First of all, fast food isn’t healthy. Big whoop. You already knew that, and if you didn’t, well, you’ve got some studying to do. I’m not defending fast food here, so send the angry emails somewhere else. I’m at a healthy weight, good BMI, my blood pressure is great and I get plenty of cardio. Therefore, I am allowed to eat fast food when I feel like it.
Moving on, I’m a big believer in trying new things. Fancy new marketing promotions are often quite effective on me. You have a delicious new product that I haven’t heard of before? Great, sign me up, I’d love to have it! Except, recently I’ve been noticing a trend. Instead of a twist on an old favorite, or a fancy new sauce or inclusion of some gourmet variation I’ve been seeing what I suppose is the lowest common fast food denominator.
The all new burger with more cheese, more bacon and this time they put, wait for it, RANCH DRESSING on it! How creative, I’m sure our taste buds don’t know what they’re missing… Just when you thought Wendy’s had run out of ideas, they put 4 times the beef and 4 times the bacon on their bacon cheeseburger. Sounds tasty right? Eh, not so much. Even Krystal tried putting ranch on their “Chiks” to add variety.
It seems all the fast food joints think they can just add bacon and slather on ranch dressing and you’ll come dining in droves. I for one am sick of it. There’s a whole culinary universe out there to be explored. So many sauces that could be used in place of ranch dressing. So many toppings other than bacon & cheese. You’ll see mushrooms from time to time, but do you really trust a fast food joint to serve you decent mushrooms? How about a chicken sandwich made with olive oil & rosemary. Perhaps a burger with aioli sauce and sauteed onions or zucchini?
There have been a few great ideas, and they’ve all been removed from the menu in favor of the sandwich with more meat, bacon, cheese and ranch dressing. Some of you may not be old enough to remember Wendy’s “French Onion Grill”. It was the best sandwich ever to be served by the chain. It didn’t have bacon or ranch dressing on it. It was just a delicious grilled chicken breast topped with sauteed onions and cheese. I used to go in there with my best friend every week. Then they cancelled it and we stopped. Eventually they came out with a sandwich that had a tangy ‘mid-western’ type sauce, the wild-mountain something-or-other. It was great, but alas they cancelled that too so I stopped going. Now it’s a steady stream of “all new” bacon and ranch slathered junk, so I don’t bother with Wendy’s much.
Arby’s came out with a gyro, complete with tzatziki sauce, and the combo was only $5. Never-mind the fact that the meat was that fake stuff that is somehow legally allowed to be called “beef”, it was the only menu item I was interested in. I went in there once a week while they had it, but then they got rid of it. Eventually they released the Angus cold cut, a decent sub sandwich with lettuce, onion, tomato and yellow peppers. Someone must have decided they had too many semi-healthy items on their menu, because at this time you can only get that Angus sandwich with 3-cheeses and bacon, or Philly cheese-steak style. They cancelled the only one I had been ordering.
I’ve just returned from Hardees where they used to have cheese fries. If you want a mediocre hamburger with calories hidden in every nook and cranny (most places butter the buns these days, don’t you always add butter to your buns when you grill hamburgers?) there are plenty of choices. But if you want some delicious cheese fries then your options are limited. The kind woman behind the cash register informs me they’ve gotten rid of the cheese used to make the cheese fries. So I know have zero reason to ever return to a Hardees.
Why bother coming out with new products if you’re simply going to cancel them after you win over new customers? If you think that luring me in with something yummy and then cancelling it will result in the ordering of regular menu items I have a bridge in NY I’d like to sell you. The good-will you fostered turns into bad blood after you remove the only thing that’s been getting me into your restaurant. Perhaps I’m just a sucker, I’ve been known to be incredibly trusting (read: gullible).
A few pieces of advice to the fast food world at large. Start coming up with creative culinary offerings. Bacon and ranch may work in the short term, but you could be doing so much more – delight us with your chef’s imaginative creations, check out a cook book and learn about all the numerous sauces and vegetables than can be incorporated into sandwiches. If you come up with something great and it’s a hit, don’t remove it from your menu, keep it around. Most of us never voice our outrage over this stuff, because let’s face it, what kind of idiot has the time to write blogs about a lack of decent fast food choices? If you get rid of the one thing that someone came to your business for, most will just simply go elsewhere without a second thought.
It’s happened to all of us before, you’re doing a little nude Tai Chi in the living room when all of a sudden you hear a buzz. Or perhaps you spy the nasty little bastard crawling around on the inside of your window. Immediately you panic, and in a frantic attempt to respond to the crisis you’re likely going to make a mistake. I’m here to help you prepare, should this situation arise again you’ll handle it like a pro.
Many victims make the mistake of trying to engage the insect physically. This approach is completely wrong. Unless you have ninja-cat-like reflexes you’re not going to take out the intruder with a fly swatter, a rolled up magazine or a shoe. Rubber bands work fine on flies, but then flies don’t sting. So the first step is remaining calm and not disturbing the insect. If you rile them up they’ll probably either sting you on the spot, or go hide somewhere so they can get you later (bastards).
The other thing you should avoid, although it is effective, is using wasp/hornet spray. That stuff works great outdoors, but not so much inside. There’s no greater feeling that unleashing a 15 foot burst of toxic chemicals onto your enemy, while they writhe about as they slowly die. However, inside the home the fumes have nowhere to dissipate, so you’ll no doubt inhale them which will result in acute brain damage. Read the can, it’s a federal offense to use it in a manner inconsistent with it’s labeling. That phrase generally means don’t breathe the stuff. Even that friend of yours that’s always huffing stuff doesn’t want to breath it.
One time an uninvited wasp showed up in my kitchen, and instead of calmly engaging the invader I let panic take hold. I couldn’t find anything like wasp spray, and in my frenzied state of disarray I unleashed a fire extinguisher on the insect. Now it definitely worked, but in the process I used up my extinguisher, which can evidently only be used once, and I also left a fine coat of nasty powder over the entire kitchen. This method is not recommended, although in a pinch it does work.
Your main goal when dealing with a flying machine of doom should be to get their wings wet so they can’t fly. This is frighteningly easy to do. Even a spray bottle of water will work, although it’s best to use something really gunky that will insure their capacity to fly has been diminished. Common household things like Lysol do the trick amazingly well. In particular, my room mate had purchased some foaming Lysol (unbeknownst to me). So I was responding to an attack,expecting to simply coat the little bastard’s wings then squash him as he struggled to comprehend what was happening. To my sheer and utter delight I was greeted by spray of thick foam which coated the entire insect, who immediately dropped to the floor. His wings now worthless, he started trying to walk. I hosed him down again for good measure then calmly went to retrieve a paper towel. When I returned he had walked about 8 inches, hopefully in grueling agony. At this point I smashed him with my shoe and cleaned up the mess with the paper towel. The Lysol left a nice refreshing & clean smell behind and made cleanup easy, and with no neurologically damaging chemicals in the air.
The key to pulling this off is moving slowly and remaining calm. These insects are fairly stupid, so they won’t see you coming unless you move too quickly. Obtain your spray, aerosol is preferred (the spray equivalent of an automatic machine-gun) then slowly & quietly creep up on your prey. Hold the can at arms length and move close enough so that you’re within firing range. Once you’re target has been acquired (approx. 4-12 inches in proximity) discharge your weapon. Be sure to coat the menace adaquately so that their wings are good and soaked. Once they’re incapacitated they should fall to the ground and you may commence crushing their evil little body with your shoe. Clean up with a paper towel or toilet paper. Flushing them down the toilet is a fitting way to dispose of their worthless remains.
If you have any additional tips or tricks that have served you well feel free to share them here!Read More
When I was younger I had trouble sleeping, I’m still very easily awoken. As a result I spent a good bit of time researching sleep; ways to fall asleep more easily and eventually things like dream recall and lucid dreaming. It may sound cheesy, but the dream journal is the best way to enhance the recollection of your dreams. Be warned though, there are some incredibly scary things being mulled over by your subconscious mind from time to time; drifting in an endless sea of dead fish, arriving at the end of time, having a dead body in your house and other such fun filled scenarios.
Anyway, this particular nightmare isn’t exactly the most frightening thing in the world. It’s simply one that I keep having over and over and when it happens it feels particularly strange, like a Lynch film where your reality is completely different, yet memory from another world persists. So here’s how it goes: I dream that I’m late for school, and I’ve been oversleeping for a long time, as in weeks. It’s so bad in fact that I’ve completely missed a class or two, just never showed up. I always make it in time for this one class, and I’m always nervous that the teachers will get together and figure out that I’m dodging the earlier classes. This dream will skip around from being at home and rushing out the door to sneaking on campus to prowling around the school past classrooms I’m supposed to be in. The perceived time in these dreams can be a few hours, days or even weeks. It’s like when you go under anesthesia, it just goes black and you awaken at a new time.
What’s really odd and mind boggling (at least while I’m experiencing it) is that my mind from the present time fights with this flashback to being a student. In the dream I’ll be thinking to myself, I have two degrees, why am I going to school? These little “tells” can awaken your conscious mind inside the dream, this sometimes makes you feel really drunk or high as your motionless body in bed struggles against the one in your mind that’s walking, driving, etc. I’ll be mentally and physically between worlds as it were, and it’s very frustrating. It’s great to wake up and realize I’m not late, I’m not going to fail a class and all is well.
Full disclosure: I don’t like waking up. I sleep until the very last minute and get ready in a flash. I prefer having no set time at which to arise. So this could all simply be a manifestation of guilt from not being an early bird, but in response to that old adage I always say; “The second mouse gets the cheese”.
My New Year’s resolution? To post more blogs for you, and reduce my sodium intake. I probably should have posted some sort of update since July 2010, but… well… it’s a big world out there and I’ve been wrapped up in it. Shortly after returning from a lovely time in Vancouver my APC40 (main performance controller) decided to act up, one of the faders stopped working. The good folks at the airport were pretty rough with it (note to self; get hard case, not sturdy suit case). Luckily, even though the warranty was over it was still covered under the extended warranty provided by Sweetwater. So off it went, to the repair shop. I set out to work on some new tunes with the live rig being incapacitated. I had just completed this tune, Witch Hunt:
And the big closing track I dropped at SC7 came out, had an incredible amount of fun making this one:
From there I finally got to work on a remix with my lifelong friend & label partner DJ Notech.
Michael Woodruff’s ‘Class-E’:
So sometime around Halloween, give or take, I started to get anxious about my good ole APC40 and got to speaking with one of the reps at Sweetwater. It had been months I was unable to DJ or do livePA sets, so I was understandably frustrated. Sweetwater offered me full store credit in place of the damaged unit. To this day I think that’s one of the most awesome customer service experiences I’ve ever had. Huge thanks to Dennis & Eryk! So I got into the Novation Launchpad, some say it’s like a giant TV remote, which is precisely why I love the thing! Plus my color blind eyes can make out the red/green buttons much better. I will totally vouch for this controller, it’s affordable, works instantly and it small & functional. I haven’t found anything not to love on there. And for a main controller, with which to manipulate the sounds I elected to make the plunge and get something fancy. After much forum scouring I settled on the Livid Instruments OHM 64, and I haven’t looked back. Everything feels ultra solid and it’s allowed me to get back into making music while standing on my feet (new promo sets coming soon, I promise
I went ahead and sprung for a custom unit (pictured right). It’s got a white metal body with blue LED’s and yellow wooden side panels. It’s beautiful and a joy to play with. Not to mention, the underlying software is open source and there’s a dedicated community of users. You can feel the love. You can see a quick little video I made of this thing in action here: Wesley Dysart’s custom Livid OHM 64
Steamtown Records had great 2010. Aside from many strong releases that have been well received by notable folks across the world we’ve also been joined by some incredible new artists that I’m proud to be releasing music alongside. First, Travis Thatcher of ‘Judi Chicago’ worked on a few remixes as ‘The Voice of Saturn’, and he’s about to drop a wicked EP with some originals and an army of remixes.
And while in Vancouver I was privileged to share the stage with a phenom of a live performer; Dark Arps.
We got to talking and it turns out he has a lot in common with the hobos currently residing at the Steamtown camp, mainly; a love of electronic music and the heart of a musical wanderer. So he’s now one of us and we look forward to hearing lots more
Around X-mas time he put out a tune that fuses dubstep & progressive, the results are cause to get down! The tune is available as a free download from Steamtown Records:
We’re all gonna keep making music that we believe in and finding places to share it with you in person at high volumes, so stay tuned, follow us on Soundcloud, Twitter & Facebook, sign up for the newsletter and don’t miss out!Read More
I spent some time in Vancouver recently and have nothing but good things to say. I met some great friends I had been talking to online for years in real life! Had some great times hanging with locals, made some new friends and walked/biked all over the city, beaches and parks. The peak of the trip for me was definitely performing live at Sequential Circus.
We had a very enthusiastic crowd that was really up-for-it and easily the most talented collection of artists I’ve ever shared the stage with. Did I mention this was a LivePA festival and every act performed their set with a combination of analog gear, computers, keyboards, controllers and various bits of technology? Yes, it was a bit of a geek fest, and a real treat to experience 5 other live electronic performances and get an up-close look at how they make it happen.
I’d also like to say that everyone involved; the door staff, organizers, light/sound/video crew and bar staff were a perfect vision of professionalism and dedication. Everything ran on time and felt organized. The sound was phenomenal and the video crew was amazing. Big thanks and support to Drew, Rich, Mike, Krista, Carrie, Ross, Kim, Shell and all the performers (plus anyone I may have forgotten). Getting to meet so many awesome people was one of the best parts of my trip.
So, how was the show itself you ask? Well, the vibes & music were great all night. We kicked off the evening with Kir Mokum dropping some very powerful melodies and intricate beats, his set morphed and shifted in a very pleasing way as Open Studios began to fill up and people were grooving. Jeff Griffiths then took the stage and brought some deep & dark progressive tech house type awesomeness. His grooves were huge and they got me and lots of others moving. Next, Dark Arps stormed the place and brought the hammer down. Kicking up the bpm’s a bit with tons of energy he dropped huge banging progressive techno. At first I was nervous to follow him, but between him and the 1st two acts the crowd was in a great place, lots of cheering and dancing. It was just before 1AM and I hit the stage to a happy audience who couldn’t seem to get enough. Thanks so much Vancouver for the warm welcome! It was a pleasure beyond description to share my music with you! After my set, Jonnay (the only all hardware act of the night) proceeded to bring the RAVE! His set went into all kinds of territory, he blurred genres and bpm’s and left the crowd begging for more. Last, and definitely not least, The Square Root of Evil took the stage kept the party moving.
It was my first time seeing the really fast and ultra melodic techno that’s going by names like chiptune, 8-bit, breakcore, etc. I’m not sure what you call it, but I like it, her set reminded me a bit of the type of stuff one of my favorite acts Slagsmålsklubben is putting out. She was very in control of the music, blending crazy beats & rhythms together with fun melodies, all with a smile , I was definitely moving my feet a good bit during her performance, as was everyone else. Truly an epic night to remember! Thank you Vancouver!Read More
Ok, so I waited a while to actually get around to posting this. You’ll be pleased to know I actually composed most of this while waiting in the airport for the trip home. I’ve done my best to simply give you a journal style account of our experiences during WMC 2010. This was my 4th time attending the conference and DJ Notech’s first.
Left Atlanta, GA, our flight departed around 12 noon. We had some airport BBQ and a tall one. We arrived in Miami and headed to our hotel, took a walk on the beach, walked down Collins, had a delicious cuban sandwich and an empanada, then took advantage of a local package store where we acquired some Johnny Walker Black (great deal with free glasses) and some beer. We then headed back to the hotel to get ready for night one in Miami, which pretty much went max to the limit and didn’t let up until Sunday.
So we caught a bus into downtown Miami, got off on the wrong stop and had to walk about 1/2 hour through a empty streets and a construction zone, I nearly got crushed by a giant crane. Finally we arrived at the Electric Pickle (a very cool spot with a great vibe) and Disco/Funk legend Greg Wilson was already on the decks with his trusty reel-to-reel. Greg’s set was out of this world, I’ve never seen a DJ do the types of tricks he was doing. There weren’t too many people there early in the night but it filled up steadily. Eventually the place was packed with Greg Wilson (Credit to the Edit) blowing up downstairs and King Britt going off upstairs. Had a lot of Sapporo’s throughout the night, followed by a nice kamikaze. Bar staff was probably the coolest we encountered.
King Britt brought out a couple live singers who really got the place going, I was upstairs on and off throughout the night, but since Greg Wilson is legendary and doesn’t play too many shows I spent most of the night down there. His beyond eclectic set kept the crowd moving all night. We met some cool people and made a few connections while hanging out on the patio. Got back to the hotel around 5AM give or take and proceeded to get kicked out of the nice heated pool, I didn’t see a sign for hours (the security guard said it was stolen). I don’t recommend the Miami Beach Resort & Spa, no balconies or opening windows and the service was pretty unenthusiastic.
Woke up, at lunch at the poolside grill with our Orbitz bucks and then headed to the Bentley Hotel for Basic NYC’s rooftop party for ‘Do You Want To Boogie?’. Crazy P killed it, incredible tunes and a great spacious party with lots of dancing. Nothing quite like partying while surrounded by a beautiful ocean & skyline. We met lots of really cool cats who were up for it. From there we retreated to the hotel and then headed back out around 1:30AM to the 10 year anniversary party of SAW recordings where Satoshi Tomiie worked a finely tuned sound system like the master he is. Stayed til’ close and went home with a nice new T-shirt courtesy of Satoshi & crew, what a vibe! Didn’t get back to the hotel until around 5AM.
On Friday we finally got a little bit of rest, then had to hustle down town to make it to the yacht party with Guy Gerber, Seth Troxler, Shaun Reeves & dOP. This party was one of the highlights of WMC for me, great music and a great crowd. Dancing while in motion is pretty crazy. Seeing the Miami skyline from Biscane bay is definitely one of the most spectacular experiences I’ve had, and having world class talent throwing down the whole time made it even better. Met lots of really cool people on the boat and danced until it hurt. The feeling of motion stuck with me for the rest of the night. After the show we ran into Guy Gerber and his crew on the metrobus, a few stops later our bus was overtaken my the Ultra Music Festival crowd, we sat at one stop for 1/2 hour. It took another hour to get back to the hotel…
After a good bit of whiskey and pizza and a trip to the heated pool we got nice and clean and got ready to head back out at 4AM to the Hope & Audiotherapy event with Nick Warren & Dave Seaman at club Shine. That place is about the closest to dancing in a space ship I’ve come. The sound system levitates your insides and shakes the floor, so it still felt like we were on the boat again. Shine had some of the best sound & lights I saw while at the WMC. Nick & Dave were DJ’ing together and dropping some freight train size grooves. The event ran until 6:30AM. I was completely worn out but the music commanded me to move and somehow I found myself dancing, endorphins kicked in and the pain subsided. That party was overwhelmingly insane, it’s nice to see two heavy-weight DJ’s and record labels come together to create an awesome night. Got back to the hotel around 7 or 8AM, more or less zombies at that point.
Had breakfast in bed thanks to some $100 worth of Orbitz bucks, the chicken wrap was delicious. Headed out around 4 to the Serato/Rane product showcase. This was held at the Fountain Bleu, a 5 star hotel that made us all feel famous. The place was simply gorgeous. The staff were very friendly in helping us locate the right tower, we had been wandering around with our new friend Bhai through another tower and out to the pool. The place is huge. We made our way to the event and got an up close look at their forthcoming project ‘The Bridge’. Suffice to say it looks like a huge step in the right direction for both Ableton & Serato. I can’t to see what they come up with in the final version. The Rane/Serato crew were very welcoming, friendly and knowledgeable. I really enjoyed the chance to get such an up close look at both their current offerings and things to come.
From there we headed to the Beatport pool party where Mark Knight was storming the place with live singers. The Beatport setup was insance. From a really cool 3D motion art piece to some majorly solid sound and a light show that could easily cause seizures it was out of control. After Knight we got to see DJ Chuckie, who worked the place into a frenzy. Some of his stuff was a bit hokey to me, but there was no denying some of his grooves. Plus the sound & lights were just amazing. Check www.youtube.com/steamtownrecords to see some of our videos showing everything I’ve mentioned.
After the beach party we got ready for yet another late night. We feasted on a huge meal of authentic Cuban food. They didn’t speak English but were happy to give us plenty of their delicious offerings. Cuban food is a must while in Miami. Nice and full, we headed to Steve Porter’s ‘Porterhouse’ at club B.E.D. I attended the very first Porterhouse back in 2005, and it’s still a raging party. Didn’t get to see much of Steve’s set, which was disappointing, but Eli Wilkie and Mike Swells killed it with super-sized grooves. Plenty of room to dance, overall good night. We ran up some insanely high bar tabs that night, and somehow didn’t get back to the hotel until the sun was coming up. We hung out on the beach with a few other people who were out to watch the sunrise. Got to walk around in the fairly cold Atlantic, then went inside for some much needed rest.
Woke up hurting from the last 4 days, zipped down to South Beach to meet some friends for brunch. Then we made our way to the airport where our flight got delayed. Sat around and worked on this blog post and watched the news. Eventually we had some yummy pizza and finally got on a very bumpy flight home. WMC 2010 was a great time, full of amazing talent, some of the best sound & lights I’ve seen and lots of new friends that have made life cooler than it was before.Read More