn on power conditioners, and have learned that the Steinhardt rooms need to be specifically configured for surround sound. Essentially, I’m getting better at the job. Check it out: by the time I’m a senior, I’m going to be the man at this. It’s just a matter of building my collection of checks and gaining experience in troubleshooting when there actually is a problem.
Non sequitur: I taught my 13 year old sister how to count in binary today. I watched a video of a presentation teaching basic computer science to kids and it inspired me to try out some of the techniques on a young one at my disposal. As it turns out, she thinks it’s interesting, and managed to write the binary version of the ASCII for “No soup for you” on her own, for me to decipher. Next up is hexadecimal (which she says “sounds a lot harder”). I’m also continuing to read Harry Potter I in German, which is getting easier! My education is slowly returning! And reddit ripped on me today when I mentioned that I deleted my Facebook. I used to take reddit comments to heart, but it’s way too likely that I’ll get my feelings hurt doing that. So I troll in FFFFFFFUUUUUUUUUUUU and take my lumps with everybody else. I try to be nice for the most part.
And the point is that I still feel lazy this winter. I’m in control, don’t worry – it’s obviously not a big deal, since it’s my choice to be lazy. It’s all happening like it’s happening. That’s it.