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While my IQ gently creeps…

27 Jul

And now, for something completely different;

While we struggle and toil, down that garbage strewn path that will lead us to “Container Home Ownership,” my brain is starting to hurt!

Now, according to my wife, that’s not surprising, since I’m operating at “diminished capacity” anyway.

Well, I suppose that’s true, I have lost a few IQ points, since I got married… In fact, it may have happened while we were dating… Hmmmm> 🙂

As this goes to post, I’m writing  “An Idiot’s guide to Geothermal ‘Activity.'” It’s heady stuff, and I’m operating at a deficit, so you’re gonna get what you get, huh?  As I struggle through a “Do It Yourself” Geothermal Heating and Cooling series, try this one on…

Handwritten Beatles lyrics to be auctioned off in U.S.


PHOENIX (AP): The original, handwritten lyrics of The Beatles’ melancholy rock song “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” are going on the auction block Monday.

The lyrics, written by George Harrison on a single white sheet of paper in barely legible chicken scratch, are expected to fetch between $500,000 and $800,000 (euro384,970 and euro615,950) at the Barrett-Jackson Rock on the Block Memorabilia Auction in suburban Scottsdale, Arizona.

George_HarrisonRest in Peace, Buddy. Gawd knows we miss you…

Britain-based entertainment auction house Cooper Owen, which is partnering with Scottsdale-based auctioneer Barrett-Jackson, is auctioning off the lyrics for a private collector and calls the sheet of paper “the most significant Beatles’ lyric manuscript known to exist.”

“It’s just a really significant and rare piece of memorabilia,” said Neil Roberts, auction manager at Cooper Owen. “It shows the work in progress, the message, and the thoughts behind one of the band members.” “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” came out in 1968 on The White Album.

The lyrics, which are said to reveal the strains within the band at the time, include lines like, “I don’t know how someone controlled you,” and “They bought and sold you.”

But the sheet of paper up for bid also includes some lyrics that did not make it into the song that was on The White Album, including, “I look from the wings at the play you are staging,” and “As I’m sitting here doing nothing but aging, still my guitar gently weeps.”

“These lyrics actually show the work in progress,” Roberts said. “It shows how he (Harrison) changed certain lines. It shows it on the day he wrote that song and played it with his fellow Beatles.”

Also on the paper is a line at the bottom of the page that Harrison wrote in apparent frustration over the troubled atmosphere in the recording studio. It reads, “The band leader said he ain’t playin’ no more.” Roberts said that line is most revealing. “It shows his feelings for how the band was going and almost the breakdown of communication,” he said. “He kind of realized it was coming to end.”

Also up for bid at the Barrett-Jackson auction are dozens of celebrity items, including a pair of gloves Madonna wore during a concert, a book report written by Britney Spears, Cat Stevens’ arrest card and Ella Fitzgerald’s old credit card.

Lyrics: “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”

I look at you all see the love there that’s sleeping
While my guitar gently weeps
I look at the floor and I see it need sweeping
Still my guitar gently weeps

I don’t know why nobody told you
how to unfold you love
I don’t know how someone controlled you
they bought and sold you

I look at the world and I notice it’s turning
While my guitar gently weeps
With every mistake we must surely be learning
Still my guitar gently weeps

I don’t know how you were diverted
you were perverted too
I don’t know how you were inverted
no one alerted you

I look at you all see the love there that’s sleeping
While my guitar gently weeps
I look at you all
Still my guitar gently weeps

Oh, oh, oh
oh oh oh oh oh oh oh
oh oh, oh oh, oh oh
Yeah yeah yeah yeah
yeah yeah yeah yeah

Wouldn’t you just love to have this hanging on your wall?

I know I would.

Stay tuned.

The Renaissance Ronin


Bye Bye Mikey…

28 Jun


After watching an almost endless loop of “Thriller” video clips, I’m wondering what everyone else is thinking.

I for one, am sad to anyone die before their time. But, I suspect that Michael Jackson had been courting his death for a long time, prior to this.

His family tried to get him into rehab for drug abuse. Morphine always catches up to you, no matter how many times you look over your shoulder at it, as you “run away…”

The prosecutors in California tried to put him into prison, for being “not normal,” to put it politely.

And from watching the spectacle that was Michael’s life… Michael didn’t exactly live on this planet, huh?


His music… well, that tried to put him a step above everyone else, and many would say that he succeeded.

Like many people my age, I grew up listening to Jackson amaze us with his talent, as he slowly slipped away from us…  as his eccentricities and ailments made him more and more reclusive. In a way, he was my generation’s Howard Hughes.


Regardless of how you feel about him as a person, he was a musical genius. And, that’s the way I want to try and remember him. To remember him as  “Wacko Jacko,” or a deviant, or someone I couldn’t trust around my kids… well… that’d just make me sick. And, there’s already enough sickness in the world. So, I’m just gonna get caught up in the “where was I when?” memories that all those video marathons are helping me relive. It’s just easier.


Hey, if nothing else, watching your relatives and creditors try to destroy each other as they try to loot your estate should prove interesting…

I just hope that somebody steps up, to look after your kids. They’re the “innocents” that I wanna see protected from the media hurricane that is about to engulf them.

It makes you think, doesn’t it?

“What if I was to drop dead tomorrow? Who’d take care of the kids?”

Man… what a tragedy…

The Renaissance RoninAddendum: June 29th, 2009 – Michael Jackson is STILL dead. And he took that loud-mouthed Billy Mays with him!

A while back, Billy Mays ran his mouth about how “he was more famous than the King of Pop.”
Just goes to show you… You should never mess with “The Gloved One.”Or, he might give you the finger…
Well, Mikey, at least you did SOMETHING right…

The Many Faces of a Shipping Container – “Recording Studio in a Box”

13 Mar

Greetings Campers!

When last we met, I told you all about “living in a box, underground.”

This time, I’m gonna tell you the story of a life “recording underground” (well, nearly… It IS Australia, after all… It’s “under ground…” from here!), in a box we call an ISBU, to MAKE a living!!

(I know, I know… stop groaning!) 🙂

As my family slowly builds our new home out of Shipping Containers and other recycled materials, some guys are making a living, by turning the same boxes into businesses.

Pay attention folks! Thanks to the President, there’s about eleventy-gazillion dollars in Stimulus money out there floating around waiting for people to grab it.  And, this falls into about three categories I can think of off the top of my head; New (small) business, “Green” application, recycling materials… and I bet there’s more!  I wanna be one of those guys!

“Ronin like money. Money goooood!”

You should wanna be one of those guys, too!

So, in the spirit of “Stimulus,” or at least “stimulation,”  I’m gonna introduce you to one of those guys, right now!

Built and operated by an Aussie named Mark “Sparky” Paltridge, the “Spark1 Studios” is more than just a place to record music. Sparky has a history, folks… he has over 15 years performing and recording in the industry, and it seems that Sparky has an unparalleled passion for song arrangement, music production and attention to detail.


This incredible facility was constructed by converting two ex shipping containers to a state-of-the-art, cutting edge modern recording studio. Spark1 Studios is designed for ideal acoustics, comfort and portability.

Now, I’m not sure that they actually pick the studio up and move it, but…


Now, when I first learned about Sparky, I had to do a double-take, because the guy who turned me on to him misspelled his name, and I thought he was one of the founding members of “The Partridge Family.” But, after checking with Shirley Jones, I finally figured out who he really was!

(Good thing, too. I’m not sure that being a member of David Cassidy’s clan would have been too good a reference! Especially musically! )😉

Sparky says that: “Recording music on the Sunshine Coast grants you an International standard in recording in an idyllic environment”

At least, that’s what his marketing says! And I tend to believe it!

Based in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland of Queensland, Australia since 2004, Spark1 Studios has already become the coast’s premier recording studio for discerning musicians. If you take a hard look at his company, you’ll see that he’s been involved in several albums to date, with more on the way. Not bad for a guy hunkered down in “a little insignificant box that isn’t worth looking at twice.”

At least, that’s how the natives refer to “shipping containers.” How many guys have to demonstrate their value, before these idiots just shut the hell up? Hmmm? I mean, really…


From huge, ‘in your face’ modern radio production, to capturing the ‘stripped back’, intimate acoustic performance, those “tiny little boxes” allow Spark1 Studios to cover most recording needs. Okay, so you’re not gonna record the Philharmonic there, but… you CAN record warm and lush sounds in a comfortable, creative and inspirational space at what looks like an extremely affordable price.


With three separate recording rooms to choose from, one can track drums either with a tight, well controlled sound, or go for huge drums sounds in Studio C, utilizing mics placed in the stairwell and adjacent bathroom, as well as all the close mics around the kit.

This is no “slipshod operation, either!  Spark1 Studios has invested in the finest gear of the analog and digital realms, featuring the foremost mics, preamps, compressors, EQs & AD/DA converters available. This includes recording equipment such as Neumann, Senheisser, AKG, , DBX, Purple Audio, JLM AUDIO and RME, as well as utilizing ‘classic’ older valve gear and equipment. In other words, they have all the right stuff…


Want proof?

SPARK1 Studios – Recording Studios, AUS
Studio Equipment

Mackie Control Universal PRO control surface and extender
JLM Audio VOC 2 compressor (LA-2A style)
Purple Audio MC-77 compressor (1176 compressor)
Chameleon Labs stereo compressor (modded by JLM)
DBX 160 X compressors (x2)
DBX 902 De essers (x2)
JLM Audio 99V 500 series mic pres (x2)
JLM Audio TG 500 series mic pre (x1)
JLM Audio TMP 8 mic pres (x8)
Quad Eight dual mic pre
Harrison 3232 dual mic pre
2 x JLM Audio PEQ 500 series (Pultec style EQ with extra freqs)
Broadcast Audio passive summing mixer (16:2)
Lexicon PCM 80 Digital Reverb
Lexicon PCM 41 Digital Delay
Roland 201 Space Echo
Alesis Microverb II
Mackie HR824 Monitors
Auratone Monitors
Fender Blues Junior valve guitar amp
RME converters ADI-8 x 3 (24 I/O)

Neumann CMV-563 with M7 capsule valve vocal mic
Neumann KM 184 stereo pair
Sennheiser 421’s x 2 (tom mics)
Audix D6 kick mic
AKG C414 mic
SM PRO MC 04 ribbon mic x 2
Shure 57’s x 2
Electrovoice RE20 dynamic mic
1 x Royer 121 ribbon mic
Fat Bottom Ends

So what have we learned? Hmmm?

ISBU’s are versatile, and worthy of most uses if you just use your gray matter, and think things through. Be it a cabin in the woods, a business by the roadside, or a hotel in the ‘burbs, these boxes can go great distances, both at sea, and on your bottom line.

Kudos Sparky!!! Today, you’re my hero… But don’t let it go to your head…

Yesterday, it was my kid… He made a poop, finally! Let me tell you, he was one cranky little monster for a while… 🙂

Next time, we’ll get back to the matter at hand…

Homebuilding with Containers:101… um… 201… um… uh-oh… I forgot where we left off! 🙂

Stay tuned!The Renaissance Ronin

I’ve been talking to Sparks lately, and here’s a bit of information that you’ll find way more palatable than “Vegemite!” (You know Aussies have to be either REALLY tough, or completely crazy, to eat that horrible stuff. Blah!)  Sparks tells me that; “I’m actually thinking of selling the first studio, (The control room/vocal booth one), and buying another high cube and redoing the same control room with sliding doors this time. I’m hoping to get around $35,000 AUS for it.” That’s “BOX ONLY,” plus “A/C, perhaps.”

(And that’s $23,059.90 USD for us Yanks!)

If you’re interested, you can contact him at: