Friday, April 24, 2020

Idle Hands During Lockdown

 When you have a lot of time on your hands, it's amazing how relaxing it can be.  When you are forced to have that time on your hands, there is a surge of energy and need to be doing something.  Sometimes that's not a bad thing.  It's natural.  I liken it to being dumped.  When you aren't the one ending the relationship, it's as if that was the most important relationship of your life.  When you end it yourself, you move on knowing you made that decision.

During the podcasting years, I got into the technical side of things and started looking at voice over work.  A friend set up The Voice Actors Studio in town and I even stopped by for an introduction class but timing never worked.  Going to bed at 6pm wasn't going to work with that.  But, I have that free time now.  And love the classes.  Experiencing a lot but the first thing that went through my head doing this was that I needed a professional area to do it.

So I brainstormed with the wife.  Do we go temporary or permanent?  Temporary might work but we would have to break it down often to keep it from being unsightly.  Permanent...well, we aren't going anywhere and if we were to do it, we could use a closet.  So, we looked at the office.  It's a 10x10 room with an almost rectangular closet that was just storing a lot of my CDs in boxes.  I wish I had a photo of it before we started.  It had that set of generic white sliding doors on a rail.  So that had to come out.  (I put them in the garage just in case my partner in crime had a change of heart.)  The white painted area is the closet space but it wasn't big enough to move my arms without hitting the walls.  After the doors and the slide rails came out we decided to bump it out about a foot and cut the carpet to not hinder the walls due to go up.

It's around now that you look at it and think, "Oh, crap, what did I do."  I guess people feel like that during the initial markings of ink as someone gets their first tattoo.  It isn't going to be the same but maybe it will be functional and worth the effort.

Home Depot fell in love with me.  (I'm expecting a Valentine's Day card in the future.)  I went shopping like I had a purpose.  Because, well I did.  At any moment, I felt like I'd get a call from work telling me that I needed to go back and momentum would be lost.  And, knowing me.  I could let this linger and take longer than it needed if I stopped.  I built off of the existing studs that framed the closet.  I decided to leave the structure as unblemished as possible.  I used tap screws on the 2x4s to tie it to the foundation and from there boxed everything in.  I then set the door in place and framed around that.

At this point, I recognized that I didn't have power in there.  It would be a good thing to have if I'm going to be in there for awhile.  It is Las Vegas and there is no A/C going in there either.  To rectify that, I bought a USB connected super silent fan that I could turn on inbetween recordings or during breaks.  I decided to create a hole in the wall to the left of the door to run an extension cord through that was tied to a light switch.

I am going to skip the drywall photo as it doesn't do much to tell the story.  I did decide to put a dual-pane plexiglass window above the door to allow extra light in.  Here, drywall and some very cool R13 thermafiber fire and sound guard plus mineral wool insulation were installed. We taped, used joint compound and textured the whole thing before painting.  If you look to the bottom left you can see that extension cord I mentioned earlier going through the wall.  It leads to a power supply with that extra USB outlet for the fan.

The other notable difference here is the addition of the acoustic foam.  Looking into it can be a huge rabbit hole.  I went a little crazy here.  As a matter of fact, I had extra that I gave to a friend and still had more that I stored.  So, when I say crazy, I mean overboard.  I would later discover that using moving blankets to line the interior walls and then putting the acoustic foam over it took too much of the sound depth away.  It is a mix of 1 inch and 2 inch thick pieces and a few corner pieces that you can't see too well here.

In the end, my shelf fit really well just to the left of the door and it really didn't steal too much room in the office.  The window above came out nicely.  I am pleased with the structural work but I know that I need to adjust some things for recording.  I got a call from a friend to do an audition for a project.  After recording it, I felt the bass was missing and it was a little hollow.  When I get time, I will pull some of those pieces away and fine tune things.

I was pretty shocked by the positive reaction to the project.  Kerry liked it.  She thought it was the right size and location for it and I think she enjoyed us both doing a project together.  We are a great team.  There are quite a few projects yet to come but I'm good with this one.

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