September 2011 issue, in memory of our 911 heroes!

Hurricane Who?

As we relocated from NC to New York's Hudson Valley last year, I remember a passing thought. People were asking, "What, are you nuts?!"
And I said to myself, "Well, at least we won't have to deal with hurricanes..."

It's even more ironic that they named this year's disaster after my wife, Irene!radar image The storm's effect here in the Hudson Valley was the worst flooding in the area's recorded history. We (see red arrow, above) were spared any damage, but we are surrounded by sheer devastation! A couple of blocks from our house is a parking lot beside the Hudson river (photo below). If it weren't for the signs, you'd never know where one stopped or the other began.flood photo

One interesting note... Whenever severe weather was forecast in the Carolinas, everybody would run to the store to stock up on milk and bread. I took an informal survey of the empty shelves in supermarkets here in NY, just before Irene hit. Different story: beer & pop tarts were the hot items!

One other hot item, after the storm; "I survived Irene" T-shirts. ...Especially among my wife's students at the college!


Made in... huh?

I grew up learning to sneer at labels that said, "Made in Japan". I once heard they named a small town "Usa", just so they could produce a product labeled, "Made In Usa". So, imagine my surprise as I looked at the label on my expensive Zojirushi Thermal Coffee Pump...label


Voiceover Tip #47:

For those of my readers who are, like me, voices for hire, here is a good tip I picked up from a social network of others like us. One of the things folks in our business have to deal with is "mouth noise". Most people have these noises, but they are not noticeable until you get a microphone and some amplifiers involved. flinch @ noiseClicks, pops, squirts, even ripping sounds like Velcro strips, can creep into a recording and become annoying to the listener.

My good friend Fran Taylor carried olive oil into sessions, and would swish some around in her mouth to cut down on the problem. But a huge number of fellow VO artists in a group on LinkedIn recommended eating an apple!apple image Son of a gun... it works!

It's all about hydration. Water dries too fast to be of lasting help, Fran's oil, and this group's fruit, works better because it keeps the mouth lubricated longer. Good advice for public speakers, too!

That's not a bug...
That's my dog!

Anyone who works with computers and electronic equipment knows what a total pain it can be to track down an intermittent technical problem.

Studio engineers can spend a huge amount of time working the "bugs" out of an audio chain, or a digital editing system. In my case, I have to be my own IT department and fix problems on my own.bug toon

So recently I found myself trying to find out why, in the middle of a recording session, my computer would suddenly forget how to find the hardware interface.

I checked the wires & plugs making the connection. OK. Rebooted the computer. OK, but it was still dropping the connection. I re-installed the software. No change. I even upgraded to the newest version of the software. Still FUBAR.

Then I heard a soft groan from Fred, one of my studio dogs, who lay curled up under the table. ...And the computer simultaneously dumped me out of my editing software! That's when I noticed that he had scuffed some of the wiring together to form a sort of "nest" for himself. He had loosened one of the interface plugs, causing the intermittent problem!fred

So Fred got an old pillow to lie on, and I got a rock-solid editing system again.

The Normal Rockwell Museum

The Van Ripers decided it was time for a little R&R last month,porch and we decided to drive a couple of hours Northeast, into a hilly corner of Massachusetts. We found a quaint place called the "1896 Inn" that offered a soothing front porch, large 3-room suite, champagne on ice, a dozen red roses, and a plate of chocolate truffles to help us unwind!

During our all-too-brief stay in the area, we decided to drive over to the Norman Rockwell Museum a few miles away.

inside  museumstudio




Although a bit pricey, we thought, it was a thrill to see the original full-sized oil paintings that were so familiar as front pages of the Saturday Evening Post when I was growing up. I especially liked his only self-portrait, seen just after visiting his actual studio (above, left) where he did the work. Very interesting.self portrait

Amazing Good Fortune!!

Like everyone, I have been worried about finances and the state of our nation's economy. It was starting to look like retirement would be out of the question for me anytime in the forseeable future.

Then I had the most incredible stroke of luck! A poor little old lady in England, Mrs. Beverly Oleksy, wrote to me in desperation. Her husband, Viktor Oleksy, was a petrolum merchant until his sudden death from a brief illness. Now Mrs. Oleksy is also in poor health and is not expected to life more than a few months longer. The two of them had devoted their lives to countless charitable projects around the world. They have no children and noone they can trust to handle their good works for them now that Mr. Oleksy has died and Mrs. Oleksy is failing quickly.

I'm not sure how she found me, but Mrs. O. apparently heard how trustworthy I am and has decided to deposit nearly twenty seven million British pounds sterling in a European bank for me to distribute as I see fit!

It gets a little complicated... a lot of stuff about wills, letters of authorization, and legal stuff with the High Court of Justice, security deposits, etc. But it seems that all this will happen pretty quickly, once I respond to her. She says she can't take phone calls at the hospital where she is staying, but urges me to act as quickly as I can!

She even sent me a photo of her, taken very recently. One look at this lovely old lady's face will convince you of her sincerety...

Mrs. O

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