Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Adrian's Year In Review: The Best of Blogs 2013

Well, it's that's time again folks.  It's time for my year in review where I select my best blogs by the number of views and my personal favorites.  This year I am judging from 54 blogs, so I have kept up with my personal goal of writing at least one blog per week. 

It was a different kind of year for my blogs.  In past years I wrote about trucking or stories from yesteryear, this year I wrote more about doing repairs on my Girlfriend Lili's place.  However, the blogs that did the best were ones that were about odd stories and of videos I made.  Here's the list.

Adrian's Top 10 Favorite Blogs of 2013

9 and 10.  (Tie)  Repairing Josh's Guitar, Part 1.

Repairing Josh's Guitar, Part 2

This is probably the best work I have ever done on a guitar.  The work is almost seamless.  The work I did on this job got me work on other guitars.

8.  The People I Work With

In the big tree that is the Target Corp. you are bound to have a few nuts.  Seriously, the store I work at has 170 employees.  Not all of them can be normal.

7.  The Amazingly True Story of How Adrian Got His One And Only Wood Duck

This is a tale years in the making.  It's a good read.

6.  Farmer Adrian and the Sheepie Pigs

From the lighter side of Adrian's mind, a idea that would make an awesome kid's book.

5.  Adrian Guy, Superstar

The worst/best practical joke I have pulled on a health care professional.

4.  The Guide to Adrian's Spirit Guides

This was one of my more researched and in depth blogs.  It was probably the longest one I wrote in 2013.

3.  Kingdom of the Petting Zoo

I have an awesome program that will let me do a lot with what I film.  This is the first video that really let me expand what I thought was possible in movie editing.

2.  Life of Gourami

This was kind of a changing point in my life regarding the fish I had.  I had never had Gouramis before so it was neat getting some new fish.  I had a great idea about filming a video about them, and putting some music to it.

1.  Doggie

This is by far my favorite blog of the year without a doubt.  In fact, it was my clear cut decision from the get go.  It combines the music of a great friend, a great dog, and I really pushed the boundaries of what I could do as a movie editor. 

Adrian's Top 10 Blogs By The Numbers For 2013

10.  Repairing Josh's Guitar, Part 1.,  45 views.

9.  Frog Baseball,  50 views.

A funny little tale about invasive frogs.  A lot of funny in a short blog.

8.Observations From The Blues Bar,  59 views.

The blues bar is its own culture.  It also makes a great blog.

7.  Kingdom of the Petting Zoo, 59 views.

6.  Adrian: Amateur Handyman,  61 views.

This blog is all about work and pictures.  In this blog I show the work I did on Lili's place.  It also has a great photo of Monster Dog.

5.  I Possess The Chamberlain High School Library Door Handle, 62 views.

I wrote this on the first of the year, and it's still hilarious.  I've never got so many "Oh no's!" and "Oh my's" from my friends from a blog. 

4.  I Am Homer, 72 views.

Adrian has a love affair with Home Depot and it shows.

3.  Life of Gourami, 102 views.

2.  I am a ..... Sloppy Painter?,  136 views.

Some of my bad art is now out there on the internet.  You're welcome.

1.  Farmer Adrian and the Sheepie Pigs,  414 views

I have a sneaking suspicion that I might see a sheepie pig book with some other author's name on the book.  That's more views than I would have thought from this blog.  In fact, it is the number one viewed blog post for 2013 by a mile.  Who would have thought?

So there you have.  There's the best of 2013, and it's a wrap.  It wasn't my best writing year, but there were a few gems in it.  I'll try to get the tale tales up and running again next year.  Take care folks.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

New Broken Amp Day, Part 4

Here are the previous parts of this post:

Part 1. 

Part 2.

Part 3.

Well, here's what happened so far.  I bought some Electro Harmonix tubes for the amp.  After putting them in, and making sure the amp's switch was put to EL-34, I fired it up.  Shockingly, I actually got guitar sounds out of it.  But I also got a loud humming.  At this point I knew I had gone as far as I could with this amp.  It was time to take it to a pro.

I took it down to Diversified Audio where they discovered that the tube sockets needed reseated and soddered.  They also biased the amp to fit the new tubes.

So here's the rundown so far.

$90 - Amp
$15 - Gas and Tolls to go get the amp
$100 - Tubes and handle
$7 - Fuses and washers
$107 - Repair costs
$4 - Silver/metal polish

Total cost - $323

But here's the main question, what does it sound like?  It sounds awesome.  It is brighter than I thought it would be, has a touch of compression, and sounds like a high end amp should. 

On a side note, I decided to go with a "hard" tube quartet.  That means that the tubes won't overdrive as easily.  But there is a method to my madness.  This amp has so much gain on tap that it makes it more usable if I were to use tubes that won't distort as quickly.  It spaces out the gain more evenly. 

I haven't gotten to play it much, but I plan on taking it outside and really cranking it up. 

Here's the picture of it after all the work.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

My So Called Celebrity Feud With Paul Walker

In a way I hate to write this since Paul Walker just passed away.  However, people keep asking me what happened between Paul Walker and myself.  So here's the story.

I was working in Miami as the main luthier at Guitar Center in 2002.  Fast and Furious 2 was being filmed in Miami.  In fact, they even shut down one of the main bridges in Miami for a day to film a car chase scene. 

Here's the funny part about this whole story.  I don't actually remember meeting Paul Walker.  I know, right?  How did this big dust up happen if I didn't even talk to him?  Well, here's what I was told.

I was told by my dickhead of a boss that Paul had come in on a Friday for me to look at a $2200 Gibson acoustic guitar that he had bought.  He said it wasn't playing right.  I supposedly took a quick look at it, told him nothing was wrong with it, and blew him off.  He then returned the guitar on Sunday (a day I didn't work.)  It cost the salesman who sold it to him $400 in commission.  Paul bought the same model guitar from Sam Ash, and liked that one better.  He wasn't rude about returning it, he just thought the other one played better.

But here's what I remember.  That Friday was the worst Friday I had ever had.  I only had three customers instead of the 10-15 I usually did.  None of them were Paul Walker.  I told my dickhead boss this.  He said he was going to look into the matter and "get to the bottom of this."  He never did get back to me on that. 

So here's my conundrum.  Did I really blow off Paul Walker or is this something that was made up by my dickhead boss?  Anyway, this thing really blew up around the place, and due to that and one other incident I was fired. 

I was fed up with Miami at that point, and gladly moved back to Lutz at that point.  I hate that Paul Walker passed away, but I will always wonder what really happened.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The People I Work With

A few weeks ago I started a temporary Winter Holiday job with Target.  Everyone is pretty nice, but as I've gotten to know my co-workers more, they are an odd bunch.

Here's the rundown. 

Sherri - Sherri is going through menopause and never forgets to comment about all her hot flashes.  She is pretty funny with all her off the wall comments.  Today she asked me if I had a plastic tie (to tie up some plastic.) I told her all of mine where made of silk.  She did find it funny.  She needs her knee replaced, but can't afford to do so.

Pam - Even though Pam is a middle age Spanish woman, she has a voice like a Pok√©mon.  The first time I heard her speak, I thought she was putting me on.

Daisy - She is now engaged to a Japanese man who has never told his family about her... period.  She's rarely in a good mood.

Serge - He is my trainer in electronics.  He has been there so long he knows the ins and outs of the place.  He's been there so long his favorite saying is, "I just work here."

Doug - I don't think Doug works here anymore.  He told me, "I've quit better jobs than this."  I now think he's quit a job that he considers the worst he's ever worked.  He worked in the food industry for a long time.  I think he finally found a new job being a chef, and left Target behind.

Terri - Terri has not said one nice word to me since she's been there.  I have talked to my boss about her.  I don't talk to her if I don't have to, and she still tries to talk to me.  She tries to be funny, but is just insulting.  I swear the next time she talks to me, I am just going to go off the handle.  I've never seen someone who just "doesn't get it," like her.

Thomas - I have to say, Thomas works so hard he is making the rest of us look bad.  He says he just wants to get home, but he is cutting his own throat by finishing too quick.  He will probably be kept on after the rest of the Holiday help gets let go.

Justin - He is actually and electronics salesman, and not a stock guy like myself.  He looks like a caveman.  I mean, we both have long hair and beards, but his is almost ready to dreadlock.  And his beard looks like it needed trimming months ago.  Not a bad guy, but sloppy looking.  I'm surprised the bosses haven't gotten on him about it.

Jim - There's not much to say about Jim except he knows where every bit of food goes in the grocery isle.  That's actually pretty neat.  He's a hard worker, who brings his own "sweat towel" to work.  I also hate that no older than he is, he is balding really badly.

Greg - Greg is a harder worker and always says hi to me.  He also has a porn stache.  I'll give him credit, in that, he knows where everything in the store is.

Marcia - Now this is something I can't make up.  Marcia has a hole in her throat.  I'm guessing from cancer.  However, she only speaks Spanish.  So she croaks through her throat hole in Spanish.  The first time I heard her, I thought she was putting on.  It sounds like a frog croaking.  However, the Spanish people seem to like her.  Honestly, she sounds like Donald Duck meets a frog. 

Lu Lu - Again, I don't know much about her.  She mostly speaks Spanish, and doesn't understand me.  However, she does seem nice.

Angie - Angie is the girl all the bad guys want.  She has tattoos, nose ring, and those giant stretched earlobe thingies.  She is also really hot, and knows it.  She's nice, but knows she's in a league where none of the guys there are good enough for her.  I also get a strange vibe that she is bi-sexual.  One of those hot bi-sexual chicks. 

Annie - Annie is 65 and doesn't have a sense of humor.  She's like the angry Grandma.  There is one really strange thing about her.  I don't know if she has really pointy tits, or she wears the old fashioned pointy bras?  Seriously, they look like Madonna when she did that point cone bra thing during the Express Yourself tour.

Rafael - Raf was born deaf due to his mother having German measles when she was pregnant with him.  I learned sign language in college, so I can speak to him a little bit.  It's always strange when you are like one of two people who can talk to a deaf person in the store.  It leave them with only two people to talk to so they always have something to say to you.  Raf is a good guy.  He's still pretty young, and I hope has a good future in front of him.

Carin (Pronounced Karen) - She has always been nice to me.  I haven't gotten to talk to her that much, but she is in charge of softlines. 

The Bosses:

Jason - He is actually the store manager.  I didn't know this for the longest time since he was so nice.  Most store managers are complete corporate dicks.  Jason is extremely nice, and has never had a harsh word for anyone.  Sidenote:  I am not sucking up.  I am actually shocked that he is manager.  When I asked who was the store manager and they told me, "Jason."  I thought they meant another Jason I hadn't met.  Again, I was shocked that a guy that nice was the store manager. 

Steve - Speaking of corporate dicks...  This is the guy to worry about.  You know that one guy whose life revolves around the corporation?  Yeah, Steve is that guy.  He is so corporate that I don't think he is human.  He is like a manbot or something.  He is also part Kanye West, in that, he constantly interrupts other people and puts his two corporate cents in.  I also have a feeling that he is a Tea Party Republican.

Anna - She is my direct boss.  She is also a lot younger and prettier than me.  Seriously, she is Spanish, thin, and in charge.  I don't think she really likes me.  I guess I'm not in the Espaniol (Spanish) club.  Yeah, despite being in the white people/ part country part of town, this Target has a large number of Spanish people.  And they all habla (talk) with each other in Spanish all day.  I feel like Anna is much closer to them then the rest of the workers. 

Diane - She is in charge of HR, and is pretty nice.  She has Northern/Jersey accent.  She sounds just like Kyle's Mom (Sheila) on South Park. 

That's not everyone, but it is the most interesting of the bunch.  Maybe I will add to this list when I find out some more gossip or get some new co-workers. 

Having Fun At Ribfest

A few weeks ago Vinoy Park in St. Pete. hosted a great event, Ribfest.  Basically they invite all these award winning rib joints from all over the U.S. along with a number of bands.  And first up was my favorite band, the Gin Blossoms.  After that was Gainsville based Sister Hazel.  The Edgar Winter Group and John Kay with Steppenwolf finished out the day.

Now due to me having to work early in the morning the next day I decided that I would only stay for the Gin Blossoms and Sister Hazel, along with nomming on some awesome ribs.  I had a fun time, and made sure to that some pictures.

Here's the pictures of the Gin Blossoms that I took.

And here are the photos of Sister Hazel.


And finally, here's some of me.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

New Broken Amp Day, Part 3

Part 1:  http://angjellockheart.blogspot.com/2013/11/new-broken-amp-day.html

Part 2:  http://angjellockheart.blogspot.com/2013/11/new-broken-amp-day-part-2.html

I am on an online forum, the Dean Guitars Forum, that has a lot of guys with great information on guitars and amps.  One of the members made a suggestion that I check the fuse on the board of the Laney Amp.  I hadn't thought about that.  I knew it had two fuses on the back, but it actually does have one on the board.  When I looked at it, I could see that it was visibly burnt out. 

That actually means good news.  It means that the reason the amp was powering on and not having any sound come out of it was the fuse.  And fuses are cheaper than a lot of other things that could have been wrong with it.  So the cost of getting this amp back up and running could be somewhat affordable. 

Here's the picture of the replacement fuse.

Something I also had to do was replace the screws on the top vent.  Since the old ones where stripped they needed to go.  I decided to spruce it up with brass screws.  I kind of dig them.

My next step will most likely be the tubes.  Although I am still looking out for good deals on the feet, handle, and grill mesh.  Stay tuned.

Monday, November 18, 2013

New Broken Amp Day, Part 2

Here's the first part of this story:


So here's the short version.  I bought this Laney amp for $90, and now I am trying to get it back into playing shape.  Today I had time to take it apart, and see how bad a shape it was in.  I also wanted to clean it.

In the next few pictures you can see all the rust, dirt, and grime.  I used silver polish as well as some steel wool to clean it up.  It worked wonders. 

The next thing I did was staple the tolex back down to the wood.  Originally glue held it down in places, but since this was so old the glue had started to wear out.  I just did what they should have done in the first place, put a few staples in it.

Next up, I cleaned the heat vent on the top of the amp.  Again, a lot of grime had built up, but a lot of elbow grease took care of that.

Here's a view of the inside of the amp.  It's in much better shape than I thought it would be.  I feel so much better after seeing this.  While I had it open I gave it a heck of a cleaning with electronics cleaner.

Here's the sticker on the inside of the amp.  It says it was made July 22, 1997. 

It's also amazing what a little Febreeze will do to the tolex. 

So here's what I need to do in the meantime.

1.  Replace the short screws that hold the top vent.  It'll cost more in gas than it will for the cost of the screws.  Ace Hardware here I come.
2.  I need 2 nuts to hold down the output jacks. 
3.  It needs all new tubes.
4.  It needs new feet.  I know it only needs one, but they come in packages of four.  And honestly, the three on there are pretty ate up. 
5.  I need to get a handle.
6.  I need to get a back mesh grill. 

Again, it's a lot of small parts, and some expensive tubes.  But if I can get this thing working it will be totally worth it with what I paid for it. 

So stay tuned for the next installment when I start adding parts, and getting her back up and running.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

New Broken Amp Day

I used to work at a music store that carried Laney Amps.  Until I worked there, I didn't know much about them.  I kind of found out they were the "other" British amp aside from Marshall.  They are very well made, but they aren't too big over here in the U.S. as they are in the U.K.

To make a long story short I found a guy on Craigslist selling a Laney GH-100-L amp for only $90.  Normally they cost $1200 new, so I knew something was amiss. Actually, I have to be a touch honest in that, he posted that it was broken, and roughed up.  It had no sound coming out of it.  He didn't want to mess with taking it to a repair shop, so he was just getting rid of it.

Here's a funny thing.  He lives halfway between Tampa and Orlando.  So he had about 20 people interested in the amp, none of them wanted to make the drive for it though.  They wanted him to deliver.  I was the only one who would drive to him.  And to be completely honest, it was a 98 mile round trip.  That's what the car odometer said.

So I did look it over, and decided that it was a worthwhile investment.  But here's what's wrong with it.

1. No handle.
2. No back plate.
3. Missing a foot.
4. A lot of dust, and more rust than there should be. I mean, was this thing near the salt water?
5. Powers up, but no sound.
6. 2 of the output jacks are shoved inside the chassis. Why? I have no idea.
7. Some of the switches on the back are also not lined up with the chassis.
8. This is normally shipped with EL-34 tubes, but has a switch that lets you put in 6L6 tubes. Right now it has 6L6 tubes.
9. The one part on the side looks taped up for some reason.
10. This thing had set for 5 years or more without being fired up.

So here's what I'm looking at. I need to buy all new tubes. For those of you who know me, know I love EH tubes. This has J.J. preamp tubes, and Mesa 6L6 tubes. Nothing wrong with the Mesa tubes, but I bought a British amp to sound like a British amp. So EL-34's are going in this thing.

Since it's sat so long, I'm sure it needs a sodder job. That's one reason I'm sure that it will fire up, but not have sound come out.

I need to clean it up. No biggie on that, I can wipe dust and rust off.

I do need to buy a handle, foot, maybe a back plate for it. I also need to staple down the tolex in the back.

So here's the total cost I am estimating I'm looking at.  $90 for the amp.  $15 for gas and tolls.  $130 for new tubes.  $120 for sodder job (if needed.)  New, handle, foot, and backplate, $50.  I suspect that the amp was run in the wrong mode for the tubes it has in it.  That means that a few of the capacitors are burnt or wore out.  Depending upon the number of them, it could be upwards of $30. 

So it's not a cheap repair, but I will see if I can do some of it on my own.  Anyway, onto the pictures.


I've been a hunter for a while.  So while I know about the different types of game that get hunted across the U.S., I like watching the hunting shows to learn about techniques and hunting on other continents.  However, I just learned something that I had never heard about from shows or other hunters.  In fact, I can't believe that I just found out about this.  It seems there are a bunch of feral donkeys in Australia, and that you are now allowed to hunt them.

Honestly, I didn't believe it at first.  I thought it was one of those internet rumors that go around.  However, Wikipedia had this to say:


The short version is there are 5 million feral donkeys in Australia.  Wow.  Most people, as well as myself, are used to donkeys being used as beasts of burden. 

Despite their being regarded as stupid, it seems that donkeys can survive in the wild just fine.  Even in a foreign habitat, they have built up strong numbers.

But let me get back to the hunting part.  It presents a lot of questions.  Are they hard to track, or are they too stupid to know if someone is stalking or shooting at them?  If you shoot one, do you have it mounted on the wall?  If you do, will your friends make fun of you?  If you've ever been near an Australian you know that's a valid question. 

One last thing.  Hunting is all about shooting game for food.  I mean, you can eat a donkey, but I bet it tastes like ass.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Adrian, Amateur Painter: The Front Steps, Part 2

Here's Part 1:  http://angjellockheart.blogspot.com/2013/10/adrian-amateur-painter-front-steps.html

I have been painting.  I have been painting.... a lot.  But it's something that needed done, and makes the house look a heck of a lot better.  I could spend some time talking about it, but let's just get to the pictures.

Again, it's quite a red.  It does have the tint of orange in it to look like Mario Andretti red.  My next job will be to paint the door.  Now I have to see if Lili (not her real name) wants it red or some other color.  So that will be another blog.