familial familiarity

Not A Step.Happy Tuesday folks.  Another lovingly crafted entry from the sounds familiar collective, which, actually, is just me.  What are we gonna do today here on the blog?  Let’s see.

Lately I’ve been going through something of a “family unit” renaissance.

I’ve written about the concept before, but I’ll briefly re-hash it here because maybe, taken together, it’ll help explain where I’m coming from. Every once in a while, I “wake up” and start thinking about how the majority of my interaction with my family (Sharaun and Keaton) is done in a group setting. Meaning, even though we spend most of our time with each other – I feel like we sometimes rob ourselves of family-only one-on-one time with our penchant for hanging with the clique. Nothing against hanging with the clique, but I think it’s supremely healthy for the three of us to have some dedicated “get away” time on a regular basis. And, recently, the notion has gained steam in my brain.

So much so, in fact, that the other week I threw out a last-minute suggestion that we pack a cooler and a suitcase and just take a roadtrip down to Disneyland for a weekend. Why not? It’s viable from a location and cost standpoint, albeit admittedly a bit on the expensive side for a guerilla family vacation. Keaton would love it; and it would give us some time together just the three of us. For me, it was that last bit that seemed to scratch an itch I’ve been having lately… the yen to run away and hide out with only those you love the most.

I know that “family time” is good for our family. It brings us closer and helps re-focus us on what matters. No, we don’t need Disneyland to accomplish that… and I think we do a fair job of it just playing a game at home in the evening instead of flipping on the television or sitting around on our respective internets while Keaton busies herself with her dollhouse. But, home is home; and “getting away” is something else all together.  So, yeah… I’m thinking more and more about a family escape.  Wish us luck.

And, whilst I’m on the subject of family, I thought it’d be a good time to post another round of vintage scanned-in photos from our now massive collection.  Check them out below, there are some good ones here…

And with that, folks, I’m outta here.  Sharaun’s busy working on something at the kitchen table and I’ve got the run of the iPod in the living room.  So I’m gonna read a little and listen to some tunes.


sights and sounds

Seeing and hearing.Thursday, huh?  Great.  I guess that’s almost Friday.  Right?

10:30pm and I’m just now sitting down.  Fresh back from our standing Wednesday night gig and sleepless since last night’s 1am return from the Coldplay show… it’s a wonder I’m even attempting to knock out an entry tonight.  But, I wanted to get some more flashback photos posted and I captured a hilarious bit of audio on the drive home that I just had to edit and share.  So then, without any unnecessary flourish, those two things.

First up, here’s another batch of vintage images from our recent photo scanning masterplan.  Some good ones in this bunch, but I’m still finding it hard to choose from the 1,500 we had scanned.  I’ve got another batch queued and almost ready and hope to get to them this week.  Yes, for me this is kind of a big deal… Enjoy:

Lastly, before I go I wanted to share a little audio clip I took tonight in the car on the way home.  It’s Keaton singing.  She sings a lot, actually… and mostly songs which have been drummed into her brain from the radio’s ten-song playlist.  Tonight, she was singing the Ting Tings’ song, “That’s Not My Name.”  Bordering on novelty, the track is actually pretty dang catchy… and I even find myself singing along with it when it comes on in Sharaun’s car (which is our only car, at the moment… so it’s been often).  Anyway, I just loved the way she sings it.  Check it out, I even edited out the road noise for ya:

I mean… they call me huhh…

Did you guys hear how she totally stopped and restarted the song so she could pronounce the word “her” with a strong British accent?  Listen to  it again.  She sings it all American as “her” and then restarts and sings it as “huhh.”  Now that’s some attention to detail; a little music lover just like me.


mostly about old stuff

Vintage.Happy Monday folks.

Sunday night and we were all just kind of sitting around doing nothing.  Sharaun had the TV on for a bit, but none of us were really paying attention.  Since I hate that kind of time-sucking activity, I called a stop to it and instituted some family banana-bread and popsicle making (two separate activities, mind you).  A double batch of bread (lots of overripe bananas hanging out in the freezer) and some still-freezing lemonade popsicles later, and everyone agreed it was much better than stinky ol’ television.

This week, I’m going to try and post some pictures from our recent scanmyphotos.com experiment each day.  Personally, I find near all of the 1,500 images interesting in one way or another (which is good I suppose, since I chose to pay to have them digitized) – but I’m trying to pick and choose some which might be the most fun to post on the old blog.  You can find those later down in the post, but now I’m gonna talk about music.

Y’know, the more I think about it… the more excited I’m getting for the upcoming release of the remastered Beatles catalog.  Finally, the powers that be have awaken to the fact that the current CD masters are outdated and poor-sounding, and on September 9th (09/09/09, how numerologist of them) we get the entire catalog, in both stereo and mono, by way of two elaborate (and wholly separate) deluxe box sets.

You may think it odd that someone would buy, then, perhaps in the same click of a mouse, turn around and re-buy, all the Beatles albums just to get both the mono and stereo mixes… but it’s something that us Beatles fanatics have been doing now for years.  In fact, the bootleg marketplace is awash with  different needle-drop remasters of the original vinyl releases… you’ve got the “Mirror Spock” releases, the “Millennium Remasters” versions, there’s “den0iZer,” “Sir Esquire,” “Silverking,” and “McCanno.”  Most, if not all, of these grey-market releases have improved sound (and some sound far better) over the 1987 mixes on all  commercially available CDs.

But, probably the most famous of these many grey-market needle-drop masters are the so-called “Dr. Ebbetts Sound System” versions.  Over the past ten plus years, those folks who live double lives in the world of underground Beatles’ recordings have come to adore the Good Doctor for the amazing sonic pieces he’s able to produce.  Like the other needle-droppers mentioned above, the Doc gets his stellar results by simply recording, then “doctoring,” pristine pieces of vintage vinyl.  I, too, collected the DESS versions of the Beatles’ canon, and also rejoiced in the amazing “warmth” that’s plainly missing from the current CD mixes.  Oh, and, lest you doubt… they really do sound better than what you’d buy on CD today… even you could tell the difference, I promise.

I bring up Doc Ebbetts’ efforts here for a reason.  See, the other day, the Good Doctor announced his retirement from the homegrown Beatles’ remastering business.  And do you know why?  Well, apparently he was able to hear a sneak preview of the forthcoming September remasters and he decided that, because they sound so damn good, his work is no longer needed.  And, for all the Beatles purists who put the DESS remasters on a pedestal above all other mixes – this is fantastic news.  Since so many folks consider the Doc to be the fella who’s been able to make the Beatles sound just about as good as they ever have (albeit only by re-showcasing the warmth and presence which has been in the recordings all along), to hear him say he’s  been outdone is like a promise of heretofore untold sound quality to come.

Better then the Ebbetts stuff?  Yeah… I’m getting more and more excited – and the Doctor’s retirement is like a big log on that fire.  I better start saving money now… to buy these CDs twice ain’t gonna be cheap..

OK, music-talk over.  Let’s get on to those pictures I was talking about.  Here are twelve hand-picked images from the batch.  I tried to do some minor color-correction and touch-up, but I’m no good at it (at least I somewhat removed the orange cast from some of the worst of them, albeit likely only exchanged for a bluer cast).  I took some time on the commentary for each one, so if your browser has problems flashing them up or offering the next/previous/close links let me know and I’ll change the way their posted tomorrow.  Enjoy!

OK folks, I’m outta here.  Goodnight!

got our pictures back

StackedYesterday we got our pictures back from scanmyphotos.com and I have to say: I’m beyond satisfied with the results.

I ordered the “fill it up” box for around $120 (searched around on Google and found some coupons too so maybe it was a little cheaper than their list price) and Sharaun and I jammed that thing with pictures.  And, even with all the prints we had from her collection and my raid on the folks’ old albums – we were still shy of really topping off the box.  I shipped the thing the Thursday before the Independence Day holiday and I’m almost certain that, were it not for that three-day weekend, these guys would’ve had the prints scanned and back to us in a couple days (they are just south of us, after all).

Getting the photos back, we learned that they scanned 1,525 images for us.  Amazingly, out of all the images we sent, only ten were not scanned – and this was because there was a little too much residual stickiness on the backs of them from years stuck in those old albums at my parents’ place.  However, when you consider that 10/1,535 is something like 0.06%, that’s a really amazing working percentage.  Honestly, I can scan those ten loose images myself and everything will be fine.  They were also able to scan all the odd-sized images Sharaun took with that stupid stupid fake “panorama” style film that was popular back in the 90s.  You know, the ones that make prints that are like 13″ long and stupid?  Yeah those.

The images themselves are scanned at 300DPI.  I’m happy with this resolution, and having tried to scan some images myself in the past (although by no means being an expert) at higher resolutions, I know there was (at least in my experience) limited gains by scanning a printed image at 600DPI or higher.  Anyway, the 300DPI scans from them look great as far as I’m concerned, allowing for the understanding that you’re only gonna get so much from the print anyway.  You can pay extra for color-correction, having the images rotated to the correct orientation, or having them scanned in named groupings.  However, since I’m cheap and I want to flip through them one-by-one anyhow, I’m just doing any touch-ups as I go for free.

Anyway, for my money, you can’t beat this service: it’s super fast, the prints look great, it’s cheap, and you don’t have to do it yourself.  And, I mean… seriously… how else are you going to get pictures like this WTF gem into your digital collection?:


And folks, that’s just the tip of the iceberg.  Watch the blog next week for some better-written and more cohesive reviews of some of the better images we were able to have scanned.

For now, enjoy my Dad above showing (perhaps) how much larger he is than those two older ladies.  Wow.

Have a good weekend.