Welcome to El Rancho Galvez

  • Workspace Tuning for Tactile Defensiveness

    TL;DR: Setting up a space to provide optimum productivity by knowing the theories behind TPD, or Tactile Defensiveness.

    My desk is made out of a table top I’ve had since the 90s. My mom found it at a garage sale when I was a kid and it had all the scrapes and stains of use as a workspace. The front lip has become rounded from my wrists resting on it as I type. The legs fell off a long time ago but even if I had another desk, I’d put this on top of it for a better surface. I never really thought about WHY I liked this desktop. It just followed me throughout my life.

    Last year the finish became rough to the touch. That really bothered me. I couldn’t concentrate on work. I sanded it down. But that made it worse. I spent about a month learning and experimenting with woodworking. I figured out how to sand, finish and seal the wood, and the finished product is now perfect once more. I moved on with my life and didn’t think about it, except to be disappointed in myself that my productivity slipped during this period.

    Then I learned of Tactile Processing Disorders (not really a disorder, yet. It’s not in the DSMs). Basically, I can’t stand the feeling of synthetic fabrics, sand, certain textures. Apparently there is a part of my brain that can’t ignore these sensations and even stimulates the fight or flight response. It interrupts my train of thought the way having a rock in your shoe might.

    A solution might be Heavy Work (Proprioception). Although that article was addressed to helping children, aren’t we all children at heart? Maybe that’s why I prefer the feeling of my IBM mechanical keyboard. Perhaps that’s why I installed an expensive standing desk system so I could stand or sit depending on my needs. I’d rather bang on a piano than a flimsy synth. I’m just learning about this stuff. I’m not a doctor. But like all of us, I am an experimenter. And I’m not going to be disappointed in myself for taking care of my physical needs.

    Next up, I’m going to try eliminating visual distractions from the work place… if I follow up on this article, you’ll know it worked! Otherwise I’ll probably be distracted by something in my office and spend the next few weeks finally repairing the pile of old music gear in the corner… hmmm.

  • Electricity
    Everything I know about electricity, I learned from Captain Beefheart.

    Despite knowing nothing about even the fundamental principles of why electricity even does what it does, I’ve had some parts sitting around for various projects for years. And aside from the theory, I have some practical questions like “why are half my outlets only grounded when it rains?” even the landlord claims ignorance.


    1. Learn enough to make an LED lighting solution for my 3D printer powered from 5v connectors on my Rasberry Pi4.
    2. Be able to help my kid assemble their guitar effect pedal kit.
    3. Learn how to spell “Raspberry” without spellcheck.
    4. Be able to fix my various guitar and keyboard problems.
    5. Make an FM synth with MIDI control to get that good good Ad Lib sound.
    Pinnacle of audio engineering.

    So far I’m working on goal #1, I wish youtube was around when I was young, I would have learned so much!

  • Remembering Petticoat Lane

    Because I loved this movie so much, I loved the soundtrack. I knew of John Williams from Star Wars. But this was the first PG-13 movie I went to. And my mom dropped my friend and I off! After playing some coin gobbling games in the run-down Starcade, we headed into the “Dome” theatre and I had my first taste of surround sound and subwoofers. Nothing was ever the same for me.


    This is the track I wanted to learn on piano. I played this part of the cassette over and over until it died. Then I got a new one.

    … and then I was over it and haven’t listened to it since. Even though I have revisited the rest of the soundtrack once every couple years.

    Well, that’s my old man story of the day. Oh the point? I have to go pee. That’s the point right now.