Thursday, June 26, 2008


I don't have bad weeks very often, but every year or so, I go through a 5-7 day stretch where every single thing I do goes wrong.

Starting last Sunday, I'm having my "special" week for 2008.

I'll spare you the giddy, nightmarish details--well, most of them. After four consecutive days of disaster after disaster (including our fence being apparently rebuilt by The Three Stooges, only without the humor), I got to Thursday. Today. And I felt certain that I was going to break out of the cycle.

In particular, I was looking forward to playing some Rock Band.

I've been struggling in my drum lessons for the last two weeks, because trying to produce a consistent double beat on the kick pedal has been killing me. Even using the Omega Pedal for Rock Band (which uses an actual Pearl P-120 kick pedal) hasn't helped, because while the beater does hit the pedal clamp, it's just not the same in terms of feedback.

So I got the bright idea of buying a practice pad--that way, the beater would be actually hitting a drum-like surface. That would help me learn how to control the kick pedal more precisely.

When I sat down to put everything together today, I realized that I needed to adjust the beater position on the Omega Pedal. Because the beater was hitting the clamp (which was attached to the crossbars on the Rock Band drum stand), I needed to rotate the beater up so that it would contact the pad properly.

There was a really simple way to do this, but of course the simple way never crossed my mind, so I did it the difficult way, which involved using a tiny allen key and loosening two tiny something or others. As I was loosening the second one, I had this moment of insight where I realized EXACTLY what I needed to do in order to adjust the beater properly.

At this precise moment, the little tiny something popped out of its hole, bounced on my desk, and hit the floor, destination unkown.

This piece by the way, was roughly 1/16" of an inch, both in length and width.

How did I react, particularly after the week I've already had? Put it this way: if I had been dropping f-bombs for charity, I would have collected enough money to end world hunger.

Eli and Gloria were gone, obviously, which was a very good thing.

This little piece was essential--the pedal assembly couldn't be put back together without it--and it wasn't the kind of thing that Home Depot stocks.

In other words, I had to find it.

So the hunt was on. After trying to poke around the floor clutter for at least half an hour, I decided that the only way I had any hope of finding was to take everything out of my study that was on the floor.

Aegean stable cleaning, anyone?

After just over an hour, I saw it--almost four feet away from my desk. I put the pedal back together (incredibly, I did it correctly), hooked everything up, turned on Rock Band, went into practice mode and cued up the organ intro of "Won't Get Fooled Again" (no drum notes, so I could test it as much as I wanted).

And, I'm proud to say, proceeded to get double hits every single time.

I fixed that, thanks to John Harwood's extremely clear instructions, but compared to me this week, Alfred E. Neuman looks like Albert Einstein.

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