Señor Lagler in Mexico (Day 1)

Heather and I stayed up all night the night before we left. Neither of us really prepared for the trip. We had made grand plans of learning some passable Spanish and learning a little about the culture so that we wouldn’t go in deaf and dumb but it didn’t happen. Truthfully, the months before our trip were horrible as far as having free time went. I spent all my time at work or working on Randy’s record and had no time for thinking about Mexico and Heather was buried in clients and dog-sitting. We spent the night packing, putting together music for the trip, and loosely putting together a list of things we wanted to do while we were there. We emailed the rough itinerary to family members with copies of our passports just in case. Needless to say, by the time we got to the airport we were already exhausted and irritable. Both of us had the expectation that the sun and the warmth would make everything better.The entire day was pretty uneventful. I’ve traveled a lot for work over the last decade and it was the same generic fare with the notable exception that my hot wife was with me to suffer this time. I really dislike airports. I’ve been in too many of them and their associated generic American cities too be able to explain the sites and smells to someone who hasn’t I guess. I dislike them too much to relive it long enough to explain it. Our layover was in Dallas. The only thing noteworthy was that the men were more overweight and more clean cut than most Portland men. They all had on the same generic khaki or jean/dark brown leather jacket and/or goatee combo going on. It’s a style for people that don’t have time to have style or who have jobs who don’t allow anything more flashy. The women were also freakishly tall and similarly generically well put together. They all looked better than me; but I didn’t want to look like any of them, if that makes sense.

We eventually left the Dallas airport and flew to Cancun. Across the aisle from me was some dude who was packed for a week in the sun to partake in booze and boobs. The guy was dumber than a bag of hammers. He wore one of the smallpox airline blankets as a veil for the bulk of the flight. Occasionally I could hear short one-syllable-word explanations of what he planned to do in Mexico all of which involved tequila and women… the only multiple-syllable words he knew. He was basically bragging about going to Cancun to a plane full of people flying to Cancun. Ol Bag-O-Hammers yammered for the entire flight, veiled and challenged. I’m not a violent person but to see him suffer would have made me happy. I think I was pretty tired but I know he was pretty dumb.

We landed in Cancun and I got my first stamp ever on my passport. The guy didn’t stamp it on the first page which irritated the part of me that appreciates order; however, the weather was perfect… perfect for selling shit apparently. If the only part of Mexico you ever saw was the airport, you would think that everyone there was there to sell you something you didn’t want. I stepped off the flight, got my passport stamped and then made a run for the bathroom. There was a bathroom attendant there that wanted money. I never carry cash so I stiffed him and felt bad until I noticed, while on my way home a week later, that there were no bathroom attendants in the airport once you passed security. The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in Cancun. The poverty is like nothing I’ve ever had to experience in my life and I am incredibly thankful for that; however, the sales environment sucks balls and never really goes away unless you can get away from the other tourists.

We had some problems with Budget not having any cars available despite the fact that we had reserved one. They moved us to Executive though and Executive gave us better rates and full insurance coverage for cheaper. We got a good deal on the car ($350USD for the entire week with full coverage) and gas is cheap in Mexico. I highly recommend renting a car there. It was fun and we could get to a lot of places that no one else even tried to.

We drove from the airport to our hotel in Cancun. Cancun kind of sucks. It has a mini Vegas feel too it and just feels kind of generic, lame, and artificial. We were really tired and hungry though so we drove to the hotel and parked and then walked to a place to get food. It was $30 for two of us for seafood that was entirely accurate in its description. It came from the sea and it was food. It was incredibly banal. The beer in the Caribbean saved it though.

It was the same way in Puerto Rico. Puerto Ricans and Mexicans in the Caribbean know how to use a fridge to make beer as cold as it can be without freezing. I don’t even like beer and I drank it with every meal in Mexico. We then went to bed on the hardest wettest beds we’d ever slept in at about 2am. We placed bets on what time we would wake up the next day. Heather bet one p.m., I said noon.

Drag

 So after getting a few insane quotes for the installation of my home stereo, I decided that it was time that I quit being a wuss and just figured out how to do some stuff on my own.  I am not handy at all but I don’t want to spend a ton on mounting the stereo I already have.  I am moving all of the stereo equipment to a closet in my hallway and switching to an rf remote which will be able to control it from anywhere in the house.  I am also putting my speakers in the ceiling and will be mounting my tv to the wall.  Basically, I want the living room to be comfortable for conversation when people come over to hang out; but also functional for watching movies.  I want a living room that isn’t obviously built around the tv.  That means that I don’t want any visible stereo gear in my living room.  Anyway, None of it has been as difficult as I had thought it would be; and I am done with the hardest part which was snaking cables through the walls.  Unfortunately, while crawling around in the attic I found this:

My roof is leaking where the Chimney meets the shingles.  That sucks.  I got an excellent recommendation from a girl I work with for a roofing company though, and my father-in-law Patrick Morin is the CEO of it.  He’ll be stoked that he got a referral.  Anyway, time to call RoofLife.

Turn Me Up!

This video is very important if you want an explanation as to why compression is ruining recorded music right now.  I will be the first to admit that I am as guilty of doing this to finished tracks as anyone.  I know how to make a record loud as hell; however, from now on, for any records I have the final say on, I will be leaving the dynamics intact. There is a reason that there is a volume control on your music listening device.  Listeners, turn it up and experience dynamics.  Your ears and soul will thank you for it.  Artists, have enough self-confidence to put quieter but more dynamic versions of your tracks out there.

Up

Okay, I finally got the pictures from our trip up.  I wrote up some general commentary so you’ll have a vague idea of what you’re looking at for everything but Uxmal.  I will try to get to Uxmal tomorrow.  Once I get the pictures for Uxmal commented I will be writing a summary of our trip based on notes Heather and I took at the end of each day of the trip.  I will also be posting some really lame video if I can.  From there I just have to get some more of the music I want to get up on here and then I think this blog will be off to a pretty good start.   I feel bad for not posting more right now so I will leave you with an article that I read today and found interesting. You can read it here.

Also, I was discussing the microphone that Thom Yorke used on Radiohead’s New Years Eve show and found out that it is a electrovoice RE20.  They are broadcast mics for radio that are famous for allowing odd address angles, limiting the proximity effect, limiting off mic sounds, and having a fantastic pop filter.  In other words, it is the perfect mic for recording in a basement.  Apparently it has a radio voice flavor though so it isn’t great for everything; however, if you like the flavor it is a great mic.  I was surprised to find out that it is a dynamic mic and that Thom uses it pretty regularly while recording and not just for online shows.  It makes sense because he moves a lot when he sings and he mouths the mic.  It’s just cool to me because it is a relatively cheap mic.    Anyway…

bang!

Well, I missed my opportunity to post on the first of the year.  Heather and I made it back from Mexico.  I hate US Airways; however, I imagine everyone hates the airline they flew on this Christmas.  No one has the right to wonder why airlines and American car companies keep filing bankruptcy though.  As a company, you can’t make dramatic cuts to budgets to appease the fickle whims of shareholders for a quarter and not ultimately cripple your company.  Anyway, I need to go to bed but expect some posts and pictures about Mexico in the coming days and then with whatever little bit of creative energy I have left I’ll fill you in on some fantastic drama in the extended family here.  Fun times for all!  In the meantime, please enjoy this performance from one of my favorite bands on the planet: