Monday, February 29, 2016

Reconnecting Part 2: Quality Connections

It occurred to me after rereading yesterday's post that I've spent my entire life making connections. With wires. Hooking up equipment, either for recording or a performance. And nothing will ruin a recording or performance like a poor connection. But fortunately, bad connections are easily fixed.

We're very near the wireless age. Soon, all devices will be wireless and battery operated, even high end stereo components and the TV on your wall. But we're not there yet. My wife hates wires and cables, so I'm not sure how she's survived around me for all of these years. I don't even really see them. I know they're necessary to get the quality of sound and picture that I want. But as we downsize, I'll minimize and simplify our home theater setup for her, and get rid of all of those cables, as much as possible.

Whether it's in the living room or my recording studio, the quality of connections make all the difference. When a cable goes bad, it normally doesn't happen in the middle of the cable. They usually go bad at the ends, where the connections are. In a recording studio, I've learned that you can't simply leave devices plugged in all the time. If you do that, the connections get corroded. In order to keep connections good, you have to periodically plug and unplug cables from jacks.

I needed an optical splitter for music playback, (ten points for anyone who knows what that is) and the one that arrived from Amazon didn't work for me, because one of the optical cables I'm using doesn't "seat" well in the jack. So I can't get a good connection, and the splitter doesn't work. I had to send it back and try another one.

By the way, how did we live before Amazon? Seriously.

What's the point of all of this? Every preacher reading this knows exactly where I'm going. Go ahead and use this illustration if you want. The point is obvious. Connections need to be strong, and they need to be maintained. Sometimes it's difficult to make a connection because we just don't "seat" well, like my optical cable. Not everyone clicks with everyone else, and that's OK. Sometimes the quality of connection just isn't there, and it's nobody's fault. There just isn't any chemistry.

But many times, the problem is that the connection has been neglected. Like when I suddenly wonder why I can't hear my keyboard in my studio, and realize the connection went bad. If I unplug it and plug it back in a few times, it works again. If it gets really bad, the jacks need to be sprayed with tuner cleaner. Or as my friend Mike Johnson calls it, Ozone remover.

Some of my personal connections are well maintained with constant contact and interaction, but far too many are not. I've allowed the connections between us to get dirty and corroded with neglect. But now I'm frantically trying to restore these connections. I'll even get the tuner cleaner out if I have to.

The awesome part is, I'm not the only one connecting. You all have connected with me in a more powerful way than I would have imagined possible. The calls and emails don't come quite as often as they did for the first couple of months, but even now, for every person I call, it seems like someone calls me. It's your job to maintain those connections too. And you are. Don't hesitate to call, message or email. I'm usually at home. Let's keep the connections clear and strong, not just between you and me, but between you and all of those you've lost touch with. Everybody has people like that. Don't wait until you're in my shoes to fix it.

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