Monday, November 30, 2015


I've been killing a lot of androids lately. I know that's going to come back to me.

Yes, Mother, you can export ProRes out of AfterEffects in Windows. It requires this free plugin from the company DuBon. And you can only export files, not compositions, so you have to pre-render first. But it can be done. It can. Be done. H/T Ian Hubert.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Ethan on Preamps

Ethan's response on preamps:

Input impedance is (one of) the big elephant(s) in the room when it comes to preamps.  How the input stage loads the source has a big impact on how it sounds and some sources are more affected by loading than others so some sources will sound almost identical with two different preamps while others might sound very different.  Output impedance also plays a role as the preamp will be loaded (or not) by whatever it's signal is feeding.

There's more to good gain-staging than just gain, and the subtleties of impedance matching are seldom explored nowadays.  Back when engineers wore white lab coats (and, in many cases, were actually engineers), a lot more thought was put into that sort of thing.  Through impedance matching or deliberate mis-matching, a lot can be done with how a preamp sounds that all sits outside of any "baked in" sound a preamp might have.  

That "baked in" or "native" or "default" sound that certain preamps have, combined with how stages are gained, further combined with how input and output impedances are taken into account are the triumvirate, and the first item on the list is often the only one that people consider.  It's one of the drawbacks of the recording renaissance we're living in; anyone can do this at home now and they have access to great gear for cheap and it's easier than ever to get good results, but they still have to know what they're doing to get better than good results.  Really understanding how things work is worth more to the "accumulation of subtleties" than how a preamp sounds.  That preamp sounds different depending upon how one uses it.  Most people recording at home don't understand any of that and even fewer have any inclination to learn about it.
My response to Ethan's response:
Yes. The input impedance is a thing. But most microphones don't get that much out of changing the input impedance. Oddly the ART preamp does indeed allow one to change the impedance. I play with it sometimes. It doesn't really do that much for me.
These days output impedance is virtually moot. All inputs are high impedance. I wonder how, say, Scully and Ampex machines used to be in the early and then the late 60's?
Preamps like the Neve have so much baked in that I don't even think the gain settings make that much difference until they start to break up (which honestly is not that pleasant a sound). I think that for the longest time recordists got away with being the 2nd tier in the studio because a mix engineer could fix almost any problem as long as the problem was recorded with good preamps and busses.
Completely counterintutively to me is the fact that lots of engineers have favorite EQ setting which they go ahead and just apply to everything. You'd think that would cause a buildup of certain things in the mix but... it doesn't. 

Friday, November 27, 2015

The Demon Hunter

I saw the most amazing reading last Wednesday of Nat Cassidy's The Demon Hunter.

 It was genius. It's a very "small" play -- just two locations and it uses the conceit of a psychiatrists' office. Which in Nat's hands is... brilliant.

The play is freaking terrifying. The reveals happen in a very tight and beautiful story. I mean, it's amazing. And in a reading it was terrifying. Nat built a narrative which expands into a story about the whole of history but, you know, with only four characters.
This is why Nat Cassidy makes the big big bucks.

More Meamps

When you do a double blind listen to different preamps they can all sound really close to one another. So close that it might seem very logical to think "why does it matter?"
The answer is usually that there's an accumulation of subtleties* that build up on a multitrack recording and that mixing is easier when recordings are made with great mic preamps.

The problem is that theory is impossible to test. It's not like you can go back to 1968 and have the Beatles do precisely the same performance of some song but swapping out different mic preamps during their perfectly re-created robo-playing to see if it's really the preamps and not the slight differences in performance that make the difference in what you hear.

Another odd thing about the theory is that if two different mic preamps sound very similar when listened to one-on-one, but you figure that when you're multitracking those slight differences build up, wouldn't then a simple stereo classical performance do just as well with cheaper preamps because you're not multitracking and therefore the very slight difference is not as important?

Ha! Hmm...

Well it might be that for simple stereo classical music you want the most colored - sounding big, fat, tube limiters and juicy transformers on the planet. But the prurient classical guys would all freak out if you told them that. So we won't. Let's get back to rock and roll where it's safer and we're less likely to get knifed...

So if the notion that we're just trying to aggregate the subtleties of having a bunch of really good mic preamps on a recording, it means we can get away with some of the preamps being less than "great". I mean, realizing we're talking about a very subtle difference in the sound quality in the first place. And if we have 8 inputs but only 6 of them can have super expensive preamps, that means we're 6/8ths of the way of the last percentage of quality improvement. Right? Maybe it's exponential? Who knows? I feel fairly confident nobody will care what preamps you used for the toms.

So where are we with this? Well oddly we don't care so much about the microphones. Not that we're willing to use Radio Shack microphones but we don't mind if we're using SM57's on the guitars and the like. We don't care if that's a U47 or a Rode NT1a in front of the drum kit for some reason. But we do seem to care about the preamps.

I'd been using good mics for longer than I'd been using good preamps. And when I finally switched to good preamps I suddenly was making recordings that mixed well and mixed easily. They sounded like "real" recordings. Is this a scientific analysis? Is it a double-blind study? Is it mostly emotions? No, no, and yes. The microphones didn't put me over the edge, the preamps did.

So I don't really know what I'm doing. That's pretty much the conclusion here.


A vocal pop filter for the Edwina microphone is only $40.

*This is an Alan Douches bit of wisdom.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Avery Cates

There shall come a time in the future when we as a species will realize what a brilliant and seminal and near-perfect a work as Jeff Somers' Avery Cates series is.
The thing is freaking genius. And dark.

It's sci-fi noir with like 75% noir. It's cyberpunk without the embarrassing dating stuff. It's a tough-guy first person narrator who is so self-effacing that the unreliability of him as a narrator occurs even to him.
Physical and mental modifications, that break down. Androids with the consciousness of other people. Computer viruses which kill you and zombify you via freaking nanobots. The end of the world. The end of the end of the world. The end the end the end of the end of the world.

Should these books be made into a movie? No. They should be a 6-season series. Maybe 7 seasons.

Last Additional Photography Day

Just as we're being summarily dismissed from our office at 356 Broadway by our insane landlords, we're in post-production on a couple pictures, one of which requires some additional photography. The images from the additional photography look great, but we have to shoot exteriors and this time of year there's only like 9 hours of daylight altogether at this latitude. For exposure purposes there's even less because once the sun goes below a mountain or a tree line you've only got the skylight left. You're basically in civil twilight even without being in, you know, actual civil twilight.

I'm thinking that publishing images of sunrise/sunset charts is about the most boring thing I could blog with. And for that I am somewhat moderately sorry. But I need to keep the image somewhere.
On Sunday at 4:30pm the gaffer shuts off the lights.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

What's for me

Of things that do not exist yet, the Blackmagic Micro Cinema camera is the thing that speaks most to me.

First of all, it's going to be cheap. Like a thousand dollars cheap.
Secondly, Chance Shirley has convinced me that 16mm is a better sized format for shooting because it's somewhat easier to focus than 35mm. Indeed, 35mm is a pain in the tuchus to focus.
Thirdwise, it's micro-four-thirds. I have a micro four thirds lens that's pretty fast. I'm totally down with that.
Quadranaically, there's HDMI video out. Oh man, the SDI on other Blackmagic cameras irked me. HDMI is so much easier.
On the Five Spot, it records to SD cards, not to weird stuff.
Sixly, it's got a global shutter and rolling shutter irritates me half to death.

The problems with it? Well for one it doesn't exist yet. Also, it's not 4K. Blackmagic is indeed coming out with a 4K Micro but it has no onboard recording. So as long as buyers don't care about "Ultra HD" we're good. The problem with 4K is that nobody can actually see it unless they sit with their face right up in the screen just like their moms told them not to do.

I feel like just as we got computers to get decent at rendering high-def and now we have to do 4K. Sigh. I feel HD really is the top resolution. Nobody really sees anything higher. I mean the boys down at THX say that film prints have an effective resolution of about 700 lines. So why all this resolution stuff? Ugh. Now I am complaining.

I think the Micro Cinema camera seems cool.

A Conversational Place - Full Film

Did I blog about this yet? I should have. I probably did. I'll do it again.

Groove to the beautiful and brilliant Catie Riggs.


Singularity is a fun little movie.

SINGULARITY [short film] 2015 from The Bicycle Monarchy on Vimeo.
** This film starts over black so have your speakers up nice and loud! **

SINGULARITY [short film] 2015

In the midst of a war between humans and sentient androids, a Delta Force team must battle a dangerous enemy to rescue the US President.

Directed by Samuel Jorgensen
Produced by Jeremy Pronk

© The Bicycle Monarchy

Web ►
Kickstarter ►
Facebook ►
The director is a visual effects guy, naturally. It's sort of surprising that they went for a small Kickstarter to finish just because the rest of the picture is clearly so expensive what with props and such.
It has an amusing ending.

Monday, November 23, 2015

On Preamps and Recordations

I have no idea about preamps. Maybe these days cheap preamps are just as good as expensive ones the way A/D converters are all pretty much the same. I don't know. A few years ago SoundonSound did a test of a wide variety of preamps. The cheap ones did very well.
Listening to the Samanas performance there are moments where musically and recording-ly we approach something that's pretty good. Not all the time, but sometimes.
I used all Focusrite preamps. But I have a collection of pretty nice preamps I didn't use. Will they make a difference? Yes, we can say without doubt they will be different. The question is will they be better? I don't know.

Will the Focusrite preamps sound better than the Tascam preamps in the US2000? My instinct is to say they will, but who knows?
The isolated vocals (allegedly) from the Adelle performance on Saturday Night Live.

I've been finding there something sort of dead about the mixes of recent SNL performances. The iso vocal track sorta indicates there's virtually no live instruments on stage. I don't know what they're doing with the drums -- triggered pads where the heads would be perhaps? I mean, it's a Ddrum kit -- but how do they keep the strikes from making any sound which gets into the vocal mic?
I'm going to end up selling my little Focusrite interface. Also my eBow which I don't think I've used even twice. And maybe my Tascam interface. You know what I'm also selling? My M-Audio 2626. That makes me sad because it's a really nice interface but it's only Firewire. And none of my modern PC's like Firewire. And M-Audio has kinda just quit that interface. It'll still work on Macs though. But because I'm married to mixing in Samplitude that's just not gonna happen for me.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

November at 40 Knots

So the City Samanas played at a little bar in Red Hook Brooklyn on Thursday.

The rain was biblical. Poor Dave forgot his cymbal case and stick bag and had to go back home to get it. Returning to the bar he face-planted from his scooter in the rain. He's okay now but it was a bit harrowing.

What's funny about this band is that we'll write back and forth very detailed emails about exactly what we're going to do. And then we do something completely different when we actually get there. Two examples of that are that I was roped into singing ("singing") a song I'd never even played before (Franklins Tower) and a thousand emails about how we would play Favorite Things was immediately abandoned and a psychedelic section was added to the song.

Roll away the dew.

The best-laid plans for recording all went out the window as soon as we showed up. My guitar was miked with an Oktava 012, Greg's was with an SM57 (draped sideways over his guitar cabinet). The bass amp was close miked with a Rode NT1. Uh, the bass mic twisted off-axis at some point and then got fixed again.

The drum kit is three mics. I did that thing where the overhead is an Ear Trumpet Edwina, the "side" mic is an Oktava 012, and the kick mic is a cheap kick-drum mic. Over the course of the evening the Edwina got very "grainy" sounding. I don't know if we were just hitting it with too much volume from the drums or if the phantom power wasn't up to snuff for it.

But the thing of that is that I didn't use any outboard mic preamps at all. I used the Focusrite 18i20 for every instrument. At one point the bass actually started to get too loud and I had to repatch it into an input that allowed me to put a pad on the input.

I am digging Lily's new 5-string bass. I'm mixing on Ultrasone headphones so I don't really have an idea of where the bass actually sits in the mix. In the future I'll have that more worked out.

The thing where I play with an Electro Harmonics C9 organ pedal seems to work really well actually. Since I can blend the guitar sound in with the very compressed organ sound it'll do a thing where I can get a guitar sound when I'm playing loud and it turns into an organ sound on quieter sections.

Greg and me singing is a very interesting sound. We're so very different sounding voices but it seems to work. I mean, at least on Franklins Tower. At least to me.

The vocals. The absurd thing is that we didn't have a cable which would go from Greg's mini mixer to feed the Focusrite. So I set up a small stereo bar on the mic stand and we had one dynamic go to the PA and another 58 go to the Focusrite. Sort of amusing. But I think even if we do that again we'll use the Edwina as the vocal mic. At least for recording.

These mixes are all over the place. In the Basement is marred by an off-axis mic or two. Some of the performances are lost in places. Sometimes we even get back on track!

My conclusion is that although there's a lot of scratches in this leather but the the loose, drunken (not literally), swing we approach is just right. It's sort of fascinating how this group of people go about playing as an ensemble, like four sculptors who are not entirely sure what the sculpture will be until they all start working on it.

I think if we do this a few more times we might just have something special in the way of a recording. Especially if I practice guitar more in the meantime. ;-)

Friday, November 20, 2015


This dude, James Lee, posted these amazing and inspiring images on Renderosity nigh on 10 years ago. I love how dynamic the scenes are. And the costume design is astounding.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Long Days

I do not understand the "work 'till you drop" ideology in the filmmaking world. I can't see how it's somehow cheaper to work really long hours because the number of mistakes you start making grows exponentially the longer you go.
Not having time to take a look at what you've been shooting while you're shooting is just... incomprehensible to me. I can imagine under a TV schedule that you're trying desperately to get something finished under a deadline although honestly I don't get why production doesn't just start a few weeks earlier instead.

There are some fixed costs of rentals, sure. Sometimes your soundstage is a huge part of your budget so from a financial point of view you want to have it working constantly. And sometimes your key talent has a limited schedule. But seriously, those are exceptions, not rules.
Putting the producer under a chopping block and telling them that they get whacked if they go over 10 hours has a magical ability to make things happen on time. Not allowing a production to go into overtime simply means that production will mysteriously become vastly more efficient at shooting. I've seen it happen on so many shows. It's a kind of fascinating thing to watch.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Someone's Things For Today

I love Language: A Feminist Blog. Here she discusses the differences between gay and lesbian lexicons and the problems with trying to figure out what they are or even if you're asking the right questions.
New Jersey in the Paleolithic.

Filmconvert. I'm not 100% sold on it. Ian Hubert likes it though.

I feel that this article on VOD will be used to delude a lot of filmmakers into thinking there's money in VOD. 

I should probably just go ahead and get another of these hard drives. They're fast enough to edit on and they're portable.
Yeah yeah, I know. You have to run a backup because they're twice as likely to fail (in theory). UPDATE: huh. Blogger refuses to put in this link apparently.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Samana Recordation

A pair of Neves. A pair of ATI tube preamps. A Tascam US-2000 interface. The City Samanas. Recording live. I have to figure this out.
The drum kit is small and conservative. One tom. The band is situated fairly close to one another. It just occurred to me that I don't enjoy close-miking snare drums.

  1. The bass guitar I've been traditionally putting a Rode NT1 (which is sorta Neumann U87 looking and maybe even U47 sounding) up against the grill of the bass amp. The snare and a variety of other instruments will get into that mic. There's nothing I can do about it. Probably use a channel of the ATI on bass.
  2. I bet the other channel of ATI will be as the drum overhead. I don't know what mic to use. If I go large diaphragm I could use another Rode NT1. Or I could use a Ear Trumpet Edwina. 
  3. I get a Neve 1272 on my guitar amp. With an SM47 (not my Unidyne, I don't want to deal with bringing that mic out with me -- which is a joke because every other mic I have is more expensive but that one mic is a pain in the tuchus because everyone thinks they're so special now.) 
  4. Just for balance let's give Greg the other 1272. 
  5. Greg's vocal mic. Now that's interesting. We could give him another Edana. The signal will be hopped up with a Mackie mixer so it'll be hitting us at something around line level
  6. The tom will go direct into a channel on the Tascam
  7. So will the kick
  8. And the snare, what the heck... I mean I have a kit for miking things I may as well use it. 
Now I just have to figure out that I have the right interconnects to get from the two preamps into the Tascam. The thing I don't have to worry about is monitoring -- there just isn't any. Problem solved.
There will be a world of bleed from microphones. But I think I can live with that.

I feel we need some psychedelic lights though. We definitely need psychedelic lights.

Franklin's Tower

The thing about playing Dead tunes is that it really forces you into thinking modally. This is because their music sits somewhere almost exactly between rock and traditional Irish/English/Scottish (which means, perhaps, "bluegrass and country" but maybe not.)

The thing is that the blues does some modalesque things without even asking. They're not really from the western world except kinda. So blending the two together with electric guitars and (at least occasionally) great playing, and you have something interesting. And surprisingly hard to do.

But the City Samanas will be playing at 40 Knots come Thursday and we'll do it. That we shall.

Carbon Copy Key

The key art at this year's AFM for Carbon Copy (formerly Android Masquerade).

Friday, November 13, 2015

All the stuff from today

Camtasia Studio is three hundred bucks. If I want to do any computer tutorials I really need to have it. But for three hundred dollars it's gonna have to wait a while.

Polari is the lost language of gay men. "Language" might be a bit of a stretch but I totally want to get this book.

You can dive a missile silo. What part of that isn't awesome?

You know you want to go to stunt driving school.

Filmspecific and Startupfilmmaker. I don't have anything to say about them. My feeling is "meh". Other than that I dunno.

I've been reading

QOTD "No buyer cares how cheaply you made a movie for." This was said in the form of a threat. So no more tips about ultra-low-budget filmmaking. ;-)

Monday, November 09, 2015

Grass Growing in Slow Motion

Ian Hubert. Genius.

Here's his feature length motion picture entitled Grass Growing in Slow Motion.

It is impossible to overstate how utterly brilliant this is.

356 Broadway Update

The office down the hall from ours is being rented out. 

Remember kids, don't trust 356 Broadway further than you can throw them!

Huh. This office is more expensive than ours is.



$600 / 125ft2 - PRIVATE OFFICE (TriBeCa)

image 1image 2
© craigslist - Map data © OpenStreetMap
Clean, quiet, private space with locking door and private mailbox.

Great for Entrepreneurs, professional and creative enterprises:
Computer based arts. Video editing. Fashion Design. Architecture.

No cubicles. No shared desks.

WiFi available.
Shared Conference room.
Heat and A/C included.

Located 1 flight down from Broadway.
No Windows.

In Tribeca, near Soho, Chinatown, Government center.
Located close to all subways.

Deposit & references required.

Sound Check

A while back I wondered exactly how long it would take to do the dialog, music, and effects mix, with Foley and "sound design" cut effects, for a feature-length motion picture -- you know, the kind of movies we make.
I estimated 144 hours. That is 144 "man-hours" at a computer with a Foley stage of some sort available and doing the sound effects, ADR, dialog edit, and final mix as you go along. The other caveat is that the effects are not done "100%". No, instead you do just the effects you need, not wanting to Foley the entire movie and cut effects for the entire movie. Just add the stuff you're going to use.
How much is 144? I mean, how much does that cost with overhead, computers, electricity, sound effects, your time? Is that about $50/hour? So 144 is what, I don't know, about $7,000?
Now the fact is that I do virtually all this work myself on most of our movies. So that's work that does not incur a cash cost to us. But it does, you know, take up a month of my time. And then there's the music. On shows I'm composing for, that's some additional time.

So these are my thoughts of which I am thinking. Still. Thinking.

Sunday, November 08, 2015

Golden Ageism

I keep saying that we live in the golden age of whatever we're talking about when we talk about music and engineering. We're not living in the golden age of making money making music. No no no. But for making music, and recording music, ah. Yes.
So since the late '40's we've pretty well known what sort of microphones are the best sounding. Somewhere in the 50's we really got that all sorted out and in the 60's we made them balanced. But although now we make the best reference microphones, there are some older microphone designers (mostly, but by no means exclusively, designs by manufactures in German-speaking countries). The Neumann U47, The AKG C12, RCA ribbon mics, Coles, etc.
Squirrel. Stop being so pretentious and put the covers back on your humbuckers.

And those mics were expensive even before they tripled in price whilst becoming "vintage".
But now we have so many more interesting choices. There are Ear Trumpet Labs and others making their own new microphones.
But also there are also scores of companies making sort of cheap knockoffs of more expensive (and older) designs.
And there are small companies that do mods of those mics. Michael Joly's OktavaModShop mostly mods other brands than Oktava. JJAudio also does mods on a bunch of microphones and on the very extraordinarily priced ART VLA tube compressor.

And the thing is that yeah, you can mod all this stuff to your heart's content, but the original gear sounds flipping amazing. I mean, I've A/B'ed Schoeps CMC6's against Oktava 012's and although they sound slightly different (the Schoeps had a bit of an upper-mid "lift") you couldn't say one was in any way "better" than the other. And one could certainly EQ the Oktava to sound substantially like the Schoeps so you couldn't pick one out over the other.

Thursday, November 05, 2015

How to Fin

As the worst scuba diver (non-dangerous division), I have a lot of skills I need to work on. Buoyancy, trim, and finning among them. (Note that we never call them "flippers", always "fins".
Because we have to take the fun out of everything.)

Nobody ever tells a penguin they have lousy trim in the water. Then again they don't do a lot of cave diving. Night and ice diving, sure. But they're all like James Bond in that they show up in evening wear just as they come out of the water.

Finning techniques:

I got those links from the pretty cool /r/scuba Reddit.

The Further Adventures of 356 Broadway

So apparently one of our landlords, Ben Schneeberg, came into the office today and talked to my partner. First, Ben saw that I'd put the letter up on the door. He said something to the effect of "Oh, so Andrew's advertising." Then he took the letter down saying "This is silly" and left it on my desk.

I'm not sure if he means that them sending us the letter is silly, or if he means me thinking everyone with offices should read it is silly. Either way, I put it back up.

Then, apparently, he told my partner that we didn't have to leave after all. No no no. We "just have to keep the door closed".

Oh, right. So the whole "We are no longer allowing offices to be shared" was just a what, bargaining point? So the entire substance of the termination of our lease at 356 Broadway was, as it turns out, not important at all. 

But that's not the most ridiculous part. The most ridiculous part is the reason the landlord doesn't like us having our door open. So if we keep our door closed, we can stay.

As a rational human being you might wonder to yourself: "Why would you need to keep your door closed? Are other tenants complaining about you? Are you doing immoral things there? What's going on?"

Oh. Oh no. The reason is so much more awesome than that. What is their new reason for wanting us to keep our door closed? Oh you'll just love it. 

Are you ready?

"It intimidates prospective tenants."

It is honestly beyond my abilities to parse what that could possibly mean. Especially considering that there are more tenants in the space now than when we'd first arrived. 

I suspect that the real problem that Ben and Jody have with us is that Brian down the hall has moved and they like to have someone they can needle. So the new person to needle is us. 

Why landlords have to be so psychotic is beyond me.  Everybody told me when I moved in that the landlords lie all the time. I figured they can't be worse than my last landlord. No, but they're ultimately just about as bad, what with the attempts to intimidate us just for fun only to back off when we call their bluffs. 

356 Broadway, 'twas nice while it lasted.  

What is now

Oh, the footage is pouring in from our shooting days over the weekend. That is, the composites Ian is doing.
The German Blu-Ray of Android Insurrection

This Lima backup dongle thing is very interesting. I'm using (multiple) Backblaze accounts and also iDrive (and also Sugar Sync) but if you wanted to keep your backup local, the Lima seems pretty cool. The advantage to, say, Backblaze is that you don't need to buy new hard drives for it. With the Lima you'd have to buy and power your drive.

Speaking of power, our crazy landlords for our studio have cancelled our lease. At the same time they've started leaving the front doors open overnight. So if you're in need of a bathroom just come down to 356 Broadway I guess. Doors are always open.

Dig the color reel for the dude just down the hall from us (until we're out at the end of the month) -- Ray Levé.

Lacra Color Reel 2015 from Ray Levé on Vimeo.

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Backup Sound

Glen Trew suggests not running a backup recorder on set.

I have to agree with him there. I used to run one thinking that at least twice in a movie I was going to not roll on one machine. But the fact is that hitting two record buttons does indeed make it somewhat easier to miss one of them.
The Japanese version of Robot Revolution.

The other thing is that the sound department is the only department that even considers running a backup. There's no "backup camera" running while the regular one is running. And, of course, sound can be replaced in post. And sometimes that's just easier anyway.

Further thoughts on landlord insanity

I am convinced the entire problem leading up to our order to vacate the premises at 356 Broadway was that we didn't make a stink when they did the carpet.
Everybody else fought with them. We didn't. Let me explain.
This is what happened. We tenants got this email the afternoon of Thursday the 24th of September about the offices being closed the next day.
From: imail <>
Date: Thu, Sep 24, 2015 at 12:50 PM

356 Office Tenants,

Please take notice:
The offices will be closing early tomorrow, Friday, September 25 for professional rug shampooing.
There will be NO ACCESS beginning at 3:30.

The OFFICES will be CLOSED and INACCESSIBLE from 3:30 pm tomorrow until Saturday.

If you can avoid being there at all this weekend, that would be the better scenario 
as it would allow the rug more time to dry properly and without footprints.

We apologize for the late notice.  This is the only time the cleaners are able to schedule us.  We are all sure to appreciate the results.

Best regards,
 - Ben & Jody
Now, there's a law office and professional photographer and a whole bunch of companies that have, you know, deadlines to meet. And so this ridiculous thing made for at least one screaming match between a tenant and the landlord because he had clients coming in on Friday. But the Mad Duke and I decided that wasn't a hill worth dying on so we just made plans to be out of the office for the next day.

So there were many arguments with many tenants. Just not us. And that becomes important the following week: because when I came in on Monday, Ben Schneeberg came into my office and was really aggressive about how the problems with the Internet were my fault. (The Internet there has always been fairly bad, and FiOS isn't available on that block. Most of the tenants have their own service but there's a few of us who share.)
I pointed out that my one computer wasn't even on, and my other computer wasn't connected to his network. That did not amuse him. I even brought up the network properties on my computer to show how little bandwidth we were taking up.
And while he was doing this I realized: oh, he just wants to get into a fight.
It took a while for him to back off. And I realized that he just had a weekend where fought with everyone else, but he didn't get a chance to fight with me
Hanlon's Razor suggests that my landlords aren't just trying to pressure us into renting two offices, but rather just that they're dumb. But Heinlein suggests we shouldn't rule out actual malice.

I'm still not sure what Maduka and I are going to do. Finding a consistently sane and stable landlord is, as it turns out, difficult to do.There are options out there. We'll see. In the meantime I have three movies I need to finish.

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

356 Broadway

November 3, 2015

So my landlord comes into my office with a smirk on her face and says "What? You don't have a response to the email we sent?"

Like what she wanted was some kind of response, some sort of emotion out of a notice requiring us to vacate the premises.

I said "Yeah, I had a response."

In fact, the entirety of my response had been in an email which I sent back to her within minutes of her sending the lease termination was as follows: "Wow. This is... sudden. I hadn't realized this was a problem. Perhaps someone should have said something before it became a "lease termination" issue."

But my big concern is getting our security deposit back. My thinking is thus: if they're willing to invoke the nuclear option of terminating the lease and surrendering the property by the end of the month, they're probably thinking they can just hold onto the security deposit for either good or bad reasons.

I'm so pissed off that I have to put pictures of squirrels here to get my calm.
I told her I was appalled at how she tried to get me to help her find someone to fill one of the other offices within five hours of sending me the lease termination. She muttered something about how she hadn't realized that Ben needed to send out that termination on that day.

She then tried to tell me that I should have known this was coming. I said that other than the conversation we had on Friday about sound, there had been no notice about anything. She was snide and patronizing "Well that's clearly the way you choose to remember it." So I (of course) said
Me: "When? When did it happen?"
Her: "Oh, many times."
Me: "Specifically, when?"
Her: "Well, I don't know, maybe Ben has something in his calendar."
Me: "The reason you cannot list a specific time is because it did not happen."
Her: "Well, that's just the way you choose to feel about it."

She tried to convince me that the notice was not the nuclear-level of hostility I was interpreting it as. She asked me "Have you read the letter?"
I said "Yes, I've read the letter." (Like seriously, do you think that of all my faults and foibles, reading comprehension is one of them?)
So she starts reading from the letter but choosing more innocuous parts in the middle and I say "No no no, read the top. What does the top of the letter say?
Her: "Well, it says 'Notice of Lease Termination', but that's just legalese, that's all..."
Me: "What does the bottom of the letter say?"
Her: "Well that's just legalese..."

What it says is this:
You are required to surrender the premises to the Landlord upon expiration. Please return the premises to the same condition as you found it upon moving in. You are required to return all keys when vacating the premises.

Jody Susler
356 Spaces, LLC

I told her she had to give me back my security deposit. She demurred that it would be given back after I vacate if it's all swept clean and there's no damage. Which is absurd because I probably have the cleanest office in the whole space and it certainly wasn't swept when I moved in

So I told her she had to pay me back my security deposit and I threw her out of my office.


Ian Hubert = Genius

Arielle Hope, Sarah Schoofs, Ashley Mundy. Uh. Twice.
Day for night is flipping hard. It's just obnoxious because lights don't work the same way. The sun, it turns out, is really really bright.
On the other hand, without really huge lights at night it's impossible to really get exposure.
So you need to do about ten million tricks just to get things to look like they're night. You have to make flashes of firearms light up around them, which is a fancy bit of compositing. Lens flare, sky replacement, they all come into play.
I'm really glad I didn't have to do it! ;-)
Ian Hubert. The man is a genius. Check out Karma Pirates.