Microphone Basics: Type, Frequency Response, and Polar Pattern

Hello everyone,

My name is Gary Furlong.  I am originally from Ireland but I am currently living in Japan in a city called Itoigawa.  I will be covering the topic of Microphone basics.  I will attempt to tell you all what I know through the medium of my blog (which has not been updated in about a year…oh dear).   I hope you find yourself educated and entertained.  I chose this topic as it is one in which I feel I lack a lot of understanding, so it is about time I learned.

This is me by the way, I’m being bitten by a good luck Dragon:

Om nom nom nom Gaijin head!!!

Om nom nom nom Gaijin head!!

So let’s get started.

I would like to do a broad overview on each topic mentioned in the title of this lesson.  They are as follows:

  • Type
  • Frequency response
  • Polar pattern

Music class Let's go

Type

In this section I will focus on the two main types of microphone: Condenser and Dynamic.  I will give a brief overview of each type and suggest some uses for each.  Let us assume that the Dynamic mic is cardioid and the condenser is an omni-directional microphone.  These are common types of each mic and we will go into more detail, explaining the terms cardiode and omni-directional in later sections.

Condenser Mics.

The first thing to note about condenser microphones (sometimes called capacitor microphones) is that they are very sensitive in both build and in how they pick up sound.  This makes them (generally) unsuitable for use on stage, especially for vocals.

The singer will need to hear themselves and will use onstage monitors to do so.  The high sensitivity of the mic means that not only will it pick up the singers voice as it comes from the singer’s mouth, it will also pick up what is coming from the monitor.  This will result in feedback.  See Fig 1

For recording drums or for overhead use in recording choirs in an acoustically treated room for example the extra sensitivity of the condenser mic proves very effective as it produces a very natural sounding recording.

Condenser mics have an on board premap that will need to be powered to function.  This is called Phantom power and it will usually come from whatever external mic pre-amp you are using but external power sources can also be used.  This is another reason why they are not suitable for live performances.

Fig1.

Music class condenser

Condenser mics are recommended for use in the studio.  They preform very well over a wide range of frequencies (which we will discuss in a later section).  In home recording (in a room that has not been treated for sound recording) as most condenser mics are omni-directional, they will pick up noise such as computer fans and hard drive operation noises, any minor movement the singer/player makes such as chair creaking etc.

Suggested uses: recording drums, piano and other instruments that can give out high end frequencies and studio vocals.

Dynamic Microphones.

Dynamic mics are more rugged than condenser mics.  They are also less sensitive.  For this reason they are perfect for stage vocals.  As we see in Fig 2. any extra noise on the stage is not picked up by the dynamic mic and so only the singer’s voice comes from the speaker.

Fig 2.

Music class Dynamic fuck

Dynamic mics do not require phantom power so they are pretty much plug in and play.  However, as mentioned before they are less sensitive and so will not pick up certain frequencies (roughly above 16kHz and below 100Hz ).       The robust build of the dynamic mic allows it to take much more abuse than the condenser.  This makes it the ideal stage mic as some performers are often wont to swing mics, pick up the mic stand and toss it around etc.

In my experience there are certain areas when dynamic mics are preferable to condenser mics for vocal recording.  I am a member of a charity organisation which performs a charity musical every year.  We have 8 weeks to complete rehearsals and begin performances.  To back up the singers I record vocals and add them to karaoke tracks.  Given that we have an extremely short time frame I often find I have to record in less than ideal situations.  Singing, acting, dancing rehearsal and vocal recording all take place at the same time.  I take whoever I am recording to the quietest area I can find and record vocals.  I have found the lower sensitivity of the dynamic mic to really be an advantage.  The singer’s close proximity to the mic makes their voice the dominant sound essentially drowning out any unwanted noise.

Suggested uses: Stage vocals, recording electric guitar from amp, vocal recording in less than ideal conditions.

This has been a very basic introduction to microphone type.  There are other factors to consider and I will discuss them in the next two sections.

Frequency Response

“Frequency response refers to the way a microphone responds to different frequencies.”

Frequency response is a very important factor to consider when purchasing a microphone.   Both condenser and dynamic mics have very different frequency responses.  For example if you wish to record just a vocal you will need a mic that will respond well to the frequency of the human voice and attenuate (reduce) other undesirable sounds.  I mentioned above that I chose a dynamic mic for recording vocals in bad conditions.  This was due to its frequency response (even if I didn’t know it at the time), it exaggerated the performance of the singer while attenuating most of the room noise.  In the past I only had a condenser mic which would take in almost every sound in the room.  This meant I had to very politely ask a large group of twenty something year olds to be quite or go away.

One thing I noticed when using both mics was the sound heard when putting on your headphones to begin recording.  With the dynamic mic there was no noticeable background noise however, with the condenser mic I realised just how noisy the room was.  I heard clocks ticking, the computer running, any slight movement of my chair, the room almost sounded crowded.

If you look to Fig 3 you will see a typical Frequency Responce chart.  This shows the frequencies at which the mic responds well and those frequencies that will be attenuated.

Fig 3.

This is the frequency response chart for the Shure SM27.  It is a large diaphragm condenser mic.  We can tell this mic is designed to take in as much sound as possible.  The X axis shows the frequencies at which this mic will function well.  We can see there is very little attenuation, the only really noticeable point is at around 19kHz where it drops slightly.  Otherwise this mic will perform well at all frequencies from 20 – 20kHz.

Polar Pattern

In Fig 1 and 2 above you will notice in the diagram there is a section marked “Zone of sensitivity”, this can be more accurately labeled as “Polar Pattern”.  Polar Pattern refers to what areas around the microphone are picked up well and what areas are rejected.

In this section I will give a brief overview of the three main types of polar patterns:

  • Omni
  • Figure of eight
  • Cardioid

Omni directional

The first pattern I will talk about is Omni-directional.  This means that the microphone will pick up sound from all directions.  These are often referred to as “pressure mics” as they only measure sound pressure in space (vocals, instruments etc) and not the direction from which it comes.  They provide a very natural sound.  Because of this the room in which you record is very important.  If the acoustics of the room are too sharp and reflective or if they dampen the sound the recording will show it.  Fig 4 shows an omni directional polar pattern.

Fig 4

Figure of eight

Figure of eight microphones record are sensitive to the areas in the front and back of the microphone.  These respond to pressure gradients in these areas and are sometimes called “Velocity mics” due to the way the mic detects the velocity of sound waves.  Fig 5 shows the polar pattern of a figure of eight microphone.

Fig 5

Cardioid

This is the final polar pattern I will talk about.  This pattern is mostly used in directional condenser and dynamic microphones.  It is a popular choice for use on stage as it rejects sound from the back of the mic and focuses mainly on the front where the singer will be screaming into it.  There are variations of the Cardioid pattern such as:

Hypercardioid: Detects a small amount from the back of the mic

Hypocardioid:  Detects a slightly more focused area in front of the mic

Fig 6 shows the cardioid polar pattern.

One interesting fact I discovered while researching this topic was that the two fundamental polar patterns from which all others are derived are Omni and Figure of eight which I discussed above.  The other patterns including cardioid are formed by combining and manipulating varying degrees of the omni and figure of eight patterns.  It is also important to note that polar patterns are 3D as shown by Fig 7.

Fig 6.

Fig 7

 

I hope this post has been enjoyable to read.  Any criticism is welcome, I know it is far from perfect but this experience alone has really helped with my understanding of Microphones (I just discovered the condenser mic I have owned for the past 3 years is cardioid) and I hope it has helped any other beginners out there with questions about microphones.  I look forward to talking to you all soon.

Gary.

Sources:

http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/Jul03/articles/firstmic.asp

http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/mar04/articles/computervocals.htm

http://www.mediacollege.com/audio/microphones/frequency-response.html

https://class.coursera.org/musicproduction-001/lecture/index

http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/mar07/articles/micpatterns.htm

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So much depends on…

Did you listen?  Were you inspired?  I know this poem has been around for ages and to comment on it now is, to put it lightly, “late to the game son!!”.  However, I just saw a facebook status posted by my friend that referenced the poem.  Curious, I wanted to see who the poet was.  I will be the the first to admit that I have a woeful knowledge and understanding of poetry but this poem just set my mind alight.  Sure the words are simple, but the concepts are mind blowing.  The wheelbarrow is obviously the writer. He feels the weight of his responsibilities in his life, so much so that he feels like a wheelbarrow, destined to carry loads for the owner, his owner being society.  He is glazed with rainwater, a sad state in which to leave anything (apart from ducks).  The writer here talks about how his face is drenched in tears, his rainwater.  The poem is nicely rounded off by telling the reader that he is beside the white chickens, here the writer is obviously referring to WHITE CHICKENS!! A nice way to end the bullshit sandwich that is this poem!!  Honestly I know nothing about this guy or his poems, or any poems at all but I have heard poetry, good poetry, and thought: this is a nice poem it makes me think and it evokes emotion.  This guy writes notes you would leave on your fridge and passes them off as poems.

“I have used the last of the washing up liquid, the dishes are clean, I have gone to the shop, I will get milk.”

This is my contribution to the poetry world!!!

Well that was an angry little rant there.  Since writing that a few months have passed.  As the 7 of you that read this blog will notice, I have not posted in quite a long time.  I haven’t really had anything to write about to be honest.  Well, that isn’t really true, nor is it true to say that I haven’t had the time to update this blog.  I have been a lazy boy and that is all!!  But I  am back for at least this post and hopefully there will be more to come.

I know this blog was meant to be following and recording my persuit of excellence.  I was supposed to be studying, working out, getting black belts in Judo, and I think there was another one. I have failed in the studying department I am afraid, I have shown no dedication or dicipline to bettering my Japanese language skills.  This will have to be amended.  I have, however, kept up the working out and have achieved the black belt in Judo.  Now I need to lose even more weight and train harder at the Judo.  Maybe then I will be able to say I have truly succeeded in these endeavors.  I shall continue to do my best!!!

Now onto the rest of my life.  I have taken up skiing again.  I even bought my own skis and am not too shabby.  So instead of falling every 4 seconds I might fall 2 or 3 times in a whole day (depending on the difficulty of the slope).  So I have gone from this:

I remember these days well!  The guy in the picture isn’t me but I have fallen like this.  So many times laid out like a frightened goat with skis on.

 

 

 

 

To this:——————————————>

Well not quite this but I am a lot better!!!

The ski season is almost over so I am going to try and get a few more ski weekends in before the sun comes and takes away all the cold.  This is both good and bad.  Its good because from now on going to the supermarket across the road won’t be an arctic expedition fraught with perils such as: being splashed by prick car drivers, slipping on the ice, hitting your hear and ending up laughing at your finger for the rest of your life or breaking your leg because in Itoigawa it is deemed prudent to take all the snow from the road and just pile it on the footpath cause fuck pedestrians!!

It is bad because when the snow is gone the sun comes out.  You would think that is a good thing and of course it is…but, well its like the sun is trying to make up for not being here for us for so long and proceeds to blast us with ALL ITS HEAT!!!

You may think this is an eggsageration but it bloody well isn’t.  The sun comes and tries either set us all on fire or melt us!  Walking to the supermarket across the road now becomes a trip to the beach without any of the watery, sandy fun at the end.  You have to take all the precautions you would when sunbathing for 4 hours just when you want to throw out your rubbish.  If the sun can burn you it shall.  last year Gary can confirm this!!

Oooooh yes.  That is a burnt face!! The were calling me “Lobster Gary” at work!!!  This year I shall neither be so plentiful of face nor will I get so burned!!

THE MAIN EVENT!!!

I call this section the main event because it is what inspired me to actually get off my ass and write something.  I know my intentions for this blog were noble but it just turned into me writing stuff that I thought was funny.  And today I give you something I thought was funny.  As usual it is something that happened to me and was a source of embarrassment.  It starts with a young man intent on cleaning his room.  I could see that there was a job that needed doing and the doing of it was my goal!!  I began in the kitchen, moving some stuff around, including the Man Mangler 5 Ballilion (if you dont know what that is then you need to read more of my phucking blog!!) and putting things in order.  I broke out the hoover (pronounced: “Vac-yume Clean-er”), replaced the hoover bag and began to clean like a boss!!  I think now is a good time to mention that myself and my friend Karlee were going to Judo on this night and Karlee came over earlier than expected.  I am now going to show you what happened under three different headings “How I wish it had happened”, “How it actually happened”, and “How it happened in my head”.

How I wish it had happened

Just doing my hoovering.

Enter the scarer!!!

My highly attuned senses kick in and I am fully aware that all is not well!!

From my lazy, seated hoovering position I am about to get the scare of a lifetime….or am I???

I spring!!

 

Threat Neutralised!!  She won’t be so quick to try and scare me again!!!

Well I can tell you all that it happened absolutely nothing like that.  Not in the slightest.  The next set will depict what happened as if viewed on your television set, from the point of view of an observer.

How it actually happened

The embarrassing truth!!

There you have it folks.  I was frightened.  Oh so very frightened.  She sneaked up behind me and scared the living shit out of me.  But I think I should show you why I was so scared and why I screamed so loudly!!  So I bring you the final version of the events:  as they happened in my head.

How it happened in my head

And now ladies and gentlemen you get to delve deep into my brain and see what was going on while Karlee was sneaking up on me.

Heeeeerrrp a derrrp derp derp.  BUuUUUUuUuuuuuu.

Skerp diddly uurrp derp derpde derp deeerrrrrp.

It was at this point that I actually did sense something behind me.  I began to turn and the first thing I saw was just long black hair attached to a something, a something that was in my house, behind me, screaming at me.  This is what I saw:

 

Aaaaand this was me:

So there you have it.  I was scared like I have never been before.  And had it been filmed it would have been worthy of youtube.  As it was not this is the best I can offer you all.  I hope you enjoyed it.

I am sorry I haven’t posted in so long but hopefully I will get some creative juice, drink it and then let it flow.  And if something funny happens to me I will be sure to post about it ASAP.  Until then have thyselves good times!!

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Alcohol was involved!!

Some of you may be thinking, based on the title, that this post will be a recount of some of the many faux pas committed by me while inebriated.  I am afraid it is not.  What use would it be though, most of you have seen the various incarnations of drunken Gary, sometimes he is happy, sometimes wildly inappropriate, and sometimes he throws his shoe at the wall because FUCK HIS SHOE!!!!

Look what you made me dooo!!! (not actually my shoe)

Today’s post has been brought to you by the visit I just made to my first Kindergarten (playschool) since the school year started back.  When I look at it now it was really not all that different from every other visit I have made to the school, but for one thing.  It is something that, by right, I should have experienced already but good luck seems to have kept me safe…and complacent.

I went to 山ノ井保育園 (yama-no-i-hoikuen).  I never look forward to going to these places as I always feel unprepared, I hope that my material will last the hour, if it does not then I will look foolish.  Once I am at the school, however, I always have a good time. Very young children are amongst the funniest you will meet, if they are happy to see you they will jump up and down, run around the room and beat the living shit out of you if the can.  They say whatever pops into their head which in my case translates as *touches belly “Pyong”.  I try not to take offense/cry.

So there I am, taking the usual abuse and trying to sound stern.  “Stop that please”, I said this to the child trying to Kancho me (don’t know what Kancho is?  Well just click here to find out).  He simply laughed and went about his business of trying to kancho my business.  I then said “やめろ!!(yamero = Stop it!!)” in a harsh voice.  This is the most severe order form I know in Japanese, after trying every polite way I knew I tried to sound angry.  The child then laughed and told another child what I said.  I know some of you may think it is cute, but it is unbelievably frustrating when a child is trying to hurt you and no matter what you say or do, it (yes “it”) will not stop.  I resorted to hard core ignoring that child.  But I digress!

Class had begun and we were about to play a game which required the children to get into a large circle.  In that school they have a song for everything including making large circles.  So they sang the “let’s make a circle” song.  While singing they hold hands so they can make a fairly even circle and everyone is accounted for.  I was playing the game too and so took the hands of the children who had come up to me.  Remember these are 3-5 years olds and so have tiny hands.  My giant Irish hand enveloped one child’s hand and covered all the way up his wrist, to his sleeve…his wet sleeve.  I felt the moist sleeve in the dry room and was instantly horrified.  “Why is his sleeve wet, this room is dry, they haven’t been outside, why is his sleeve wet!?”.  The truth was there but I just didn’t want to know it, didn’t want to allow myself to realise that the two main possibilities were that he had gnawed the sleeve into moisticity or….or he had done what every child has done since the invention of the sleeve…used it as a snot rag!!!  So that was unpleasant!

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Clumsy Judo fighting and Kazoo fun!!

A fine day to you all!!  I sit here scanning my brain for things to talk about while I put off doing my TEFL course for another day.  Why do I procrastinate?  I am not sure, I think I am wired to want to do stuff until I get the chance to do it, then I put it off.  I think my brain is defective.  This is why I need “Project Iron Bar” to go ahead.  It is basically where one or many of my friends are charged with the responsibility of smacking me rather hard with an Iron bar if I do not keep to my timetable…which I have yet to make.

So first it is “Project Timetable”.  I will get on that.  I will.  Later.  Oh dear.  One thing I have been doing in attempt to further my progress on the Road to Awesome is read more.  More Japanese that is.  I sometimes read some Harry Potter in the Japanese and I reads a little manga every now and then.  Not super study but by Zeus it is something.

In an attempt to re-awaken my musical creation side I have purchased a kazoo.  You read correctly, a kazoo.  I defy anyone not to have fun with a mutha fukkin Kazoo!!  I hope to make Kazoo-Rock the new thing.  It will make millions and then who will be laughing?! EVERYONE!! Why?  Because they will all have and enjoy Kazoos.  This is my vision.

Japan has yet again managed to confuse the arse off me.  As I write this it is Wednesday.  So you would think we will follow Wednesday’s schedule yes yes?  No!!  Today is Friday as far as the school schedule is concerned, for no obvious reason that I can see.  But sure what can you do.

TOPICAL NEWS. NOW!!

Good evening.  My name is Derek Terrence Filth and this, is Topical News Now!!

FACEBOOK SUCKS!!!

The word on all of our salty tongues is: FACEBOOK and the the thoughts in all of our briny brains are: IT SUCKS!!  Members of the site have been reported to be unhappy with the social networking site’s new changes as it has rendered the site

IMPOSSIBLE TO USE!!!

TNN tried to interview Mark Zuckerberg but we forgot where he lived and so were unable to get the inside scoop.  One thing we can be sure of is, all the people threatening to go to Google + because it is “easier to use” and it’s “layout is better” will have no friends very soon.  

“Hmm, this room has changed all the curtains, and the socks aren’t in the same drawer as before…oooh that white room over there has white curtains and a sock drawer which is clearly marked ‘socks’.  Fuck you all-my-friends, I’m off to the new room cause its simpler to be there than here.”   Dr. Geoffrey Bookface, analogy specialist MIT.

Aaaaaanyway.

The main point of this very wee post is that I finally have a video of me doing Judo that doesn’t make me look too much like a fish with fake arms taped on flailing around in a white suit.  I have watched it to death and can now only notice my mistakes, which are numerous.  However I do see that on some level I am improving and hopefully, when my piss-ant shoulder allows it, I will get in a few more practice fights and actually be able to hold my own in a proper match.  This is the dream.  Anyway, please enjoy and if you comment, be gentle.

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Swimming in July makes feet sore!!!

A good morrow to you all.  I was looking at my archives and I have posted at least once a month since I started this young blog.  And so, as July comes to a close I have decided I have to write something….Just what to write about.  Update:  Yea, missed out on July.  Woops. Update:  Missed out on August too.  Double woops.

Well the other day I decided to see if I could complete Metal Gear Solid in 3 hours.

Huh? What was THAT noise?

Needless to say I did not do this.  It took more like 6 and a half hours.  I hadn’t even reached the second disk and I was over the 3 hour mark.  I even skipped some of the FMVs and codec conversations but that didn’t seem to make a difference.  One thing I noticed that I didn’t seem to care about when I was younger was how fukkin cheesy the dialogue can get in that game.  And how much of Solid Snake’s dialogue is just him repeating what the other character has said and then asking them one of the following:

“What are you trying to say?”

WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUTTTT!!!????

“What do you mean?”

“huh?”

Breaking news!!!

Well the main bit of newsical information I have for you all is that I recently injured myself.  Let me recount the tail.  It was a sunny day at Ichiburi beach.  The birds were singing their pleasant song and I was throwing stones at them ’cause what are they so happy for!!  Our group came to a halt and sat, the water was inviting and so in we went.  I live in pretty rural Japan so the thought of someone stealing your unattended shit doesn’t really cross your mind.  Swim, Swim, swimmity swim.

Kody and I getting our swim on.

Kody and I stayed in the water to see if we could balance on some rocks and not get knocked off by the waves.  We had moderate success.  When we had finished on the first set of rocks we set off to a more challenging area.  Rocks were climbed and then it was time to go.  So like an Olympic swimmer preparing for the 100 meter backstroke I kicked off a rock and began my swim back.

My foot hit the rock and was greeted with pain.  I knew I had cut it and instantly got very annoyed.  I had been playing irresponsibly on ROCKS!!!! Dangerous rocks and yet it was when I was swimming in the water that I cut my stupid foot!!  I must now warn you that I am including a picture of said injured foot.  I don’t think it looks too bad but some of you may feel an unstoppable urge to seek me out for carnal activities when you see my hero wound.  Prepare yourselves:

Eeeeeeeeeeeuuuuuuuuwwwwwwwwwwww

Update:  My foot is now completely healed.

So that was last month.  It is now August and Japan is a warm lunch box in which we bees sweat to death.  Update:  Its actually September, just in case you read this and thought you had gone back in time.

The other notable activity in the past two months is my climbing of Mt Fuji.  Some background information.  Mt Fuji is 3776m (12389ft) tall Stratovolcano.  Its last eruption was in 1707-08.  It is the 35th largest mountain in the world.  The Japanese have a saying:  You’re a fool not to climb Mt Fuji but you’re a fool to climb it twice”  something like that anyway.

Well It all started when my friend Mary decided it would be fun to climb Mr Fuji.  So, short story kept to its original length: she invited me to come along and I said yes.  I had never climbed anything as big as Mr Fuji so I looked up what I should bring.  The advice was mixed so I brought anything I could fit in my bag, including a spare change of clothes (if you climb Fuji, it may not be the worst idea to do so, if you have room).  What I failed to bring was oxygen, remember this as it will come up in the test.

5th station, it begins!!

There we are.  Look at us there.  We are on the 5th station of Mt Fuji.  This is where most people start climbing.  Its a little colder up there so you have to wait for about 2 hours to let yourself get used to it.  Used to it we got, and soon we were ready to get our asses in gear and start up that farting mountain!!!

 

That mountain is not Fuji.  I was having a wee contemplation session.  Sizing the mountain up in my head…and insulting it!!  “You won’t be able to handle ME” I thought at it!

I may have been wrong.

6th station, not a bother!!

 

There we are now, at the 6th station and not even breaking a sweat! These words were actually said “If all the stations are this close to each other we’ll be up there in no time”.  That may have been me.

 

 

The other stations were not close to each other….Oh no they were not!!!  We got to station 7 and took a little rest, looking up we could see that the next station was pretty close and pretty close it was but it was not station 8, oh no.  It was station 7 part two!!  I am pretty sure there were four station 7s.

Anyway, after we reached station 8 the dreaded altitude sickness started to set in.  This annoyed me for two reasons: 1. I was making pretty good progress up the mountain, nearly running up the fucker so we were.  But I felt so sick I was slowed to about 15% of what I was doing, no homo, I mean no joke.  And 2.  I felt sick while on a sodding mounting!!  A big one.  Many of you that know me will know that I am generally a happy enough lad, a powerfully angry lad but mostly of moderately decent spirits.  When I am tired/sick on a mountain/losing, a different Gary is let loose.  In this case I was mopey, I was trudging up the mountain and sitting every now and then, breathing in deeply to avoid getting sick and taking the occasional sleep.  At one point I was nearing the top and had found a place that was actually shielded from the wind and relatively warm.  I sat my fat ass down and I slept for a good long time.  At one point I was thinking: “Jayzus, I’ve been here for a while…this is how people die I think.  I suppose I had better go then”.  So up I got and trudged on until…

Shit, I mean:

The TOP!!!!!!!!

I did not die.  It took 8 hours and I survived without oxygen.  So next year I am bringing a sack load of it and I am running up that mountain!!!!

Fun was had on the way down, at one point I had to fight off a cloud demon!!

This guy was trying to get all up in my grill so I stuck out my magic making hand and showed him what-for Gandalf style!!  He didn’t stand a chance against my magical sauce!!

 

 

We were trying to summon Zaraki Kenpachi from the spirit world.  Little did we know what would happen.

おもしれぇぇぇぇぇぇぇぇぇ。

 

 

 

We succeeded and he was waiting for us.  Luckily he wasn’t in a fighting mood so he let us leave unscathed.

 

 

 

Eventually we got to the bottom.   Kenpachi came with us to get in on the picture.  I know I look kind of miserable but I swear I had a good time!!! And will do it again.

No more Fuji!!!!

That’s it for Fuji news I’m afraid.  Fun was had and no one got sick.

In other news, the other day my school had their sports day!! A good day of cheering, dancing and sports!  I took part in two events.  One was a PTA (Parent Teacher Alliance…I’m sure it doesn’t stand for alliance but that sounds cool to me so that is what I am going with) event where I had to be carried by a very tiny student for as far as he could bear me, then I ran with him on my back to achieve 2nd place, see below!!

He was a very funny lad.  He was the captain of the white team.  When he saw that I was taking part he shouted: “I am carrying Gary!!!” to which I replied: “You sure about that?”.  “YEA!! NO PROBLEM!!! ” came his very happy reply.  “I’m strong Gary, don’t worry, I will try to carry you to this point”.  He went about 2 meters ahead and drew a line, then pointed to the start line and said “This, me!!” Then pointed from his line to the finish and said “Gary!!”.  Here is what happened.

I also took part in the Relay, I ran on the teachers team!!

Aaaaaaand he's off!!!

The hand off!!!

Here are some other pictures of the lovely sports day!!

In this game they play Rock, Paper, Scissors, the loser has to put the helmet on while the winner tries to smack them on the head with a hammer!!  Mucho fun to watch students belt teachers about the head with a squeaky hammer.

KIBA SEN!!!!

 

 

 

This game is called Kiba Sen!!  It means Horse mounted warriors kick the face off each other.  Not quite but that is the general gist.  Each team tries to grab the hats of the other team.  The team with the most hats at the end wins.

 

 

 

The teams have to roll the big ball to the end of the line.  If they lose control of the ball it will fly off to the side and they will have to start from that point again.

 

 

Get the tires, do not let the other team steal your tires.  The team with the most tires at the end is the winner.

These were just some of the events at this year’s Sports Festival or 体育祭 (tai iku sai).  Much fun was had.

Let’er rip!!! The second!!

Well, It has been a few months since last I posted on this blog but if you can remember, I had a post called “Let’er rip” before.  Well this is a very similar.  It all happened like this:

I was ready for them.  My shoulder has been sore for a long time but I’m always up for some dodge ball!!

The ball traveled thusly.  Due to some quick hands by one of our star players the ball came back into my team’s possession.  All of a sudden I had the ball!!

All I had to do now was choose my target!!!!

I used my percision aiming skillz!!

All that was left to do was execute my main program:  Throw ball at child!!!  This should always be done with a little theatricality!

Maybe a little more….

And then, the all too familiar sound, the feeling of wind rushing up twixt my nethers.  It had happened…again!!!!

There I stood, my pants ripped, my bottom cold and the most amazing thing happened: no one noticed.  No one had heard the sound, and the rip was smaller than the last time AND I was wearing black underwear so it was hard to see….if I kept my legs closed.  Oh, I forgot to mention that after dodge ball I had to go teach those children and it just so happened that today their parents were coming in to observe!!!!!  The led to me teaching the class like this:

I never turned my back to them, I walked like a crab!! I don’t think they noticed so hopefully I got away with it, this time.  I think from now on I shall have to start changing my pants for dodge ball.

And so there you have it kids, the last two months of my life.  I know I have forgotten a lot so if I remember I shall put it into the next post.  ALSO, as of this morning I am 101kg.  This is a new record!!  I’m sure that will increase a little, I seem to be leveling out at 104kg at the moment.  And as soon as my shoulder gets better Project Bicep Mash will be back on!!

Excelsior!!

Posted in General, Project Bicep Mash, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Let’er rip!!

I have but a small post to offer you all today.  It is a tale of deserved woe.  Karma is having her way with me and so I write about it here.  Today I have drawn pictures to represent the event in question.  I spent many minutes doing these in Microsoft paint so I hope you appreciate them!!

Allow me to set the scene for you.  Whenever I go to an elementary school I usually will play some sort of game with the children at lunch time.  This game is usually dodge ball.  I must say that I am rather good at this point (this may have something to do with me being 24 and my average opponent being 8, but I don’t think it does).  Well at one point my team left me to fend for myself against two of the other team, one of whom I had hit earlier and was on my side of the court but behind me, the other was in front of me on his side of the court.  Here is what happened.


An so there we were!! Ready to begin our battle.  The guy behind me had been after me since I got him out, it was going to be tough but I was ready!!!

 

Like some sort of human snake I dodge the first throw.  I can read these guys, I can fake them out if I choose, they’ll not get me so easily!!!

 

Hes been after me but he isn’t going to tag this guy with a throw like that.  With all the speed and grace of a cheetah ballerina, I dodge matrix style but what happens next will blow their minds!!

 

THE IN THE AIR SPLITS JUMP!!! They can’t believe what they are seeing, I am the dodge master, I am….

I knew almost as soon as I had jumped.  I heard the sound, felt my pants loosen and then as if to make sure I was certain of what had just happened a cold breeze made its way in.  The unthinkable had happened.

I had ripped my pants.

Needless to say the children fell around the place laughing.  I scooched off like a dog in need of a bowel movement.  To the bathroom I trotted to see how bad the damage was.  What you see above is a crude drawing but it is a true representation of how large that rip was.  My arse was there to be seen by all.  I was lucky enough to have brought a towel along with me (its so hot here you really need it).  And so I tucked it into my pants and let it hang over my arse, hiding the precious cargo.  Naturally all the students wanted me to show them the rip and some even went as far as to lift up my protector, I did not appreciate this.

I went on to teach two classes with that rip, covered only by a pink towel.  Twas an embarrassing time indeed.

Well anyway, I hope y’all enjoyed that.

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The most stressful post in the land!

Some news:  Yesterday I began writing this very post on Blogger.

Reader:  But Gary, why would you do that, don’t you realise that you can write blogs here too!?

Me:  Yes, dear reader, I do.  But the heat of this place, my work computer’s incompetence and the glitchyness of WordPress broke this camel’s back.

Reader: Do you really think it’s wise to be writing blogs at work, you could get….

Me:  Fuck up!  So over to blogger I went only to discover that I had an account already.  And so I began.  I am sure you have noticed, however, that this is not blogger.  As a result of what can only be described as monumental glitchyness I am back to the devil I know and am pressing on. WordPressing on!  I just wish I could use the template I had on blogger.  Twas lovely.  I do hope y’all enjoy the following post.  It caused me stress.   🙂

And a good day to you all!!  I am sitting at my computer trawling through my brain cupboard looking for some interesting plates and cups to share with you all.  So while I do that have a look at some fine examples of Engrish I found in a local clothes shop.

I was contemplating purchasing this but unfortunately I just don’t appreciate esoteric learning, I would be living a lie.

 

 

 

 


The young man to your right is a bag. This bag is good for daily use and sensitivity items. As with the above example I could not justify its purchase. I prefer big profits and don’t mind slower returns.


In other news!

The weekend found me in a place called Kashiwazaki for a beach party.  I saw this guy

He may look small in this picture but he was a big auld lad so he was.  His owner had brought him out for a walk and probably to find himself a ladyfriend.  Why else would you even have such an impressive/cute turtle.

Anyway that’s all I have to say on that matter.

More interesting things!!!

Oh dear.

<—-Look at that!!  There is a story behind this blackened pan.  It is a thrilling tale, one of bravery, quick thinking, handsomeness and above all else, it is a story about PIE!!!

To begin, let me take you back about 3 weeks.  A young man named Gary had a desire to use his oven for more than just toast and the odd roasted meats (wrapped lovingly in tin foil to lock those juices in).  However the young man lacked the resources to further this desire, he needed something, he needed a baking dish!!  So the young man set off to his local home and garden center in search for the dish.  He searched for many minutes but to no avail, he checked every isle and although the place sells ovens they do not sell anything even close to a baking dish!!!!!  So lets just say I was pretty pissed off (yes that young man called Gary is actually this young man called Gary) but not as pissed off (and confused) as when they told me I would have to order a rolling pin….A ROLLING PIN!!!  I ended up getting a baking dish online and using my water flask as a rolling pin.

So I was ready to undertake my journey, I had the tools, I had the ingredients and I had the moxy to make a PAIEEE!!!!  I decided it was to be a pork and vegetable PY, so I started by making the filling.  I realised very quickly that I didn’t have enough pork so I threw some chicken in there so it became a Chicken and Pork AND vegetable 3.14159265!!!!!

“I shall cook it in a pot” I thought to myself, “Yes that will be just dandy”. So I put some oil in and turned the gas stove on full to heat that bad boy up. I was too successful in this endeavor, seconds after I turned the gas on the pot erupted in flames (but only little flames). “Sweet mother of shit” I thought to myself.  I quickly turned the gas off and moved the flaming pot to the other hob, it was at this point that all of the oil in the pan decided to catch fire. The flames doubled in size, there was maybe a foot and a half of flame coming out of the pan, not much fire but plenty of potential. I spent about 5 seconds (5 long seconds) thinking “wow, that is not good, I pity the guy who has to deal with that”, I then realised that guy was this guy and had a little panic. I knew throwing water on it would make it worse and it was now too bad to move it anywhere and then it came to me. In my head I sat down at my school desk, opened up my third year science book and casually turned to the chapter on the fire triangle.

Burn, baby burn, disco triangle!!

“Ok so the fire needs heat, fuel and oxygen to exist so which one should I take away?? Well the fuel is currently on fire so I had best leave that alone. The heat could be taken away with water but oil and water are not good friends when it comes to fire so the logical conclusion is that I should take away the oxygen. Well then, I shall just go ahead and do that.”

The above flashed through my head in about a second and came out of my mouth in the following form: “Shit, shit ok Ineedafuckingtowel!!!”. I bounded across the room with as much gazelle-like prowess as a man of my size can muster, got the biggest towel I saw, wet it (if the towel caught fire too I would be in very hot soup altogether) and flung it on top of the pot. There was many, many smoke and then I put pan out of door and turn on fan all!!

I felt a little like Indiana Jones and McGyver all at once.

So, I had the meat and a new pot, I gathered some vegetables together, the usual suspects: carrots, onions, mushrooms and peas.  And I cooked the lot of them in this——–>

No, not Marco Pierre White’s smugness but the Knorr Stock Pot his smugness endorses.  My Mother dearest sent them to me and I am a happy man for it.  They really are the best thing to happen to cooking…well he says it best.

While the filling was simmering away  becoming delicious I decided to make the pastry.  Making pastry is a nightmare!  It isn’t difficult but by god it is a messy deal  I actually thought I was being clever at one point. In an attempt to keep my hands dry I grabbed a handful of flour with which to cover my hands as I kneaded (check that word out) the butter/flour . It did not work.  Within seconds my hands looked as if I had sifted through vomit only to find that within that vomit there was naught to be found but vomit.

Let the games begin!!!

What you see before you is the mess I created while preparing my ∏.  I have seldom had an excuse to create such a mess so fun times were had by me.  Flour is great stuff, it gets EVERYWHERE.  By the end of the cooking experience I was hoovering my house, the neighbour’s houses and the cat down the street.

I took me some pictures too.  And so I bring you on a journey from ingredients to golden pye.

For the lovely filling I may have used a bit too much flour.  I did not hold back, I put about a cup and a half in there.  I cant remember what that is in grams but it was about 200ml on my measuring cup.  So the filling is nice and thick…I should have added cream.  Next time there shall be cream, unless there should not be cream??

 

 

There it is, the filling in its little pastry house.  Safe and warm, soon to be much warmer and not so safe!!  Rolling the pastry was tricky.  I had rolled it out and had managed to get it into the dish without it breaking apart and then realised I did not have enough to make the top.  So, once more I ventured into the land of sticky hands and made more pastry and just barely squeezed out a top for my pastry satchel.

 

Almost ready!!  The pastry lid is applied and perforated by many fork holes.  I hope there is a good reason for doing this, I have just seen people do it when baking stuff so I thought I would do it too.  It also looks nice I think.  I was going to brush it with just egg yolk but when I tried to separate the first egg the shell just smashed in my hand spilling all of the egg into the bowel so I whisked in another egg and that was that. I made a small omelet from the leftover egg.

 

And there you have it, cooked and the colour of a healthy lion cub.  The corner of the crust is broken because I had to check the side crust to make sure it was not still all doughy.  It was not.  And so my journey was almost at an end, there was but one more step:  The potatoes….I boiled some potatoes.  But I fought and slayed an ogre while doing so! Exciting eh?  It may have been an ogre from Dragon Age:Origins but that in no way takes away from the fact that I slayed an ogre while boiling potatoes!!

I’m not really sure how appetising that looks but it does taste nice.  And since it was my first ever attempt at making a proper PIE I am proud of myself!  Mmmm mmmm Pie!

HOMEWORK!!!!

I am afraid I have a small favour to ask of those who can help.  As most of you know, I like music but I have a problem.  I cannot tell the time signature of a song.  I try, I really do, and I know the basic method for doing so but yesterday I was watching a video in which Bill Bailey was complaining about the theme song for The Bill.  In the video he goes on to say that original theme goes from 4/4 and then into 7/4.  He said the initial “DADA DADA DA” is in 4/4 and then the “De ne ne ne neee ne ne ne nenene ne na na na na na nanana” is in 7/4.  And so I was sitting at my desk clapping the beats out, concentrating, I imagine I looked like a seal with a learning disability.  And I could count the seven beats and was very happy with myself.  He then went on to say that the new theme is all in 4/4.  This is where I hit a snag, I listened to every Bill theme song online and still counted seven beats and I do not know what I am doing wrong!!  So here is the original theme (you can check if I got dene denes right):

Well I didn’t get the first dada dadas right but there are seven beats there!!  Here is the new version (well the version Mr Bailey was talking about):

Ok, I count 7 beats for the first de ne ne ne and then it seems to be 4/4 for the rest of it but I am just not sure!!!!  Well if anyone has any idea please feel free to comment/call me an idiot for not knowing time signatures.  Well, this may be one of my longer/more boring posts but what can you do but look at the lovely puppy:

OHMYGAWDTHERESARABBITTHERETOO!!!

It has been a while, I hope you all enjoy this entry, I write this because I want to show my gratitude to all 7 of my readers and as of now, I have over 2000 words. YUSS  Ok go away now!! Don’t you have work to do!? Jeez!!

Posted in General, Music!! | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments