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Saturday, September 16, 2017

Leukemia update 9-16-2017

I need to tell all my friends and family how the treatment is going but it's far more than a mouthful so I'm posting the update here and sending everyone the blog address.


On August 4th I started a week of killer chemo. On August 10th I received donor stem cells. I lost weight, my appetite and all my hair but I never felt truly horrible. And I gradually started feeling better, which continues to this day. My blood recovery was so rapid that I was released from the hospital before the end of the month, to everyone's surprise.

Since coming home I developed a weird looking skin rash that the stem cell doc thought was probably mild graft-host disease. An additional immuno-suppressant and prednisone effectively controlled the rash, supporting this theory. Doc says that an early mild case of graft-host disease is the best sign that the graft is working and that rejection will not become a major issue. It's far too early to pronounce me "cured" but so far every sign has been optimum.

If, over the next year, the graft thrives and they can ease me off of immuno-suppressants without major tissue rejection, I'll be considered cured and I should not have a recurrence of leukemia, indefinitely.

Also, if I have any other kinds of cancer cells in my body, the new white blood cells will probably eat them. This is a strange and wonderful benefit of stem cell marrow replacement. The new immune system's DNA is more distant from my mutated cells than my own DNA is, so the new white cells are more likely to recognize the mutations as foreign.

I'm strong enough to walk a block to the bike trail but not strong enough to walk to the nature area and back (1 mile round trip) without overdoing it. But if I keep recovering at this rate, I'll be there next month. I miss seeing the beavers. And the ever-changing wildflowers between home and the pond are magnificent.

Any day now I'll hear an "oodle oodle" sound and step outside to see a few thousand gigantic Sandhill Cranes overhead. My house sits directly in the center of a bottleneck in their annual migratory path. It's a truly breathtaking sight.

Just yesterday, after being home for two weeks, I finally smell enough like I used to that my best friend Henry the cat completely recognized and accepted me. He was all over me purring and rubbing and grabbing and nibbling. A couple of times he stopped, looked at the top of my head and patted it with one paw as if to say, "Dude, what the @#$% happened to your hair?"

The weather has been beautiful. The reeds are fully plumed and the sumac are turning red. I want so badly to ride my motorcycle down to Cedar Lake and the closest real hills to where I live. But it's too soon. I haven't even driven my car yet but I could for a short trip. I've started playing with my synthesizers again and that's a real pleasure.

Chemo made my vision too blurry to enjoy reading, but my vision has mostly recovered now. I still squint a lot and just from writing these few paragraphs my eyes are starting to ache.

I don't think there's anything else to report except that Mary has really shone through all this. It has all been truly too much but she took care of everything anyway.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Oops... Hello there!

I kind of forgot about this blog in all the "excitement."

In April I almost died. Since then I've been treated for AML leukemia and will receive a somewhat risky stem cell transplant about 12 days from now. After that I'll either get well or not.

But today is my 63rd birthday and I'm not worrying about it.

For my birthday and to help amuse me during my upcoming long hospital stay, I gifted myself a new Yamaha Reface DX synthesizer. It's a super convenient portable with speakers, effects and a rudimentary sequencer. I'll take my BR-600 recorder along in case I create something groovy.

If and when I come home I'll let you know how everything went.
Unless I forget again.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Satellite 5

A couple of years ago I hosted Satellite 5, a synthesizer music show on After a couple of seasons I became too busy to continue the show. Later, ScrubRadio went off the air.

Since then, ScrubRadio has returned and I began to host another show. But times have changed. You can't expect listeners to "tune in" to a scheduled show anymore. People want to listen to shows when they want to listen to shows.

Podcasts are not the answer. Podcasts are recordings that are downloaded. That's fine for listeners but not so fine for musicians. Musicians are generally agreeable to having their music streamed, but they want to keep control of recordings of their music.

The answer is Streaming On Demand programming.

I have re-launched Satellite 5 as a music show that I can record whenever I feel like it and that listeners can stream whenever they feel like it. Contributing artists don't have to worry about recordings of their music being downloaded because the show is streaming-only.

As of this writing I have recorded six shows already and plan to record a new show each week.

Visit for playlists, show info and a link to the show archive, or go straight to the archive at

Friday, September 2, 2016

Korg has a not-very-good idea

My favorite synth is my original version Microkorg. One of my least favorite synths was the poorly-named "Microkorg XL." I think the XL stood for eXtra Lite, both for its weight and its wimpy sonic capabilities. Korg tried to boost sales of the XL by creating a "new" version with a few more things on it, the XL+. Yawn.

Korg has now tried that weary sales tactic with the original Microkorg by adding the Microkorg S to the lineup. This time the yawn factor is provided by a bit more patch storage and a batch of new presets. Add to this the "WTF" factor of invisible built-in speakers.

"The MK doesn't need speakers and the speakers will cause problems." - prophecy by AEJOTZ

After awhile, the MK S is going to rattle and buzz like a bumblesnake. Every part that isn't solidly cemented in place will vibrate to its resonant frequencies. Even worse, these vibrations will stress solder points and the internal integrity of components.

I has spoken.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

pic o the rig

A pic of my current synth rig. Click pic to enlarge.

I modded a moog, and I liked it

You can read the whole moogibrute review and even hear some MP3 sound samples HERE if you feel so inclined.

But for the sake of bloggal (?) brevity let me just say that I'm having a swell time with my new moog.

Here's its baby picture:

Just click the pic to enlarge.

You'll notice that it has two large knobs. These are not standard equipment but they should be. It sucks trying to adjust frequency range and cutoff with those little bitty 6 mm pot shafts. I notice in the photo in my previous post that the owner of that Werkstatt also added knobs; but his are stupid. Mine are cool.

If you want cool knobs like mine, just go HERE for the story of this breathtaking mod, and much much more.

Excelsior and stuff.

Monday, August 15, 2016


The way I say "moogibrute," it rhymes with "Juicy Fruit." I know, I know, synth nerds will correct me and tell me that "moog" ryhmes with "rogue" and not with "fugue." But that's only because Robert Moog said in an interview that he preferred his last name rhymed with "rogue" some 30 years after the "fugue" rhyming pronunciation became standard. So I rhyme the man's name with "rogue" but I rhyme the instrument's name with "fugue." It's easy to remember because the instrument name isn't capitalized but the man's name is. And if you don't like it, then "fugue" with two syllables.

But that's not why I called.

It's August and I have SSL. That's Seasonal Synth Lust for you uninitiated types. As often happens this time of year, I want a new synth. And for the almost first time, I want a moog. I've had my eye on the Slim Phatty off and on but whenever one is available for a good price I talk myself out of it.

Tonight that all changed.

Lately, when I search online for SP's I also see recommendations for the Werkstatt-01. Tonight I thoroughly researched that device and a little light went on.

The Werkstatt is a cheap little kit synth that doesn't even have a real keyboard but it has a moog oscillator and a moog ladder filter. In other words, it has moog sound. And it has a CV patch port!

Why does that last statement deserve an exclamation point? Because the CV port means I can connect it to my Microbrute in any of a dozen ways, sharing filters and stuff and providing the moog with a keyboard and a step sequencer. And the Microbrute can translate MIDI signals to CV, so I can play the Werkstatt from any of my MIDI keyboards and even play it with the Microkorg arpeggiator or the Microsampler quantizing pattern sequencer.

And the Werkstatt looks like a little cheap-ass toy-like gizmo like the rest of my gear. It suits my style and budget much better than all the other moog instruments. And it makes the Microbrute, the most limited instrument in my rig, much more useful and valuable. Together, the Werkstatt and the Microbrute will be my moogibrute.

I can probably have one in about a week, which gives me some time to experiment before my annual autumnal synth frenzy kicks in.

Below is a photo of someone else's Werkstatt-Microbrute marriage.

Isn't it cute?

Update 8-16-2016:
I just ordered a Werkstatt, a Control Voltage adapter (the thing stuck to the right side of the Werkstatt with all the cables plugged into it) and a half-dozen colored cables, probably just like the ones in the photo.

I'm excited. This will be a fun rig to play with. And it's my first moog!