everything...including the kitchen sink

Me: (talking to a friend who had just started DMing for the first time) When there’s a chaotic character in play, you need to plan for everything. Including the kitchen sink.

Friend: What would they even do with a kitchen sink though?

Me: I mean they could try to fuck it

Friend: what

Me: I mean they could take off the drain cover and stick their thing in….

Friend: …

Me: ….Anyway just plan for them trying to lick everything and you’ll be fine.

The Bananas, Witty Nitty-gritty

Ingredients

  • 1 pound of bananas (for flavor and folly)
  • 1 ounce of wit (even though it and some of the other ingredients are abstract things that cannot be measured)
  • 1 original piece (or more if desired)
  • 1 block of cleverly written text (if and when needed)
  • 1 cup of love (providing you have any to spare)
  • ½ cup of simplicity (It’s really sugar, but let’s just pretend it’s simplicity)
  • ½ cup of complexity (It’s really flour, but let’s just–well, you get the idea)
  • Everything and everything else in the kitchen (including the kitchen sink, of course)

Directions

  1. Combine the bananas and wit (The wit may be a little bit, but it’s just enough for the wisdom to balance out the foolishness).
  2. Pour the simplicity into the mixture, and when no one is looking, deceptively add the complexity (Make sure the opposite qualities are equal so that one does not overpower the other).
  3. Liberally ladle the luscious love all over your labor. Hold and hoard the love; save it for when you’re working on commission. Why waste it on something you’re not getting paid to make?
  4. Add a pinch of crack to the piece to make it extra addictive. What?! NO! I don’t need crack for that! Come to think of it, how’d I even get hold of this stuff? Sh*t! I gotta get rid of it!
  5. Upload the piece and paste the block as a caption. Throw everything and everything else into the post and stir yourself thoroughly before publishing.
  6. Insert up to 20–19 if it’s a submission–systematized tags into the post, and make sure that they are relevant to it.
  7. Grab some pickles and a pound of cheese; get some burgers and mayoneese. Eat ‘em all up and don’t forget to chew, and you’re finished! So toodleeoo (Hey)!
3

And the finished product of my “Cheap” gig case!! 

Every audio engineer and technician pretty much *needs* a gig case.  What is it?  A gig case (or bag, if you choose) is an on-hand collection of all of the regular go-to tools that you use while working on a show.  Similar to a Stage Manager’s kit, the gig case is there to cover all sorts of emergencies.  It is the cache of the most used tools in your arsenal and the one box (or bag) you grab before anything else.  I usually determine that if I can fix all problems from what is in my case on an installed gig (where the house provides a FOH PA with what should pass as the “average” amount of kit), then I have done it right.

But, unlike an SM Kit, you actually should be more selective of what you carry.  It is tempting to carry everything including the kitchen sink (like in an SM kit).  But usually I am working on gigs where I am around PLENTY of things like mics, XLR/Speakon/TRS full run cable and stands.  But, what I am always lacking or what I need on hand to diagnose problems go in the box. 

The case itself:

Many  audio engineers and technicians who freelance will spend the money and get a good solid case like Pelican.  Great boxes! Don’t get me wrong… but the one I wanted with the accessories to fit what I wanted was about $170.  I felt I could do better for what I wanted.

I found this Husky “Technicians” case for $34 at Home Depot.  But, it doesn’t come as you see here.  It is actually just a box with bin dividers that break up the box into 6 compartments.  There was also a tool “Caddy” in the lid, but the slots for tools were so tiny and useless, I just cut it right out.  What attracted me (aside from the price) is the nifty closed lid bin to the left.  It was the PERFECT fit for all of my small adapters and extensions!  This option for Pelican cases alone (if you can find it!) Is another $60 or so.  So, with the cheap price I decided I could make the rest fit.

I cut out the tool caddy on the top, and then ordered a set of replacement cubed foam (For Nanuk 910 cases) from Amazon for $10.  The foam didn’t *quite* fit the 2/3rd of the box I wanted, but as it turned out it left just enough gap for me to fit a rigging knife, crescent wrench and a few sharpies. I took one of the upper foam pieces and attached it to the lid where the tool caddy was with the plastic rivets that held the original liner in.  They pop in and out of preset holes, so it actually worked great!  I put some spare eggcrate foam I had in the bottom of the case, and the cubed foam on top.  I traced out the position of the items I wanted in the foam, and just picked out the cubes to fit to shape!

I left the 1/3rd of the case with the plastic bin untouched, because it was just perfect.  Without the center row divider, I had plenty of room underneath the removable bin for guitar cables, USB cables, meter leads and headphone cables. The amount this case holds is actually smaller than my former gig bag (a Tactical range bag made by 5.11), but this is FAR safer for what I need!

Another cool part of the case is that it comes with shoulder strap points!  This allows you to sling it along like a bag, which is VERY important.  And, in order to keep costs down, I just used a spare SKS rifle sling I have had lying around for YEARS unused.  Fits like a glove (even if it is not black)

Contents of gig case:

- Audio Technica ATH M40x monitor headphones (Slightly smaller than the M50x with a flatter frequency response, but still have the folding design and detachable straight and coiled cable)

- Tascam DR-05 digital field recorder

- Segate Expansion 500GB laptop hard drive

- Inexpensive auto-ranging digital multimeter (my fluke was broken when some kid stepped on my previous gig bag, hence my desire to move to a hard shell case)

- Gerber Profile fixed-blade drop point knife

- Crescent adjustable 6" spanner

- Various sharpies

Inside the bin compartment

- 15’ and 25’ TS guitar cable

- One USB Micro cable

- One USB Mini cable

- One USB Type B cable

- coiled headphone cable for Audio Technical M40x

- USB to 120v adaptper

- 120v commercial outlet tester (to check for ground fault)

- Rat Sound XLR sniffer/tester

- Cree Mini LED tactical flashlight

Inside the bin itself

- Six XLR gender benders (Male/Female)

- Three TRS to XLR Male

- Three TRS to XLR Female

- Two RCA stereo to TRS

- Four XLR Pair to XLR single splits (2 Female pair to Male single/ 2 Male pair to Female Single)

The only thing that this case does NOT do is hold tablets.  But, when I shoved everything into a range bag, there was ZERO protection for impact and stuff rattling around.  I also don’t have any space for gaff or board tape, but I figure I could string it through the shoulder strap since it clips on and off easily. 

And that is my gig case for under $50!  Of course, the plastic is a step down from the stuff Pelican uses.  But, so far it has proven durable and easy to carry.  It has a large piano hinge with only a few points of contact as opposed to Pelican’s design, but I have had zero problems with it.  I have put my entire 180lbs on this box with no issue, and it takes the abuse of sliding around in the truck quite well.

So, if you are looking for a good case for any of your theatre or music related gear but don’t want to spend $100-200 on one, check out the Husky Technician’s case!  And, for makeup designers, this box would be great in it’s ORIGINAL configuration, because the original box has a bunch of dividers that break up the compartment into 9 convenient little spaces. And, the tiny tool caddy would work GREAT for makeup brushes!