Thursday, March 26, 2015

Hey Porter! AKA, Adrian, Elite Work Guy!

Right now, I am working as a porter for a staffing company.  I get sent around to different properties, and do whatever needs to be done.  It's not a mentally hard job, but I do end up walking a lot of miles during the day.

Today was a strange day at work.  I was sent to a property I had never been to.  When I got there in the morning I noticed another staffer had showed up.  This has happened before when I did a clean out of an apartment.  Back then, it took a couple of us to clean it out.

Well, things got off to a crazy start.  The apartment manager sent this other staffer home.  She said that she looked for him all day yesterday, and couldn't find him.  She also couldn't see any work that he had done.  She basically accused him of hiding out, and skipping work.  She said she called the office and told them she didn't want him back.  She didn't know why they didn't tell him yesterday not to show up today. 

He didn't take that too well.  He left the office, came back with his paperwork, and she signed it.  He left, and then came back again.  I was worried that he might do something violent.  He yelled at her, "You know what?  I "like" your management style!"  He did say that very sarcastically.  He then left.

So I didn't know what to expect.  I thought I might diffuse any situation like that by giving her my cell phone number.  Therefore if she wanted to know where I was at any time, I was only a phone call away.

I started on trash cans and garbage.  I ended up meeting up with the maintenance supervisor.  I helped him with some garbage and cleaning out an apartment that was being refurbished.  I also took a leaf blower around the property to clean up all the leaves that were everywhere.  The supervisor, Eric, told me he liked my work ethic. 

After lunch I started the tedious task of taking apart the lights around the complex, and cleaning them out.  I had to do all three floors, so I was dragging this fifty pound ladder all over the place.  That's when something strange happened.  Every time Eric saw me he was surprised at my pace.  He was shocked that I had made it as far as I did.  By the end of the day I had cleaned every single light cover in the complex.  I managed to do that in four hours. 

Let me tell you my shoulder was hurting from dragging that ladder all over the place.  I made sure I took some Aleeve when I got home.  I was glad to put that ladder up at the end of the day. 

So when it came time for me to sign out, Eric and Elsa, the property manager were ecstatic.  Eric said in all the years he had been doing that, I was the best worker he ever had.  Honestly, I was just aiming for "pretty good" or a "B+."  I wasn't expecting that.  Elsa even gave me a high five despite me being pretty dirty.  She was so happy with me, that she asked to come work at the complex on Saturday, in addition to the Friday I was also scheduled to work.  They already had a few things lined up on both days to knock out.

I've always known my family had a good work ethic.  What I didn't know was just how bad some other people were.  Eric was telling me how some guys were so slow.  He didn't want to ride anyone hard, but most of the guys who came through there were just damn lazy.  He was so happy with me, he was trying to see about finding some full time work for me within the company.  I should mention that the company that owned the property I worked at that day also owned a number of other properties. 

So I will head back there for the next two days.  It will be good to get a bit of work in, and some money in my bank account.  When I look back at today, the funny thing I will remember is that, I don't think I worked that hard.  I mean, I've had other days where I worked much harder than that.  I guess I'm just an elite work guy.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

New Pedal Day: Biyang Overdrive

Lately, I have been buying Biyang Pedals direct from Hong Kong.  I have found they are amazing pedals, and the price can't be beat.

Here are some previous reviews I have done

The Reverb Pedal:

The Blue Pedal:

I always wanted a good Tubescreamer pedal.  However, the real ones cost a good chunk of change.  And the cheap copies tend to sound just awful.  A long time ago, I bought the Bad Monkey Overdrive pedal used, and it just sounded cheap to me.  Since the Biyang pedals have really surprised me so far, I decided to take another chance on their Tubescreamer copy.

First off, I had to decide between the OD-7 and the newer OD-8.  The OD-8 is kind of neat in that it comes with multiple chips that you can change out to adjust your sound.  I honestly want to plug and play so I decided on the OD-7. 

I have to say, it nails that Stevie Ray Vaughn sound.  I had a Danelectro Wasabi Overdrive that I used as a bright boost, and this does that sound, only better.  I've found that I tend to put all my controls straight up at 12 o'clock, and that is a perfect sound for me. 

The OD-7 has an interesting feature.  It has a switch so that you can flip it to, TS, Bright, or Warm.  I run it at Bright all the time.  I kind of found the other settings were not needed.  You can get the same sound from the bright switch, just adjust the tone and drive settings.  I guess if you needed to change the sound on the fly it would be good for live settings, but otherwise, I think they could have skipped the switch, and left it on the bright setting all the time.

One thing I think is cool is that the "on" light is a brilliant shade of green.  Like classic Tubescreamer green.  In the darkness, it is very bright so you know whether it is on or not.  I really like running the OD-7 along side the reverb pedal.  It's like they were made for each other.

Like other Biyang pedals is has true bypass, and can be plugged right into your pedalboard.  So you can either run a battery or an adaptor for it to work.  I also love the hard metal casing.  This thing could survive the end of times. 

Something I really like is that this pedal pretty much adds another amp to my collection without me having to buy another amp.  Right now, I am playing a Laney GH-100-L through Warehouse Guitar Speakers Veteran 30 speakers.  My Laney head is equipped with the British sounding EL-34 tubes.  So my whole set-up is very British sounding. 

But when I put my amp to a clean setting, and engage this pedal, I get a very Fender/American type of sound.  It's like I changed rigs with just the step of a pedal. 

But here's the great question, what does it really sound like?  Well, here's a review of the pedal on Youtube.

Most Tubescreamers start around $100 and go up to over $200.  This pedal is as good and maybe better, and I paid $45, and that includes shipping.  I would completely recommend this pedal to any player needing a Tubescreamer pedal.  Again, I would put this pedal up against any other Tubescreamer type pedal, as well as other Overdrive pedals.  It's really just that good.

Monday, March 2, 2015

New Pedal Day: Biyang Reverb

A while ago I wrote a review of the Biyang Blue pedal.  Take a peek:

I have a few moderately hilarious thoughts to begin with.  I actually ordered the Biyang Reverb pedal before I ordered the Blue pedal, but it took it a while to make it here from China.

So why did I order a reverb pedal?  Well, my main amp right now is an older version of the Laney GH 100L.  Here's the link to it:

It's a heck of an expensive amp, so you'd think that there would be every toy on it.  Well, it's kind of missing something, and that something is reverb. 

So I bought the Biyang after seeing it on Ebay, and watching some videos of it in action.

Here's the photos of mine:

So here's my review of it.  This pedal starts where other reverbs end.  It can get a huge almost tremolo effect.  I was messing with it, and turned everything way up, and my Sister started complaining.  Why?  She said I was trying to do what the Smashing Pumpkins did, but I was doing it much worse.  Now you have to understand my Sister hates everything I do, but she was right about the Pumpkins. 

The sound had that huge delay/molten ball of garbled mess that the Smashing Pumpkins had in a lot of their songs.  But honestly, you can get a very nice sound if you put both knobs at 3 o'clock.  You can get a huge reverb bordering on delay if both knobs are at 12 o'clock.  After that, everything starts to go into delay territory. 

I will say one thing that made me go "huh?" was when I put the settings up high, it sounded like a drum splash cymbal was being hit, and coming through my speakers.  I have never heard anything like that ever come through my speakers.  It just surprised me.  I didn't know what to think of it.  In fact, I still don't.  If I was playing with a full band, it might come through as being pretty cool. 

Something that this pedal has that kind of surprised me was the A/B input/outputs.  If I wanted to have fun I could run two of my amps at the same time with this pedal.  One of these days for the fun of it I am going to do that. 

Like the Blue pedal it also has true bypass, and is built like a tank.  It has the built in adaptor connector so you can attach it to a pedalboard or 9V adaptor. 

So my vote is, I love it.  I already have the TS Overdrive Biyang pedal coming at me in the mail.  So expect a review on it in the near future. 

Sunday, March 1, 2015

If I Had A Hammer

So the other day my Dad and I were coming back from the city dump.  We had just gotten rid of some old wooden fences.  We were about two miles from home, and stopped at a red light when Dad noticed something.  A hammer lying in the middle of the road.  It kind of looked like this:

It turns out it is a very worn, very used Estwing 22 oz. framing hammer.  They sell them at Sears.

It must have been in the back of a work truck.  When the truck went around the corner it must have fallen out and into the street. 

I would like to give it back to the person who lost it, but I'm afraid if I posted it in the lost/found section of Craigslist a bunch of nuts/liars would come out of the woodwork claiming it to be theirs.

It's not a cheap hammer by any means.  As you can tell from the pictures it is well used.  So I decided to put it with some other tools so it will be happy and not alone like it was in the street. 

What's funny is that just a year or so ago my Grandmother gave me my Grandfather's hammer that looks a lot like this one.  I mean it, they are like twin hammers.  So now I have two hammers. 

It just occurred to me that I am "that guy" who got something that "fell off of a truck."  Funny how the world works.

Friday, February 27, 2015

The Loach: Nature's Spaz

As I posted previously, I have had a snail problem in my fish tank.  Read this to catch up:

I tried to buy snail-b-gone from the pet store, but they don't sell it anymore.  The only way to naturally get rid of snails is to buy something that eats snails.  Namely, the loach.

So, I ended up buying two types of loaches, the very popular clown loach and the yoyo loach.  I bought them young so I will have them for a long time (hopefully.)  Here are the pictures.

The one thing I've noticed about having loaches, is that, they are total spazzes.  Maybe they are just young and energetic?  I could tell you more about it, but let me SHOW you through the power of moving pictures!


So they are a fun fish to have in the tank.  I think I already see a reduction in the number of snails crawling around the tank.  Since the loaches are high energy I have made sure to put shrimp pellets in the tank for them to eat.  Between regular fish food, shrimp pellets, and a multitude of snails, I think the loaches will start growing pretty fast.  Maybe I will post another video of them in a year or so when they have some size on them?

Sunday, February 15, 2015

New Pedal Day: Blue

In the farthest reaches of Ebay, I found something I could not live without... more musical equipment.  (Surprise, right?)  I found some really nice pedals that are made with high quality parts, and are pretty inexpensive from Hong Kong.  I think the only reason they are not known or liked in the U.S. is their unfortunate name.  The name of the company is Biyang.  Again, a really bad choice for a name for the U.S. market.

I had been wanting to buy a Boss Blues Driver, but had never gotten around to it.  So I found the Biyang Tonefancier Blue BL-8 pedal on Ebay.  I looked up some reviews of it, and really dug it.  So I found a place in the U.S. that had one, and bought it for $45 off Ebay.

I haven't gotten to play it as much as I would have liked, but so far I like how different it is from my normal set-up.  I normally play British style amps with EL-34 tubes, so I have a lot of mids.  This pedal is more of a Fender (American) crunch with a heavy low end.  This pedal didn't really mesh well with my Laney amp.  However, I have an old solid state Rocktron amp that I bought for like $80 years ago, that this pedal just slays on it. 

This pedal is actually more crunchy than I would like in some cases.  I want just a bit of break-up, and it gets crunchy a little too fast.  The one thing I would recommend is to have your amp set as clean as possible.  That way, it balances out a bit better. 

So it's hard to describe sounds over the internet as everyone seems to hear things very differently.  The best thing I can say is that it sounds like the electric guitar in Jace Everett's "Bad Things," from the True Blood soundtrack.

There are a few things I really like about it.  It is adaptable for pedal-boards as it has the input for a Boss style adaptor, or 9 volt battery.  The casing is also a very durable metal.  It is also true bypass.  I really dig that the guitar cable input and outputs are extremely tight. 

The only thing I think it's missing is the overall "tone" control.  The Blues Driver has one, and I think this pedal could really benefit from it.  But if you want a very simple pedal this is it.  It has level (volume) and drive.  That's it.

To make up for having no tone control, I think this pedal sounds best with very clean vintage style pickups whether they are humbuckers or single coils.  I think filtertron pickups would sound really good through this pedal, but I don't happen to own a Rickenbacker at the moment.   

Biyang also makes other pedals.  I have been wanting a Reverb pedal for years so I bought one of their Stereo Reverb pedals.  I will review it when it gets here in a few days.  I have also been wanting a TubeScreamer clone, and Biyang makes one of those as well.  It's simply called the Overdrive OD-7.  They also make an OD-8 that comes with changeable chips, but that's more than I need.  I will be ordering the OD-7 later on in the week.

I know a few people will be asking, "Well, if you wanted a Blues Driver why not buy one?"  Well, the Biyang is anywhere from 25% - 40% cheaper than the Boss.  It is also made overseas.  They are both made with good parts.  So why pay more?  I have played both, and I like both in different ways.  But overall, I am happy with my purchase. 

So I will post more reviews once the pedals start coming in.

Monday, February 2, 2015

The Wheels On The Cab Go Round And Round

I have to admit, I am getting older.  I just can't lift my musical instrument cabinets like I used to.  So that meant it was time to put some wheels (casters) on them.

First up, is a Laney cabinet I bought a few years back.  I hated the speakers that were in it, so I sold them, and bought Carvin Vintage Series speakers to replace them in the cab.  They are American sounding speakers so I pair them with my Crate Blue Voodoo amp.  It has the American sounding 6L6 tubes in it.

So it was time to put wheels on it.

Since I was using bolts and not screws I had to put the casters closer inside than I would have liked.  I needed to have room around the bolts to put lock washers and nuts. 

Luckily, I was able to get the casters put in appropriate places.  The cabinet is standing upright just fine with the Crate head on it. 

The cabinet is a bit beat up, but it is still very strong.  I also happen to like the handles on it as well.  The project wasn't so hard as it was time consuming.  I had to make sure everything was in the right place.  But at least I can move the cabinet around now much easier.  Really, I should have done this a long time ago.