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Apr 29, 2022

There’s a snarky saying about how women change their minds. It goes something like, A woman’s mind is cleaner than a man’s because she changes it more often.

In my experience, women won’t mind you saying that when you’re with a group of people and everyone is smiling, laughing, and generally having a by-golly swell time. Experience has also taught me that there is a time and a place for everything. Saying that when it’s only you and your wife in the car after you’ve been arguing about where to eat because at first she wanted a burrito, but now she’s decided she’s in the mood for baked ravioli, and she’s already giving you the stank eye because you said something like, “Make up your mind”, … you probably ought to think about not whipping that nugget out of your grabbag. She ain’t in the mood for your shenanigans.

I don’t really think it’s that fair of a quip anyway, because I am A Man, By Thunder, and men can be just as wishy-washy. From Atomic Red Studios, which is being moved again because I keep changing my mind about where to put it, I’m Michael Blackston, and I’m about to highlight some decision making issues from my Funny Messy Life.



Ladies, don’t let your man get away with it. I’m on your beautiful indecisive sides all the way. He’s likely to one day say something about how you can never make up your mind, and if I’m right, you’ll immediately be able to bring up some of the things he’s guilty of in that same arena. For me and a lot of other guys I know, it’ll show up in the category of our toys. We’ll tidy it up and call it collecting, or upgrading, but in reality, it often comes down to indecision.

I know musicians - especially guitarists (Good LORD, guitarists are bad about it) - who are never satisfied with the last instrument they bought. They saw it in the guitar store, played the most impressive riff in their personal catalog, while pretending not to care who’s listening, loved how it felt, and just had to have it. Then when they get it home, they decide it doesn’t play right. The action isn’t as good now as it was in the store when they were hammering out Eddie Van Halen’s Eruption as everyone else around them secretly rolled their eyes. There’s a funky twang in the pickups they suddenly don’t like. And Is it me, or does that sunburst look different in this light? They have changed their minds.

Case in point, Atomic Red Studios, and my setup for recording these podcast episodes and other audio. I’m not going to try and remember exactly how many different versions of my studio there have been, or in how many different places I’ve tried to put it. It doesn’t matter, because here’s the problem: I keep going to great lengths to make a new, better version, then changing my mind about it. This last place seemed to be perfect. I was allowed to convert a small room at my church, free of charge, into the perfect studio space. My house is small, and there’s just no room for a sound studio, so I went to great lengths to set one up at the church. The plan was to record Funny Messy Life, as well as audio books, and do voiceover work. Okay, I counted, and if I’m not leaving anything out, there have been approximately 562 versions of my studio, none of which gave me the great audio I was looking for. The problem with the church site is, any time I want to record, I have to get stuff together and go there. A home studio is more convenient for me because none of the stuff I do so far earns me one red cent..

I have, at last count, ten different microphones. I started with one - a SURE SM58. Old Reliable. The trustworthiest of trustworthy microphones. It’s so durable you can glue a hook to it and use it as a fishing lure, and it’ll still work when you plug it in. It’s been a standard in the professional vocal world since the beginning of time. The SURE SM58 is the microphone God used when He said, “Let there be light.” But I heard about another microphone that would be better for my podcast. It would give me the rawest, most natural sound for my voice, and I could always do adjustments in editing. The guy at Sweetwater swore by it, so I bought it. The new mic cost me $250, and I loved the way it sounded. At least I did for a minute. When I decided my voice sounded richer with the SM58, I said to my wife, “Wife, I hereby change my mind! I shall returneth to my SM58. And henceforth, I shall call it my favorite. So sayeth me.”

She didn’t believe me, of course. She’d been down that road before, and she was right. It wasn’t long before I realized I needed something of good quality that I could take on the road and use to record podcasts in my hotel rooms. It needed to connect directly to my laptop via USB port, and before I knew it, Dave Jackson of The School of Podcasting fame was recommending a dandy little microphone by Audio-Technica.

“I must have it!” I decreed. 

Luckily my wife was nowhere in sight, and I was near Birmingham, Alabama. There’s a music store there that had it in stock. 

“I shall journey forth to the store, and there avail myself of the equipment I require. Then, and only then, shall I find contentment.”

I bought it, and I loved it. I still do. But I also continue to find myself drawn to my SM58.

Then I heard through my research on successful voice overing, that the RODE NT1 was a fantastic microphone for serious voice actors getting started. Michael was moved within his spirit to act, and thus, he sent a message to the owner of the ad.

“Is this microphone still available?”

The owner replied, “Yes. Yes it is.”

”I must have it!” Michael bade and light shone upon his face. The angels rejoiced, and glory shone upon the face of the earth.

In reality, God was probably shaking His head. “He never learns.”

I bought it and used it quite a lot, but …. I’ve recently gone back to using the SM58 mostly. 

I feel like this is boring. It probably is, but it serves to show just a hint of my own indecision. Like I said, there are ten microphones altogether, as well as other equipment, each supposedly better than the next.

I mentioned the restaurant thing earlier, but I’m worse than my wife about it. I have days when I wasn’t something, I’m starving, but for the life of me, I can’t figure out what it is I really want. It’s not that there’s an epic battle going on in my mind between pancakes and pita bread. I don’t want any of it. Nothing! I’m about to die to eat something, but I don’t want anything. It doesn’t make sense. It’s like a culinary glitch in The Matrix. It happens to me all the time, and I’m helpless to do anything, but flop around on the ground like a tantruming child, flailing my arms and legs hither and yon, and whining about life worse than an overly woke socialist.

By the way, if that last statement offended you, we likely aren’t a good match.

So where was I? Ah yes, arms thrashing, and legs akimbo.

“I wanna eat, but I don’t want nuthin’, but I’m hungry, but nuthin’s good, but I wanna eat!”

It should not surprise you that in these moments, my wife has perfected the art of the side-eye. She’s never gone as far as to say, Idiot, out loud, but it’s there on her face. She doesn’t appreciate the highly evolved man-cision system I have in place, and how because I have such a developed and complicated process to navigate regarding the intricacies between one thing and another, there is sometimes a disruption that causes a failure of calculation, resulting in said flailing arms and legs akimbo.

When she reads this, she’s going to give me the side-eye. I know it.

I still don’t know whether or not to use this piece for the podcast/blog/swim in Lake Me at all. I’m having a hard time making that decision. It’s difficult finding the time to record these episodes lately anyway, but I guess I could get some pvc pipes and blankets and carry a sort of portable studio with me on trips. Seems like a lot of trouble, though. I’m not sure. I could cut the pipes in half and connect them with joiners. That way I could throw the whole thing in a duffle. But what kind of duffle should I get? Plain? Black? Georgia Bulldog red? Something with a logo? Maybe I could make an Atomic Red Studios logo and print it on a plain, Georgia Bulldog red duffel. That would be neat. The Atomic Red Studios duffel could actually carry the Atomic Red Studios. Is that over thinking it? I don’t know.

I can’t decide.