Noise levels

The noise level here in Canada is nothing compared to what we had to endure in Brazil : the constant barking from the neighbors dogs every time someone walks by in front of their house, the noisy motorcycles, the vendors announcing loudly what they’re selling by yelling or playing their jingles on loudspeakers from their bike, car trunk, or pickup truck (eggs, cheese, bread, sweets, or gas canisters — they all came around at least once a week if not everyday) and, of course, the neighbors who honk the horn when they leave (to say bye?) and when they arrive home (to have someone open the gate for them). Those were the daily, constant, background noises. There were also the occasional days when a neighbor decided to a party and every one else, many streets over, had to enjoy whichever loud music was being blasted through (again) loudspeakers, for as long as the party was going. Brazilians are just loud people. All the time. I don’t think I ever got used to it.

During our last year in Brazil, we were living in a dead end street in a relatively quiet neighborhood. But even so, in contrast, when we arrived in Canada, here in the house were we currently live, which is not in a dead end street, it was shockingly quiet.

And yet, when I started recording, I became aware of the many noises that I would unconsciously tune out: the train that blows his many whistles at the railway crossing some streets away on one side, the ships that blow their whistles too when they pass by the river (as they pass under the bridge, I think) on the other side, the neighbor that mows his lawn during summer, the occasional airplane, etc. The house makes many sounds inside too: the fridge, the water pipes, the heating system, even my laptop fan makes a small humming sound!

So I had to find the quietest room in the house, which was surprisingly not upstairs where the bedrooms are, because I could hear too much noise from the streets (cars passing by), even with closed windows, but downstairs in the basement… Yes, the dungeon of the house. Small windows, very little light : not necessarily the most agreeable room, but indeed the quietest.

Besides, as I would learn soon enough, producing an audio book is : 10% of the time recording and 90% of the time editing. I absolutely need to have the best recording booth possible (which should ideally stay in the same condition during the duration of the whole project), but once I have the raw recording, I can bring my laptop/headphones/mouse upstairs with me and do the editing wherever I want in the house.

I don’t know why I can wax lyrical so much about something so… ugly? ordinary? boring? Maybe because to me, even if I had to set it up in the basement where it’s cold during winter and humid in the summer, my recording studio is functional, extra-ordinary, and far from boring (the job I get done with it is not boring to me anyway).

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The desk with the bright light (it’s my light therapy lamp — I had to lessen the intensity for the picture) and the microphone is where I record. The surrounding soundproofing is done with moving blankets. The structure holding them are 3 clothes racks (1 at the back  that I found for $5 on Kijiji, and 2 better ones on each side that I bought at Ikea), topped with a piece of plywood that was lying around the house and some cardboard (to prevent sagging), all topped with another layer of blanket. D was thinking of building me a real solid wooden frame, but it would have been heavier and harder to take apart when we need to move again.

I covered the table top with a small blanket too and I put a carpet on the floor to absorb as many little noises as possible.

The white desk is where I usually put my laptop, a bit further away from the microphone to avoid picking up the hum of the fan (very small noise, but the less sounds I need to edit, the better).

Anúncios

Bullet Point Week

  • The aquatic “river walking” class started out very easy: walk 3 loops with the current. The instructor informed me that I would be the youngest in the group, but reassured me that he would adapt the class to my needs. I looked around me in the water and saw that there were indeed older ladies ahead of me. The class description in the booklet said “medium to high intensity”, oh really!? It does not look that way to me. What did I get myself into?
  • When I was done with the warm up, the instructor told me to walk 3 loops against the current… Ah. Ok. Now we are talking!
  • One hour of this (and variations) was painful, but oh so fun. (One more reason I love the water: I don’t want to know how much I sweat!)
  • The boys were supposed to start their new swimming session today, but the first lesson was canceled “because of technical difficulties”. Whatever that means.
  • The twins were invited to a playdate at their friends house this afternoon (twins too), but the mom called me this morning to cancel because one of the boys woke up with fever. Better telling us now, than having the whole family sick for a week. Thank you, fellow twin mama.
  • There are 3 sets of twins in the twins’ classroom. Two girls, and two sets of two boys.
  • I took advantage of some down time between two projects to rearrange my recording studio this week. I’m loving it so far. (It’s the kind of thing that I can’t be doing during a project because so many little things change the quality of recording).
  • My computer mouse died two days ago. It was a small and simple, wired black thing, but I liked it. It wouldn’t click anymore.  D says in his many years of repairing computers he’s never seen that before. So I ordered a new one (white, rechargeable, wireless). I am using a big black hamster until the cyborg arrives.
  • We’ve had a little bit of snow this week, but so far this winter has been more gray than white. Not fun.

Spanish Short Stories

Hellooo, I’m baaack!

It has been a whirlwind around here:

We’ve been sick in the house (again). This time around it was Natanael, and then hubby, the two who had escaped the flu two weeks ago… As usual, the kid was back on his feet in a couple of days, the adult was coughing his lungs out for a couple of WEEKS. I am re-learning to be more Canadian and I try very hard not to hug or kiss my kids when they are sick (it’s very hard, but I had to tell them it’s for our own good). In Brazil the concept of germs is very theoretical, and people hug everyone right and left, sick or not… Over here most people are less touchy, and will actually THANK YOU if you explain that you don’t want to shake hands because there is the flu in your house! (As a contrast, Brazilian people get very offended if you don’t want to hug them for whatever reason!)

And now, during Advent season, I’ve been hunting the thrift stores to find white shirts and black pants for the boys’ Christmas concert at school (plus 3 Christmas hats from the dollar store) and a winter coat for myself. One of the great advantages of living in a First World country among the over-consumerism of others is that I find a lot of very cheap clothes that are in very good shape or sometimes new! (with the tags on and everything). I can’t tell my mom that I buy clothes at the thrift store though, she is horrified, but for me it’s 1. budget friendly 2. earth friendly (hey, it’s recycling!) 3. totally worth it because the kids just destroy their clothes anyway, might as well let them roll in the mud in their 99 cents pants if they want to. I don’t want to care about it.

I’ve been busy with work. My current project is French Dialogues, from the same editor/author of the French Short Stories. I like to work for that person because he wants me to be the last beta reader, and let him know about the typos/errors if I find them. The two other authors/editors that I worked with did not ask me to do that, but I did it anyway.  I always find some errors when I read, specially now as a narrator, because I actually have to read over the same passages many times (when I record AND when I edit). In answer, what I like to hear from the author/editor after I signal a mistake or send the whole list at the end of the project is, “That’s great!” or “Good catch!”. Because it means that he will correct whatever needs to be corrected, and the final product will be of greater quality. I like a job well done. How disappointed was I when I received emails such as “Well, thanks but whatever, we can’t make any changes now, no work is ever perfect…” (I am not looking for perfection, but better is a start, no? How frustrating…)

Also, *drumroll* my Spanish Short Stories book is out! Yay! No reviews yet, so if you reside in the US or UK, and want a free Audible.com download code for the audio book, just let me know… I would love to send one to you in exchange for a (hopefully) good review! 😉