thanks for the relevant tips; i will try warming my mic. i wanted to give one last tidbit of information that may complicate things?
i tried recording again tonight: the clicks/pops/bacon/flickering comes in after about a half hour of solid use (without those). this was the pattern last night as well. does that mean it's more likely the interface?
so i left the interface on as i browsed the internet for about half hour (just because I had given up hope). when i came back to it, this is what i was hearing/seeing.
So, here is what i recorded at 1 am compared to what i recorded at about 11:30 pm.
Something strange is going on; it seems to be getting worse with time that the interface was on?