House of Rockets - My First Gig!

Greetings from the sandbox!  This post is about my first "House of Rockets" night in which I played/mixed house music in a small venue here in Basrah.  Even though I was the only one that danced - or showed up for that matter - I had a good time and learned a few things.

My ho-made flyer

I arrived at the room (I can't call it anything more than that b/c it's so small) around 7pm for my set that was supposed to start at 8pm.  I plugged everything in and booted up my little netbook and was off.  After about 15 minutes of warming up and goofing around with effects (wanted to get this out of my system before "everyone" started showing up) I tried shutting down background applications/processes to free up my processor.  I'm running a 1.6 Ghz Atom processor, so I need every bit of juice to mix two tracks in VDJ7Pro.  In my fervor to free up my processor, I shut down the main audio application on my computer.  The sound went out and I was left with slightly ringing ears in a small, quiet room.  Felt capital D, dumb.

So, one shutdown and reboot later, I was being a little more careful about which processes I was ending.  I still haven't figured out exactly which ones to stop so as to still be able to run VDJ well, but hey, I'm running a Mini, what can I expect?

On the "decks"

After I got everything back up and running, I was feeling good and on the lookout for my first "punters."  (It's just fun to say/write that word)  I was feeling good about my mixing.  I still need lots of practice with blending well.  Turning the EQ knobs with a small mouse pad is really tedious and not condusive to my dancing while mixing, so I'm looking forward to (a) a new computer and (b) a midi-controller.  What usually happens is rapid and sometimes abrupt EQ kills and crossfader jumps.  But I was having a good time.

I continued to mix for the next couple of hours.  Over those couple of hours I noticed a few things:

(1)  Some songs really do go together well.  Some REALLY do not.
(2)  Little electrical glitches WILL happen.  Best to just roll with it and hope your system doesn't totally crap the bed.
(3)  Knowing a song inside and out is paramount to any skill in beatmatching, EQ switching, sampling, or effects cueing.  Both Phil Morse from Digital DJ Tips and Murray Lunn from BeginnerDJ both told me this before my gig.  They were certainly correct.  I feel like this is the area I need the most improvement.

As for the "punters," they never really showed up.  A few people stopped in to see what the noise was all about, and proceeded to leave quickly.  For some reason, I don't think Monday nights are that conducive to people dancing to House for a couple of hours.  Hmm...

I'm looking a bit ghostly in this shot.  Not intentional at all!

I was only phased for a short while.  Most of the time, I was really liking the music coming out of those massive speakers, so I got out from behind my computer and just danced.  Doing that took me back to the Hong-Dae disctrict in S. Korea when I was a younger man dancing for 8-12 hrs in a night fueled only by a vodka&juice cocktail and some rockin' DJs.  Club MWG, you will forever be in my heart.

All in all, I feel like I had a good time and am looking forward to doing it again tonight.  I've listened to my set list many times over now and feel at least a little more confident in picking a song that will mix well next on the "decks."  Special Thanks go to my wife for supporting my dream from 8k miles away, Phil Morse for his wisdom and kindness, Murray Lunn for his tips and enthusiasm, Will Stoffer for providing me with the opportunity/time/space to do something I really enjoy doing, all of the various artists who made it into my mix, and Amelia for being so stinking cute.

I've embedded a short snippet from that first gig for you to enjoy and comment on.

Cheers until next time.


House of Rockets - 17 January 2011 by DJRedsamick


My ladies are sick...

Yep, my little munchkin is teething, congested, on the tail end of a growth spurt, and is super snotty.  My wife is now coming down with something which is making the equation even more complex.  I feel bad because I can't really do anything for them except show them a sad face and encourage Em that she's a great mommy - which she is.

Can't wait to get home.


What I Carried

Back in college, I read a book by Tim O'Brien titled, The Things They Carried.  The book is about a lot of things, but it's title could also read 'The Things the Soldiers in Vietnam Carried."  Here is a link to an online (free) version of the book.  I haven't read through this version, so I can't vouch for its completeness.  I recommend buying the book. 

It's a great book and a quick read.  If you like reading war stories, you'll like this book.  If you don't know anything or have any interest in Vietnam or war in general, I think you'd still like it.

So why bring this book up?  Well, I was emptying my pockets after work here in Iraq one day and O'Brien's book came to mind.  Since I find myself in a warzone, I decided to pay a small tribute to O'Brien and his book by listing what I have carried during my tour.*  Below I have listed all the items that I carry day to day.  Below that list is a shorter list of additional things I carry if I go outside the wire.

What I carry (inside the wire):
  •  tourniquet
  • Gerber multi-tool
  • 9mm Beretta
  • 15 rounds of 9mm ammunition
  • 1 magazine holding 9mm rounds
  • Beretta holster w/leash
  • I.D. (dog) tags
  • QuikClot combat gauze
  • Common Access Card (CAC)
  • security badge
  • black Sharpie marker
  • yellow highlighter
  • 2 pencils (mechanical, 0.7mm)
  • 1 black skilcraft pen
  • wallet w/debit card, driver's license, cash, and EagleCash card
  • 4 Gigabyte SD card
  • chapstick
  • pocket knife
  • eye protection soft case
  • uv protective or clear lens eye protection 
  • ECP badge with clear case
  • 3x5in notecard used for in and out briefs for my Soldiers
  • leather gloves
  • reflective belt
  • 8x5.5" record book

What I carry (outside the wire):
  • all the things on the above list
  • Advanced Combat Helmet (ACH)
  • rhino mount for night vision goggles
  • Improved Outer Tactical Vest (IOTV) (i.e. body armor)
    • this includes front/back/side armor plates
  • hard plastic holster for my Beretta
  • Camelbak water reservoir
  • M4 carbine
  • 210 rounds of 5.56 ball ammunition (spread over 7 magazines)
  • 45 rounds of 9mm rounds (spread over 3 magazines)
  • Improved First-Aid Kit (IFAK)
  • seatbelt cutter
  • Petzl Taktikka+ headlamp
  • lighter
  • hard candy, gum, or both

Well, that's what I carry.  As I was writing it down I realized the list was a lot longer than I thought it was going to be.  I guess I have just gotten used to carrying it so I don't really pay attention to how much there really is.

What do you carry?  Whether you are in the military or not, I'd be interested to see what kinds of things people carry on a daily basis.


*  I wonder why they call it a "tour" of duty...  There are no guides.  There are no bright red umbrellas to serve as our beacon in case one of us gets lost in the crowd.  Do you have any idea why they call it a "tour?"



Welcome to the new blog! You will find all of my old blog posts + comments from "I Hug" here in full flavor. I moved here in order to link my blog into my Google account to help everyone with commenting and also to create a more comprehensive dashboard while signed into Google. Signing into and out of Google to check mail and blog was getting annoying. Now I can do it all from one hub.

Look for a few posts coming within the next few days. One will be about Army stuff and another will be about music stuff. I may also tell you about my daughter's new "toothy" achievements.