Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Hairy Fishnuts?

I was at my usual place on Monday nights.  That being, Sacred Grounds Coffee House.  Monday nights are open mic nights, and I love playing my original songs there.  I have also gotten to know a lot of the people there, and I've got to say they are some great folks.

However, open mic night can bring in the weirdos.  One night it was one guy who was a terrible comic.  Actually, I've seen a number of terrible comics there.  There was one guy who got on his soapbox, and complained for 15 minutes.  He said he was going to do a spoken work thing, but he just complained a lot.  There was the time that these two want-a-be gangsta rappers came in, and acted like they owned the place.

However, all this pales in comparison to the yellow and orange blitz known as the "Hairy Fishnuts."

They were kind of dressed like this:

I know that is rude to comment about how they were dressed, but it is pretty close.  One guy even had that accordian type thing, just like the guy in the picture.

Now I want to make sure it wasn't just about the dress of these folks that put me off.  It was the odd haircuts as well.  I mean, if one of them had looked like this I might have talked to one of them.

But they did not.  It was more like this:

It kind of freaked me out.  But let's get to the entertainment side of it.  They did two songs.  But they only used three words during those two songs.  Two of the words being "hairy fishnuts," and one other that I couldn't make out.

Now, I will be the first to admit there have been other bands that use a very limited amount of words in their songs.  The Exploited did that in their masterpiece, "Sex and Violence." 

Here it is:

The other thing that irked me about the Hairy Fishnuts was the fact that they started passing out business cards, and recruiting.  It's an open mic night, not National Signing Day.

I didn't actually talk to any of the Hairy Fishnuts.  With my smartass tounge, and a lot of weird luck that I have had in my life, I felt it was better just to not say anything.

But!  If I had said something to them, I'm sure it would have gone something like this:

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Backyard Birds

One of the fun things about living in Lutz is that, it's just far enough out of the city for country living.  I have seen a lot of birds in my backyard.  I couldn't keep enough food in my bird feeder for all of them.  I was seriously going through one pound of birdfood a day.  I must of had half the cardinals in the state of Florida stopping by.  I have also had ducks, cattle egrets, and sandhill cranes stop by in the backyard.

So imagine my surprise when I was working in my workshop (in the front of the house) when I spot a pair of sandhill cranes.  And it's not like they were down the street.  They were just a few yards from me.  I know I wouldn't believe me, especially on the internet.  So I did the smart thing, I took pictures.

That's right.  I took pictures.  The sandhill cranes were digging through the soft dirt looking for worms and bugs.  You can kind of see the one on the left with his beak in the dirt.

As you can see I am pretty close to them, and they don't really seem to care.  They are more interested in the earthworms that are hanging out in the soil.

At this point I am starting to get a wee bit too close. 

And this is where I start to chase them .

The one of the left is not trusting me, and the one on right would not be paying attention.

Now they are running, and I stop taking pictures to chase after them like a retarded 8 year old.  If I would have really wanted to have caught one I could have.  They have gotten pretty lazy.  One of them squawked something at me.  I'm sure a bird translator would have said that it translates as "jerk."  I just can't wait until they come by again.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Adrian's Insane Violin Project, Part 4

I have been working on the violin top, and have run into a question that perplexes most luthiers.  When is the top thin enough?  Think about this, I am supposed to get the top down to 3mm.  That's right, that thin.  In fact, right down the middle of the top I am supposed to get it down to 2.6mm (if possible.) 

This leads me to wondering how I will get an even thickness all the way across the top?  I may shave some parts too thin, while leaving others too thick.  I have already used my drill press to make marking points all over the violin.  However, I can only get so close, and I still need to check the overall depth.  I also need to check to make sure there are no high spots. 

Luckily I stubbled onto a great idea.  The spruce is a very uniform white color, and when thin enough, the light will shine through it.  I found by holding the top up to my work light, I can see high and low spots.  It may be easier to show the pictures, and then explain. 

I know it can be tough to see what I am posting.  I had to take pictures in the dark with the work light from behind the violin top.  Also, I couldn't use the flash.  What you are seeing are the different colors shining through.  The white is where it is the thinnest.  The red is a little thicker.  Where no color is showing is where it is too thick, and needs to be shaved down.

Now I do want to say that it is so nice and uniform because these pictures were taken after I did all the work.  If I had taken some "before" pictures it would have looked a lot different.  It would have had a lot of high spots. 

I am really proud of myself.  To get a piece of wood this consistently thin is quite an undertaking.  I have to say that working slowly and steadily is the only way to do this. 

I suspect in my next post I will be working on the top design, the F-holes, and the bracing.  At least, I hope I will.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Adrian's Insane Violin Project, Part 3

Little by little I have been working on my strange violin.  In my last violin post, I was working on carving out the inside of the backplate.  I have it just about where I want it.

I have smoothed it out a little more since this picture was taken.  But you get the idea, the shape is really coming along.

Here is the rough shape of the Adirondack Red Spruce top after it was cut out on the bandsaw.

After a lot of work, we will fast-forward to what the top plate looks like in the hands of me!

That's a lot of work.  Luckily, the spruce cuts a lot easier than the black walnut did.  So now it's time to cut out the underside.

I used my dremel tool to cut out the inside to save time.  I then use my hand planes to smooth it down to the required thickness.

Here's a closer look at the inside.  You can see the depth marks (they are the small holes.)

Finally, I will show the top and back plates side by side.

There's still a lot of work to do on the top plate, but it is coming along nicely.  I just hope it sounds good after I put in all this hard work.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

I'm Gonna Have To Step Up My Musicial Game

I had a "Dewey Cox" moment earlier this evening.  For those who don't know, I'm referring to the movie "Walk Hard, the Dewey Cox Story."  Early on in Dewey's career, he was on a tour that had a lot of musicians.  Think of it as a modern day mini Ozzfest.  Back then, they had the same format as they do today.  You would have the lesser known musicians open up, and the bigger stars would be the headliners.  And of course, the headliners go on last.  But in one weird night, Dewey Cox had something kind of strange happen to him.

Here's the youtube link.  Note: Go to the 50 second mark to see what I'm talking about.


Due to Elvis wanting to get out of there early, the line-up order changes from The Big Bopper, Buddy Holly, Elvis Presley, and then Dewey Cox.  Dewey then becomes the headliner, and it puts him in a very bad prediciment.  It's called getting upstaged, and it isn't a good thing for the headliner.

Here's an example.  Motley Crue were kicked off multiple tours because they upstaged the headliners early in their career.  Now, I should point out that the official reason they were kicked off tours was that The Crue were making too much trouble and being too rowdy.  However, they were putting on a better show than the headliners, and the headliners didn't like that.

So how does this relate to Dewey Cox you ask?  Well, tonight I went to open mic night at Sacred Grounds Coffee House.  I got there a little later than most, so the sign up sheet was mostly filled up.  The earlier you show up, the earlier you can sign up, and you get to choose when you play.  I showed up later than a lot of the musicians, so I signed up at the best available spot.  In this case, every spot from 9:00 PM to 11:30 was taken.  So I signed up at 11:45. 

This is where it got weird.  At 11:00, one of the most talented musicians at Sacred Grounds, James M. (I will protect his identity here on the Internet) when on.  Then at 11:15, a wonderful songstress named Jenna when on.  Then to top it off, one of the most popular (and talented) musicians, Jonny J. went on.  Jonny does make his profile public on Reverbnation.  Here is his band:


So here I am.  It's 11:45.  I am going on after three incredible musicians.  I am Dewey Cox in this moment.  But I did the only thing I could do.  I rocked.  When I played last week, I didn't perform that well.  While the songs I performed were my own and good for a coffee shop, they were tough on my limited vocal range.  So I decided to do three of my more rocking songs that are also easier on my vocal range. 

So I cranked up my amp, and cut loose.  I'm not bragging, but I think I held my own.  In fact, I still think out of the four of us that went on that hour, I came in fourth.  But, I can at least say not by much.  Again, I think I held my own.  But I will say, I really don't want to have that kind of Dewey Cox moment for a while. 

Monday, January 9, 2012

My Pleco is Strangely Talented

That's right.  I have a strangely talented pleco.  Some of you get it, some of you wonder what I'm talking about.  So first up, I will "borrow" a little definition from Wikipedia.

Hypostomus plecostomus (known colloquially as a sucker fish) is the scientific name for a type of freshwater tropical Central and South American fish belonging to the family Loricariidae. They are large algae eaters, and to differentiate them from small algae eaters, they are often referred to as plecostomus, often abbreviated as plecos or plecs. They are extremely popular in aquaria for their ability to clean tanks by eating algae growth and dead fish.

Simply put, if you have ever had a freshwater tank, you have had some sort of pleco. 

My pleco's name is Big Joe the Sixth.  He is the sixth in line of plecos that I have had, going back 35 years.  Plecos tend to live a very long time if kept correctly.  My Dad bought his very first one when I was born.  That was the original Big Joe.  He lived 12 years. 

Number Six  was bought just up the road at Pet City.  I remember it because it was kind of traumatic for him.  You see, the young lady who got him out of the tank was kind of rough with him.  She dropped him, and then put him in a bag that was way too small for him to be transported in.  Then, she dropped him in the brine shrimp tank when trying to put him in a bigger bag.  She then grabbed him by the head, and tossed him in the larger bag.  It was kind of like a three stooges skit.  I thought for sure Joe was going to be dead on arrival.  But, I gave him plenty of food, space, and places to hide, and he made it.

In fact, I'm not sure how old Joe is.  I know I've had him a few years, and he had gotten more comfortable living in the tank.  He has also grown to be the biggest pleco that I have ever had.  Most of them I've had have grown to 6-7 inches.  He has grown to be almost 9 inches.  Here's a few pictures of him.  Side note, it's hard to get a few good pictures of him as he won't hold still long enough to get a good picture. 

But here's the funny thing about Joe.  He knows when it's dinnertime.  When 6:30 PM rolls around, he starts to hang up near the top of the tank.  I usually feed the fish (for their night feeding) at 7:00 PM.  When I actually start to feed the fish, Joe has a sneaky way of grabbing the food.

That's right.  He actually swims upside down, and grabs all the flakes he can.  The other fish give him a wide berth since he is armored, and about 20 times their size. 

I have to say Big Joe the Sixth is by far the most entertaining pleco I have ever had.  I believe that the way my tank is set up gives him a very healthy atmosphere, and I make sure that he has enough food.  He is so personable that when I imitate what I think his voice would sound like, I do an impression of Shaquille O'Neal.  It really does suit him.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Vacation Highlights - 2010

Thanks for the memories.  And for the camera to record all these memories.  In this blog I will show some of the more hilarious moments from my 2010 vacation. 

In the following clip, I start my West Virginia vacation in Kentucky.  (Kinda defeats the point of a West Virginia vacation doesn't it?)  Anyway, near the gravesite of Jenny Wiley I came across something very terrible.  I didn't even know they had organizations for this kind of vile, disgusting acts.  I bring you The River Community Deviant Association.

In the next video, I come across some of the local Kentucky wildlife.  Notice how I kept my distance from these dangerous beasts.

In the next video I encounter a relic from the past.  I am also standing in a foot of water.  I also come across some pretty odd stuff.  Watch and enjoy.

I wish I had more highlights, but I have to be careful with what I publicly post.  Since I don't have permission to post footage of the people who were with me, I don't want to show video that would have them in. 

What this mean is that, I have to get off my butt, and start recording more stuff with my camera.  Especially now that I have this new program that lets me move the video over to MPEG format. 

Vacation Highlights - 2009

Vacation is a time for memories.  However, some of us have weirder memories that others.  If you are really lucky you have a video camera in which you can share these memories to unsuspecting friends and relatives.  Or if you're like me, you share them with strangers on your blog.

In this clip, I have just gotten back from an antique shop.  I was (no joke) verbally assaulted by a fat man with no shirt on.  You hear me ask the question, "Was he a Yankee?  Was he a carnie?"  See what my answers were.

In the next video you can hear me discuss what a "mud walla" is.  You may also see a 50 pound catfish jump in the mud walla.

In this third clip, you can see a fox eating mashed potatoes.  That's right.  Don't believe me?  Watch and see.  My Grandmother put some leftover food out for the wild animals, and boy did they come in.  This fox goes nuts for the mashed potatoes. 

The fox stayed there so long, I was able to get a few pictures of it with my regular camera.

After thinking about it, I have to admit.  Grandma does make some pretty good mashed potatoes.

Wild Turkey

When I was on vacation in 2009, I managed to get some great film of some wild turkeys on my Uncle Wallace's property.  Him and a lot of my relatives live in West Virginia so there are a lot of animals running around.

When I first saw the turkeys I was at least 200 yards away from them.  Luckily, the camera I was using has an exceptional zoom on it.  You can hear me talking to my Dad in this clip.

Generally turkeys spook very easily so they won't let you get that close to them.  I figured, hey, what did I have to lose by trying to get a closer shot?  So I moved in for a closer view.  I think I was about 100 yards from them at this point.

At this point, it kind of surprised me that they hadn't taken off in flight.  So I figured I push my luck, and get even closer.  You can hear me say that I was within shooting distance.  And I was.  I was within 50 yards at this point.  You can make out the turkeys very clearly at this point.

Generally when I am trading stories with other folks, I always have to take what they are saying with a grain of salt.  But it also works the other way.  I know they wonder how far I am stretching my tales.  However, I was really glad to get these turkeys on tape so I can back up this tall tale. 

I do wonder, however, if I were to try getting that close to the turkeys during hunting season, just how close would I really get?

Fuzzy Memories With Durice D. Long

Back when I was on vacation, I had a chance to talk to an older relative of mine.  His name was Durice D. Long, and he was filled with all sorts of great information.  Due to the new program I bought, I am finally able to move these videos over to an Mpeg format. 

In this video, Durice talks about farming.  You can tell he's done a lot of farming in his life.

In this one, Durice is asked about plowing.  However what he actually talks about is something a little different.

Durice has since passed away which is sad.  He was always a great person to talk to.  I'll have to see if I have any more videos of him hanging around.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Adrian's Insane Violin Project, Part 2

When I left off from Part 1, I mentioned that I would be ordering an Adirondack Spruce top soon.  Well I did, and here's the pictures of it.

Here's a picture of it being glued together.

I know it looks like I over did it with the clamps, but I only have one chance to get it right. 

Next I started working on the back of the violin.  In case you missed the part 1 of this blog, the back is made of black walnut.  I have already carved the top part, but I needed to carve the inside of the back.  To save me hours and hours of hand carving, I decided to use my dremel.

After using the dremel, I started to use my convex hand planer.  I used it to smooth out the inside.  I also used a variety of hand sanders.  You can see in the next picture how much smoother the inside is starting to look.

After a few hours work, I decided I had done enough work for the day, and would continue my violin building tomorrow.  Here's where I left it.

Next up, I will be completing the inside curve of the back.  I will also start work on the spruce top.  I will also start searching for the perfect pieces of rosewood to make the sides out of.