A Tale of An Online Concert

Sometime last spring I happened upon Neil's blog, Citizen of the Month and in particular, the Christmahanukwahnzaakah Online Holiday Concert. It was fascinating to find all these people submitting their songs and photos of the season. I bookmarked the page and popped in from time to time to listen to a song or two.

At the time, I only knew two or three of the names on the list, but over the course of the year, it ends up I've visited many more. I'd check out a post or two of Neil's every now and again, and made plans to check out this year's event. It just seemed so wickedly awesome that even if I didn't participate, I was going to check it out.

Then, over the summer, I joined Twitter and have been having a good time following people who have fantastic abilities of summing up cogent thoughts in 140 characters. (Darth Vader? Fake SarahPalin? HolyGod? All there!). Not sure what happened, but I think Neil followed me first and of course, a quick glance at his twitter feed and I HAD to follow this guy. Find Neilochka on Twitter for yourself and you'll enjoy what he posts, too.

We don't have much in common, but he has a flair for cracking me up with his wit-and his tales of dating post divorce would make an excellent sitcom. That would make lots of sense, since he IS a writer by trade. One day, to paraphrase my favorite modern era Christmas song "In his profile was the blog I'd been checking all year!" He was the guy who had the online concert I'd found in March and we were chatting back and forth on Twitter fairly regularly, along with a few others.

Along comes November. Neil announces there will be another ChristmaHanukwanzaakah Online Holiday Concert. Sign me up! I'm not the best singer, but I enjoy it and odds were good that no one would want my choice. And I was right-my rendition of "O Come, O Come Emmanuel" is the only one.

So, this means I have to record it, right? Ahhh, not as simple as it sounds. I had no microphone. Let's join Utterli and see how recording via a call from the cell phone works. Um, sounds like an AM radio broadcast when you live too far from the broadcast tower. Scratch that.

Go buy a microphone. Now, use the microphone to record on Utterli. Good. However, I can't get that to Neil in a format he can use. Download a home recording program (Audacity, since it appears the Sonic Foundry that we once had was probably about 5 hard drives ago...). Get to work.

Go to record. Hmmmm, I can barely hear what I'm recording and the VU meters are barely recognizing the microphone. A light bulb goes off in my head: "Hey, ding dong, remember how you 'cleaned up' your hard drive last month? You got rid of a bunch of stuff that said you never used it? Well, did ya ever think that maybe, just maybe, you dumped the drivers you need for the laptop to recognize the microphone?"

Yep. I did. I'm a doofus.

So, it's 10pm last night and I decide to go into my bathroom recording studio to grab the needed driver and record my piece. Simple, right? Not quite, because Microsoft didn't have any drivers that worked with my laptop and HP used two different sound cards with my series Pavillion. By 11:45, I finally have some drivers for the NVIDIA card and figure I'm done.


The next thirty minutes were spent trying all manner of getting the $%&#@@%@ software to recognize the microphone. The meters were showing signal was getting there, but the program wasn't getting crap. Fed up, I decide to pick the laptop and microphone off the vanity and retreat to the living room.

Then the stupid darn thing started recording!

I quickly put the thing down and try again. Nothing. Stupid Bastitch, you're a Fargin Icehole. You worked A HALF MINUTE AGO!

I abused the microphone by hitting it against my laptop did some more troubleshooting without getting the thing to record again.

Defeated, I dragged my crap back to my perch in the living room and tried some more. Ed came in and assisted. We changed how the VUs were displayed (I'm used to the original way, he's used to the 'skyscraper' view). We changed the gain and how many dB's the darn thing would auto record at. Nothing.

I gave up, visions of a MacBook that wouldn't materialize floating in my head. I suppose I'll join in next year.

Then it started recording. Neither one of us could figure out what the heck just happened. I was going to bring it back into my bathroom recording studio and set up shop. Ed urged me DON'T. MOVE. A. THING.

Thus, it's recorded in the living room. In two takes. With breathing so poor that I hope that no one ever plays it for Tal Thayer, because he'll have a coronary at all the 'no breath' places that I did actually breathe, lol. I don't want that hanging over my head, okay?

I just was making poor Neil wait past the midnight deadline for my song and I wasn't going to make the man wait any longer for a better recording. He's not making money off the concert, he's doing it out of the goodness of his heart, one that's pretty darn huge (even though he does his best to hide the fact.)

So go, enjoy the concert Neil's arranged here. If you want, get your favorite holiday goodies together and sit in front of the monitor and enjoy.

(Psst, Joyce and Rich? I didn't get my Messiah sing in this year, but Loralee provided a snippet that is lovely!)

Now that I've told you about it, I'm off to check it out myself. Had to spread the word, first you see. (and wonder how many stories there are about recording the rest of those songs!)

Thanks, Neil. You ROCK! Maybe Santa can bring you a woman who will adore the awesomely quirky guy you are!


Loralee Choate said…
My internet connection is so slow I can't listen to ANYONE'S.

Neil said…
So glad you could participate!
daysgoby said…
I have a really bad habit of dumping too much when I do finally clean out the computer - J would happily chop off my hands so I can't hit delete, EVER!!!
daysgoby said…
And 'O Come, O Come Emmanuel' is a lovely, lovely song - we sing that in church quite a bit.

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