Monday, May 21, 2018

Mommy and Me and Cthulhu

I have this one friend on Facebook who is a nice enough person, but I cringe every time one of her posts come up.  Why?  Because she never actually posts an independent thought.  She has never once posted about how her days was, or anything like that.  90% of the time she is sharing a post from one of these awful "Mommy and Me" pages.

I have to say whoever thinks up the things on these pages has the same IQ as temperature on a nice spring night.  They have great life changing/ deep philosophical questions like, "Would you put a man before your baby?"  She always has to post along with it, "I would never do that in 100 years!"

I mean, it's kind of like a shooting fish in a barrel type of question isn't it?  They might as well ask, "Would you ever let a komodo dragon come between you and your baby?"


Who the fuck is even thinking something like that, much less asking it in a post?  Another great intellectual questions asked, "Your house is burning down.  What is the one thing you would save?"

I don't know, my 1988 Topps Complete Baseball Card Set?


Of course it's the fucking children!  What kind of dumb question is that?  How about, "Would you ever let your children accept an apple from an evil witch in the forest?"

(Editor's note:  Normally I would post a picture of the evil witch from Snow White, but that's owned by Walt Disney.  And those fuckers are hardcore about their copyright.  So here's a picture of something else.)


Another great one, "Should men help with the household work?"  Yeah, I wonder how that question went over?  (Sarcasm.  Sarcasm.  Sarcasm.)


I am reminded of the Facebook page, "Shares from your Aunt" which is a hilarious satire page.  If you've ever received a message from your Aunt telling you that Obama was the Anti-Christ then posting a Maya Angelou quote, while letting you know that 1 Share = 100 likes, then you know exactly who this page is referencing.  As someone with a large number of Aunts, I completely get what they are saying.

So I was thinking of starting my own page like, "Shares from your Aunt," but this time making funny of all the Mommy pages out there.  I'd call it, "Mommy and Me and Cthulhu."


Unlike those awful "Mommy and Me" pages, I would ask great questions like, "What's an acceptable age for my baby to join a cult?"


Is a fox an acceptable first pet for my baby?


Would you let a convicted child rapist put up drywall in your house?  Even if it's for a good price?


What's an appropriate age to introduce my baby into luchador sports?  Or is that something only illegals do?


Would you set up a machine gun nest to keep out axe welding serial killers?


I could keep going on and on, but I think you get my point.  Yeah, I think that's enough post for one day.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Damages

I sit here at three in the morning writing this.  Yesterday afternoon I learned that someone I cared about had passed away.  I won't say her name on here due to privacy reasons, but I will call her, "S."  S. was only twenty five years old. 

I honestly feel broken.  I don't know when I became forty one years old.  It just kind of happened.  I don't feel like an adult.  In fact, I'm probably a man-child.  But when I see someone who was just twenty five pass away, it feels like there's no justice in this world.

When reading S's obituary I noticed what was missing, the cause of death.  There was no, "she had been suffering from a long bout of illness."  There was no, "auto accident," or things of that nature.  It was the big thing that we can't talk about.  Such a dirty word isn't it?  

I have been going through the five stages of grief.  Mainly, it's been a lot of anger.  Actually, it's been mostly anger while bouncing back every few seconds between all the rest.  A little anger here, over to grief, some more anger, over to depression, anger that makes me want to punch something, take a detour to disbelief, and back again to anger.

Doctors and scientists know about how much physical pain a person can stand.  But I've always wondered about how much mental pain a person can stand?  I'm sure it's different between humans, but just how much mental pain can we stand before we break?

I really wonder about depression.  Just why would humans be cursed with such a thing?  I realize that we are filled with many emotions, but why does depression seem to play such a big part of our emotions?  It almost seems self defeating?  It's like building an automobile with a part you know is going to fail.

Eight years ago I bought a new suit.  My suit that I had since tenth grade didn't exactly fit so well for my now adult body.  In all fairness, my size changed, not my suit.  So I bought this new suit with the hopes of using it for job interviews, jury duty, and weddings.  You know the one thing I've used it for more than anything else?  Funerals.  That's right.  Funerals. 

Once again, I have one more funeral that I will be attending.  I honestly never thought I would end up wearing my suit to this many funerals.  The first time I wore it was for jury duty.  The second time I wore it was for a double funeral/memorial service.  It's just hard to believe I've had to attend this many services.

It's getting to the point I'm almost cursing the suit every time I pull it out of the closet.  Namely because I know what I'll be wearing it for.

I'm going to try to get some sleep now.  Hopefully my brain can manage to rest.  Good night.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Tales From The Delivery Route: The Mailman And The Jester

I've told quite a few tales about myself on this blog.  However, after all these years writing this blog I think I've tapped out all the funny stories about me.  So I thought I'd move on to another victim, er... subject.  Namely, my father.

For twenty five years my dad was a U.S. Postal Letter Carrier.  That's right, he was your friendly neighborhood mailman. 



Here's a seldom known fact.  Your mailman knows everything about you.  My dad was out on the street delivering the same route every day six times a week.  He knew everyone's business.  He also knew everyone's legal names as well as their street names.

He delivered to a small independent convenience store where the "independent businessmen" hung out.  They would stand off to the side of the store, and would sell their goods.  (I think you get my drift on what they were selling.)

So one of the guys who hung out there didn't have a street name like the rest of them.  They were all having a conversation on what this guy's street name should be.  That's when my Dad, among the whitest of all white guys, suggests the following to them.

"Well, you're big and you like to make people laugh.  Your name has to be Jester."



That's when the all African American group of businessmen looked at my Dad like he was the most brilliant thing on the planet.  They immediately agreed that the fellow should indeed be called, "Jester."  And that's how my dad, among the whitest of white men, gave an urban, black, independent businessman his street name.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Straturday Upgrade: A New Neck For An Amazing Guitar.

I have to say, I'm really proud of the first guitar I ever put together.  But to be honest, a lot of other people did a lot of the work.  That's why I say I "put it together" and not, "built it."  I went all out on it.  It had an insane paint job.  I've had a few different pickups in it, but they have always been top notch.  All the parts from the locking tuners to the real Schaller made Floyd Rose, even the knobs were all top notch.  Back when I put it together (around the year 2000) my total cost (including case) was $1,080.00.

So I'm sure you're wondering, "Well, why the ever-loving hell would I upgrade it some more?"  The truth is I've never really been happy with the neck.  There's a few reasons why.

1.  The nut width for my Floyd Rose locking nut is 43mm.  The nut width on this neck is 42mm.  So the locking nut hangs over the side of the neck.

2.  The neck shape is closer to a Les Paul 59' shape instead of a Fender Strat shape.  It was like holding the end of a baseball bat.  Honestly, that bothered me more than anything.  It made it very difficult to play compared to my other guitars.

3.  The old neck was only 21 frets.  This new one I ordered is 22 frets like an American Strat.

4.  The new neck is a satin finish.  The old was had so much high gloss on it, it gave the neck a sort of sticky finish.

5.  When I first bought the neck I was apprenticing under a master luthier.  I fret-dressed the frets a little too much so there wasn't much fret-life left.  Eventually I was going to have to re-fret the neck.

The one drawback I did have against changing necks was the matching headstock.  I really dig the matching headstock on the old neck.  But now that I have new logos I felt okay on pulling the trigger to change necks.

So first things first.  I put the logo on, and gave it time to dry.  Next, I fret-dressed the neck.  All the frets were pretty even except for one.  I know, just one dang fret screws it all up right?  Now that I have almost 20 years of luthiery experience I am much better at fret-dressing.  This time I kept it extremely light, and only took off what I had to.  (Like I do with all guitars nowadays.)

The one thing that did concern me was that the frets were cut really easily with my fretting file.  That meant they used softer metal than a lot of companies.  If I played one guitar all the time I would have just gone ahead and re-fretted it right there.  But since I'm always switching up guitars, it will be years before I have to fret-dress it again, and years after that before I have to re-fret it.

So here's the neck post-fret-dress:


Next, I moved over all the neck hardware.



After that it was time to install the neck.  I have my own method of putting one on so that it lines up properly.  It's a bit technical so I won't bore anyone with the details.  Let's just say, it went on perfectly.  Namely, because it went on exactly 100% perfectly.  I have to say, I'm really happy with myself.

Next it was all a matter of setting it up properly.  We'll skip the details and head straight to the pics.



I am ecstatic with how it turned out.  She plays so much better now.  Hopefully I will take her out of her case a little bit more.  Due to the amount of money I spent assembling her I was always hesitant to take her out to play a gig.  It's a guitar player's dilemma.  Once you finally manage to buy nice equipment, you are scared to take such nice equipment out for fear that it will be stolen.

There was one difference on the new neck that helped with one thing, but hurt another.  The previous neck was much thicker at the heal.  That meant I had to put the pickups up high so they would be positioned correctly.  It was difficult for my middle (Strat) pickup to reach the correct height.

The new neck is thinner, so I can adjust the pickups easier.  The thinner neck did create a problem I did not anticipate.  Since the neck sat lower, I had to lower the posts for the Floyd Rose tremolo.  After tuning up I pulled back on the Floyd only to find that it didn't have the clearance it had before.  So in essence, I gained the ability to adjust the pickups correctly, but I gave up being able to pull back on the Floyd Rose tremolo as much as I previously could.

Overall I am really happy that I changed out the neck.  I wish I had set it up like this years ago.  I have to remember that there are so many items available on the internet now that weren't available back when I put this guitar together.  So I can't be too hard on myself.  All I can do is play my heart out.  And I plan on doing just that.  Keep rockin' on everyone.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

I Didn't Think Pelicans Came This Far Inshore?

I live in Florida.  So besides all the weird news, strange people, and insanely hot weather, we have a lot of wildlife.  Anything and everything you can think of we have.  For bird watchers it's a perfect place. 

Years ago the Pelican was on the endangered species list.  I had no idea how since every time I went near water there were hundreds of them.  It just seems they are bunched up here in Florida, and nowhere else.  Which brings me to something strange that happened to me today.

I walked out to my truck, and yelled, "Oh crap!"  Namely because a bird took a giant crap on it.  This was no mere seagull.  Although, it might have been a sandhill crane.  It was so large that I knew it had to be a pelican.  Which is funny since I live 30 miles east of the ocean, and 20 miles north of the bay.

Pelicans usually hang near the saltwater, but as long as there is water they can land in it.  Let's go to the photos!





I know you can't tell from the photos, but "it" is all the way down my windshield.  It's also on the hood.  So I took my waterhose and sponge and cleaned everything off.



I know this isn't exactly big new.  Birds poop on vehicles all the time.  But I haven't had this truck for even a year now, and I'm a bit protective of her.  I have to keep her for at least another 11 and a half years so I try to keep every little thing perfect on my truck.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Make a Little Birdhouse In my ... Backyard? Part 4

So I have even more news about the chickadees in my birdhouse.  But in case you haven't seen the previous three parts here they are.

Make a Little Birdhouse In my ... Backyard?

Make a Little Birdhouse In my ... Backyard? Part 2

Make a Little Birdhouse In my ... Backyard? Part 3

So when we last left off we had six eggs in the birdhouse.  The good news, is that, all six of them hatched!


Say, does that one look like it's saying, "I'm naked, but feed me anyway?"

But they wouldn't stay naked for long.  Just a week later all six had feathers, and were still doing fine.


The chickadee on the upper left decided it was getting a bit crowded in the nest.  Besides, he was a little too big at this point.

Just a few days after that a few of the others had gotten so big they needed a bit more room.


The good news was that all six chicks were still doing well.

A few days after that it looked like all their feathers had grown in.


Again, all six were there.  But do you know that 15-18 days after hatching the chicks leave the nest?  Yes, they are ready to fly out onto the world.  So this is the last photo I have of them. 

I'm glad to see all six made it this far.  As a former pet shop employee I've seen the odds that baby anything have to overcome to reach adulthood.  It ain't pretty.

I'm glad to see my little birdhouse made a little bit of a difference.  Things actually went according to plan.  I put the box up in the fall so it could be used in the spring.  Let's see if another family of birds will move in sometime.  If they do, you can be sure I will be there to blog about it.

So now it's time to play the "Success in Birding" song.


Sunday, April 1, 2018

I Joined A Fight Club

I know I'm breaking the first two rules of Fight Club, but I had a bad time.  I broke my right hand.  I shouldn't have done it.  Now life sucks for five weeks while I have this half cast/splint on my right hand.

All projects are on hold.  Just typing this is exhausting.  I can't play guitar.  Anything to do with water is difficult, like trying to wash my hands.  Eating left handed makes me look like an uncoordinated five year old.  I can't exactly cut food.  Overall it just really sucks.

That's all I can type for now.  It's taken me forever to just type this.  So here's the photo you've been waiting for.