Technology Gives me the Finger

I am writing you from my laptop, which for the past two minutes has been having a seizure, but now looks fine again.  That's pretty much how it goes for me and technology tonight.  As soon as the thought "I'm buying a new laptop tomorrow" flashed in my brain, this laptop went back to normal.  Now it's doing it again.  Me and technology, we're not friends right now.

It just did it again, and I had to shut the computer all the way down (the screen wouldn't come back on at all).  Now it seems fine.

This afternoon Yacht Rock played a gig at the Tin Room Cantina over by North Druid Hills.  From the get-go I should have known that it was not meant to be.

We got set up and soundchecked (in direct sunlight, which is always fun for not being able to read any displays--never mind the way my reeds dried out and looked like potato chips).  Everything worked fine, but about four songs into the gig, my wireless microphone on my sax started picking up RF interference (which made it sound like I was playing saxophone with gale force winds around me).  At the time, I had no idea it was interference--I assumed my microphone had developed a short, so I switched to my other microphone, but it was no better.  I tried changing the channel on my wireless, and that made it better, but I still was picking up some radio noise.  In the midst of dealing with this (and the gig continued while I was trying to dissect the problem), the generator that was providing power for the stage began to run out of gas.  Due to this fuel problem, the power began to fluctuate, and the keyboard I was playing (while thinking about how to solve my sax mic problem) went dead and then came back on.  As I was playing, it did it again, and then my entire setup lost power (as did the guitar).  We limped through the song and then took a break so the sound guys could solve that problem.

So...we came back from the break.  I checked my microphones, I checked my keyboards, I checked my EWI.  Everything worked fine with no strange noises.  We played for what seemed like two hours, and somewhere in the middle my EWI decided to go berserk.  I was playing it and all of the sudden it would hang a note (the note would not stop).  Then it wouldn't make any noise until I reset it (at one point, I restarted the computer, tried it, and restart it again, all while trying to play my EWI part on a keyboard).   What's that?  I spent the next couple of songs trying to diagnose that problem while playing something else.  Before I could solve it, the dang thing hung up again!  I missed some really critical stuff, like the solo in Africa.
What's the issue with this thing?  It's radio interference again!  My EWI is hooked up to a wireless MIDI system, and when the notes would hang, it was because my MIDI receiver had lost contact with the transmitter (thus hanging the last note).  Once I'd figured that out, I grabbed a MIDI cable out of my bag and bypassed the wireless.  From there on out, everything was fine, but by then my brain was pretty much wrecked.  All I wanted to do was leave!

I have to write this down before it gets away:  Mark Cobb is awesome.  Had it not been for the f**king RF interference that ruined my day, this blog would've instead been a catalog of great stuff he did at the gig today.  The most awesome thing tonight occurred in Escape (Pina Colada Song).  During the musical interlude, Cobb started playing the dotted quarter note (I think) as the pulse, and then started swinging that (I think I'm remembering this correctly).  It was soooooo great!  He also flipped the time around in something else (Somebody's Baby?)  and put the backbeat on one and three, and then flipped it over again, and then again, and the other six of us just about blacked out.  So awesome.  Mark Cobb it is.

Anyway, I'm home now (watching Norah Jones on Austin City Limits).  When I got back here, I tried out my wireless MIDI and it worked fine.  My laptop looks perfectly good right now--the screen has settled down and it's working as well as it ever has.  Why does technology have to embarrass me to the point of contemplating a career change?  Why?  All my stuff used to work fine, but now I'm totally gun shy--it's Russian roulette waiting for my next equipment disaster to come around.  I don't know what the solution is.

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