Friday, April 10, 2015

New Bad Art Day: Someone Lost An Anchor

I have written a number of "bad art" posts before.  Lately, I have been working on a another coral reef type of painting.  It's kind of my thing.  I named this one, "Someone Lost An Anchor."  Namely, because it looks like someone lost an anchor. 


And here it is:



Like almost all of my paintings this one has a lot of layering.  I would paint for about 15-20 minutes, and then let it dry.  I would come back the next day and do the same.  So it took me about a week to complete it. 

Like a lot of my paintings, there are some things I like about it, and some things I don't.  But each painting is a learning process.  One thing I do like is just how "thick" the painting looks in real life.  I really do like to build up a lot of paint on the canvas.  The one thing I don't like about it is my choice of colors.  I'm not sure some of these blend well with others.

So eventually I will post another bad art day painting.  And it will most certainly be of, yet again, another coral reef.  Stay tuned and keep reading.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Crushed!

So something lousy happened the other day.  I was trying to do routine maintenance on my Dad's Ford F-150.  In other words, this monstrosity:

 

I did the usual thing I had done before, put the truck up on my ramps, and that's when I had a serious problem.  In other words, it crushed my ramps.




 

As you can see, it just started to bend.  My Dad yelled at me when he saw the ramps starting to bend, and I got off them fast.  But the damage was done.  They are all but scrap metal now. 

I thought about when I bought those ramps.  I bought them used at a pawn shop for $15.  I had been having trouble changing the oil in my Saturn at that time.  Since it was only four inches off the ground I couldn't get under it to change the oil.  So the ramps helped a great deal.  I used them for my next car, a Ford Focus, as well as my Mother's cars, a Ford Windstar and an Escape.  I'd even used them for my Dad's truck for the two times that I ended up changing his oil.

But this third time, the ramps couldn't take it.  They just started to bend.  And it's not like I did anything different.  I had the ramps lined up perfectly, and crept up them as always.  But they just ended up buckling for some reason.

So I ended up searching Craigslist, and found the same kind for sale.  They weren't in as good condition, but they were $25, and I wasn't going to beat that.  So here they are:




As you can see, they are a bit rusted.  I will most likely sand off the rust and re-paint them.  That way, hopefully they will last longer.  Hopefully, they can withstand my little Ford Focus.  I'm definitely going to have someone watch me when I put my car up on these new ramps.  I'll also make sure to put a safety jack under there too.  But one things for sure.  I'm not going to be putting the truck up on these ramps any time at all.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Getcha Pull!!!! New Guitar Day: Dean Razorback

I used to work for Dean Guitars.  I really dug Deans due to Dimebag Darrell playing a Dean ML.  That got my love affair started with Deans.  The funny thing was that, when I worked for them, I actually never bought a Dean guitar there despite me being able to get them for cost.  There was one Dean Hardtail in blue that I really liked, and should have bought, but never did.

I always thought about getting one of the Dean Razorbacks.  There's kind of a sad story behind them.  Dimebag Darrell himself cut out a piece of cardboard and drew on paper the next generation design he had for the ML.  That was the Razorback.  However, he was murdered before he could see his design finished. 

The thing about the Razorback is that, you either love them or hate them.  They are really wicked and pointy, so they are pretty much exclusively metal guitars.  They come standard with the Seymour Duncan Dimebucker, and that's a pretty metal pickup.

It just so happened that I was scanning the Craigslist musical instrument section when I noticed an add posting a Razorback Explosion for $200 including case.  Now they do make a bolt on Razorback that's more or less a starter guitar, and that's what I thought they meant.  However, the pictures did not lie.  It was a Razorback Explosion, a $900 guitar new.

So I make my way to Largo to the Pawn shop that was selling it.  And then I was really surprised.  They not only had two Explosions, they also had a Razorback Stealth.  He said he would also do $200 for the Stealth.  Now a few things surprised me.  When I worked at Dean, the Razorbacks were made in China.  Now they are made in Indonesia.  However, this one was one of the first runs, and was made in the UnSung factory in South Korea.  That's probably the best factory they have over there.  It's been open for over thirty years, and a lot of the workers have been building guitars for over 25 years. 

Also, I noticed that this Razorback Stealth still had the plastic on the back cavity covers.  This one was set up nicely and never played.  The pawn shop manager had bought all three of them for $250 a piece, but they had been in the store for over a year.  So he marked them down to $200 a piece just to get them out of there.

And here's the kicker, this one came with a true Dean hard case.  It wasn't the semi-hard case that a lot of them came with when I was with Dean.  This one was a true high end case.  And another strange thing....  Most of the time when I get a new guitar I have to fret dress it.  This ones' frets were in perfect shape, and there wasn't a dead spot on the fretboard.  That's very odd.  I never see that happen even on the best of guitars.  It's also very important for a Floyd Rose equipped guitar to have perfect frets.  So I was really happy that no matter how much I yanked on that Floyd, the guitar stayed in tune and didn't have any dead spots.

Now, my next fun thing may be to put a Dimarzio Super Distortion in the neck.  I have one in the neck position of one of my Dean ML's, and I love it there.  I think it would match up nicely with the Dimebucker in the Stealth. 

And now for the pictures.




100,000 Miles

So, my car flipped 100,000 miles today.  That's not bad considering I drive a 2001 Ford Focus SE.  My Grandmother bought it back in 2001 after my Grandfather had died.  He drove a big Ford Econoline Van, and she wanted something smaller.  When she passed away in 2005 I inherited the Ford Focus. 

The funny thing is despite this model's reviews, this has been an awesome car for me.  Very little has gone wrong with it in the almost 10 years I've owned it.  I think that's namely because I have been very strict about routine maintenance, and not dogging the engine. 

I think back to my 1992 Saturn that I had before the Focus.  When it was about 13 years old it was starting to give me all sorts of trouble.  I can't say it was any worse than any other vehicle in it's class, but it certainly wasn't any better. 

This little Focus has really surprised me.  To this day it still gets 25 MPG in the city, and 33 MPG on the highway.  I was actually thinking of getting a new vehicle sometime this year, but due to the way life has turned out I may be keeping this Focus another five years.  But if it still works like it has the last few years that won't be a problem.

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:

http://angjellockheart.blogspot.com/2015/03/new-pedal-day-biyang-reverb.html

The Blue Pedal:

http://angjellockheart.blogspot.com/2015/02/new-pedal-day-blue.html


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:

http://angjellockheart.blogspot.com/2015/02/new-pedal-day-blue.html

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:

http://www.zzounds.com/item--LNYGH100L

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.