The Fat Man

The Fat Man

Since 1983, the Fat Man, George Alistair Sanger, has loomed larger than life in the mythology of Audio for Games. (See and his book The Fat Man on Game Audio: Tasty Morsels of Sonic Goodness if that interests you.) Perhaps as a result of the game industry’s fascination with technology and profiteering, George has grown weary of all the attention given to the pursuit of those things. And recently, he has come to understand that, while pure philosophy and the study of quality-of-life issues can be beautiful, at their core they are quite simple and even uninteresting. So for purposes of this blog, the Fat Man will be exploring the intersection of the two, which has never ceased to amaze and fascinate him. The theme will be “Where the Metal hits the Meat,” and in the spirit of this website it will be about the relationship between Humans and Machines, exploring how they might together successfully produce the kind of Art that makes living way cool and not such a big fat pain in the ass.

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The blogs at:

The Fat Man and Circuit Girl: Fun. Music. Boys and Girls. Technology. Creativity.

January 19 2009

I've got a great Nerd Treat for y'all! If you are too smart to be cool and too cool to be a nerd, you are a Scientiste. That's what Circuit Girl and I call you. That, and our friend. And we've been working on creating a community that's worthy of… read more

Super Street Fighter II and OC Remix: Fans create soundtrack for game

November 30 2008

Now that's what I call interactive music. The fans re-mixed the tunes from the old game, and they got put in the new version of the game. Can you dig it? It's right here:... read more

Sounds of Crashing Hard Drives

November 22 2008

That's all it is. Links to recordings of hard drives crashing. If I have to explain why that's cool, then I can't. If not, then I don't have to.... read more

How do _You_ Avoid The Muse? Let's make a list...

November 16 2008

Twenty-five years ago, it was easy. We weren't rock stars because we didn't have the recording equipment. You couldn't say it was for lack of trying, either. Pretty much everybody out with whom I hung would have emphatically jumped through unthinkable flaming hoops to have access to a 24-track recording… read more

Nice "Appliance," Boys! Xbox 360 statistical twitter...

November 13 2008

I just saw this twitter: @EmanuelPM sent his 360 away in it's coffin. The ups guy knew the box was a 360 by the shape since they get 10-12 bad ones a day, he said.... read more

Alternate Reality Games Puzzlement

November 13 2008

FWIW My observation is that ARG's can undermine our (the general public's) ability to discern Truth and Sincere Intent from playful deception. Or malevolent deception for that matter. Here's an example-- Fwd: Sarah Palin and the Africa comment... read more

Micing a Yoga Session

October 29 2008

My brother asked me how to record a yoga session...given that the instructor moves around a lot during the lesson. After several emails it turns out that there was no video. Which changes everything. So I writes back as follows: Wait a minute, no video? Get an H2, it has… read more

Edging over from Nuendo to Reaper--So Far NO BUGS.

August 12 2008

At the suggestion of my friends at Open Labs, I've been using Reaper rather than Nuendo lately, and I have yet to encounter the slightest disappointment. This is big news coming from me. My production schedule demands that I change sequencing/recording software very reluctantly. When I have to produce music,… read more

Circuit Bending

August 02 2008

The Documentary If it bends, it's funny. If it breaks, it's not, because then it's circuitbreaking. This is the best presentation I've seen yet on the mystical art of circuit bending. Finally we actually see that it's so easy a kid could do it, and so cool that you… read more

The Worlds First Comic Book Rock Opera

March 19 2008

This is a weekend experimental project I've been doing with a friend. Jet Age Comics No. 1: The Arch Episode 1: Iconica Wins We'd like to invite [YOU] artists to illustrate it and post their [your] own [better] visuals.... read more

Now You Can Fix (or intentionally screw with) Individual Notes Within a Recorded Chord

March 11 2008

This is something new. The Celemony/Melodyne product is an awesome one, which used to let you fix any notes that were individually recorded. Now you can correct, say, the individual strings of a guitar chord, or the late timing of the tenor in your barbershop quartet. I haven't played with… read more

Ribbon Microphone-HUGE bang for you buck

March 07 2008

The Cascade Fat Head II ribbon mic No, it's not just the name. This is one of those amazing values that happens only very rarely --a pro-level mic for $199. --and a world-class version with Lundahl 2192 Transformers for $349. OK, no, I don't know what a Lundahl transformer is… read more


March 06 2008

My most optimistic hope is that IXMF will be to interactive media what MIDI was to keyboard music. read more

Here's some stuff I have to say about game audio

March 06 2008

Alex Brandon wrote this kind article for MIX magazine. It represents well some of the things I'd very much like to pass on to all y'all O'Reilly readers.... read more

Vocalist Live 4: A Gift from the Gods

October 12 2007

Just a quick message to capture my enthusiasm for this new version of the Vocalist Live stomp box. I got mine today, and I feel like I've been given a gift that I've been longing for my whole musical life...... read more

Nerdy Guitar Rig, Part 1

August 18 2007

The Variax is an elegant, functional guitar, whose look is lent a great dignity by its lack of pickups. To play in my wife's Nerd Band, the Captains of the Chess Team, I took a perfectly good, new Variax and... read more

Do You Sing and Play Guitar? YOU MUST BUY THIS.

March 01 2007

You know how I am...I never recommend gear, I just wax all philosophical about theories and such. However. I am currently so stinking excited I can't sit still!!!! Don't tell the other guys, we jam tonight, and I have a--no,... read more

Analog Modular Fever

February 01 2007

The fever I got is of the Analog Modular kind. There's a lot of that going around--a wonderful resurgence in hands-on, knobs-and-patch-cables, Not For Any Reason(R), synthesis.... read more

"Air Guitar Shirt" allows you to create "Real Music"

November 13 2006

Wait...just a sec...the phone is ringing. "Hello? What? What's that? You're calling from where? A Mile Away??? And you saw this COMING???"... read more

The Definition of Insanity is, perhaps, using that quote.

October 16 2006

"The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. " -Benjamin Franklin --Or Not. I could stand it no more, so I did a little research, using the "World Wide Web," where the... read more

Tired of seeing your old ideas in new products? Get Even!!!

September 27 2006

We're O'Reilly readers. We're smart. And we've all had it happen to us. We're watching TV or browsing through the airline catalog, and then we see it: HEY! I THOUGHT OF THAT TEN YEARS AGO!!!!! (Go ahead, reply to this... read more

Miraculous Paper Digital Clocks on Easy-Bake Ovens: They Work!!

September 12 2006

How were the makers of this Easy-Bake Oven able to make the digital clock, obviously just a paper sticker, actually advance in time?... read more

Mellotron demonstrated for home use.

August 21 2006

We all remember the Mellotron from the Strawberry Fields flute line. "...always know sometimes think it's me..." I had no idea it was such an ambitious, fancy, and musical machine, on top of being dang clever and cool. See it... read more

Origin of the iPod--Shall we have a Geekly Argument?

August 19 2006

Go here and bang around for "appliance." (thanks for the photo, Dave Battino) You'll see that the topic of "PC versus Appliance," especially as relates to audio, was brought up elegantly in 1997 by Van Webster in... read more

Origin of the iPod--Shall we have a Geekly Argument?

August 19 2006

Go here and bang around for "appliance." You'll see that the topic of "PC versus Appliance," especially as relates to audio, was brought up elegantly in 1997 by Van Webster in a talk he gave at our conference, Project... read more

Game Design Think Tank: Project Horseshoe Attendee Suggestions?

August 09 2006 This is a bright group--I thought you might be interested in knowing about the 50-person Game Design Think-Tank that my partners and I are putting on. This will be the first one on the topic of Game Design,... read more

Buzzword Compliance: A Useless Feature Does Not Count as a Bullet Point

July 11 2006

On the topic of "I'm not your friggin' test department," I'd like to submit my first example of proof that products I suspect are being released with "bullet-point features" that have never been tested even once. Example One: Vox Valvetronix:... read more

To High-Tech Industry: I'm Not your Friggin' Test Department

July 11 2006

Dear Member of the High-Tech Audio Industry: Please. Stop thinking about performance and features for a second: focus on "does it work or does it crash?" If you are under the impression that your testing staff is doing a good... read more

Get your rock tune featured in the next version of the Guitar Hero game!

April 28 2006

Get your rock tune featured in the next version of the Guitar Hero game! read more

Where do I plug in my Wireless(R)?

April 26 2006

Oh. I guess I didn’t understand the meaning of the word “wireless.” It’s a trademark. Got it. Sorry, my bad. read more

Code Monkey: The Song

April 24 2006

My Coder friend Thom sent me this link to a heart-warming feel-good pop tune about The Code Monkey Within. Says it’s by Jonathan Coulton, released under the Creative Commons license. Sometimes it feels good to see little monuments built to the culture we help create. Thanks, Thom! Here’s a little link to… read more

Power Supply Packaging Contest

April 23 2006

I just looked in my trash can and noticed this: (Don’t be alarmed–your screen is not on fire.) I had bought the “ULTRA X-Finity Flex-Force”–yes, _the_ “ULTRA X-Finity Flex-Force”–in a box covered about 75% in flames and about 5% in chrome… ..And I had not noticed the name of the product… read more

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