Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Adrian's Year In Review: The Best Blogs of 2014

Yes, it's that time of year again boys and girls.  It's the end of the year so I review the best blogs of mine.  I sort them into two categories.  First, I list them by the most viewed.  However, that does present a problem since blogs in January will have 11 more months to get viewed than blogs in December.

Because of that, I also list my personal favorite blogs in the order I personally like most.  There's nothing really scientific about it, I just choose my favorites.

So, in descending order, here are the seven most viewed blogs of mine for the year 2014:

#7.  Cat Craziness Explained.  46 views.
http://angjellockheart.blogspot.com/2014/01/cat-craziness-explained.html

I decide to let people know how acquiring cats can make you crazy.

#6.  Lost Rosewood and The Yellow Jacket Massacre.  52 views.
http://angjellockheart.blogspot.com/2014/08/lost-rosewood-and-yellow-jacket-massacre.html

I try to find some rosewood, and run into a yellow jacket nest.... in my own building.

#5.  That Will Be The Death Of Me.  58 views.
http://angjellockheart.blogspot.com/2014/04/that-will-be-death-of-me.html

I will die..... from a palm tree.

#4.  Craigslist: Strange Tradings.  61 views.
http://angjellockheart.blogspot.com/2014/03/craigslist-strange-tradings.html

It's a bad time to try and sell a guitar, but a good time to trade.

#3.  Just What Is That Ciroc Vodka Commercial Trying To Say To Me?  89 views.
http://angjellockheart.blogspot.com/2014/01/just-what-is-that-ciroc-vodka.html

They keep running that commercial.  It just won't stop.

#2.  Bored Scoutmasters and the Tale of the Wampus.  98 views.
http://angjellockheart.blogspot.com/2014/07/bored-scoutmasters-and-tale-of-wampus.html

Scoutmasters are people too.... just sometimes not the best of people.

#1.  Satanic Dancing and the Illuminati.  146 views.
 http://angjellockheart.blogspot.com/2014/01/satanic-dancing-and-illuminati.html 

Satan is making a comeback..... in dancing!


So those are the best blogs by views.  Here are my personal favorites for the 2014 year.

#10.  THIS! Is Not A Salad Bar!!!
http://angjellockheart.blogspot.com/2014/08/this-is-not-salad-bar.html

Don't try to cook for my family.  It's just not worth it.

#9.  Rise.
http://angjellockheart.blogspot.com/2014/06/rise.html

My evil twin sister is starting to worry I have a "thing" for Chad Michael Murray.

#8.  Lost Rosewood and The Yellow Jacket Massacre
http://angjellockheart.blogspot.com/2014/08/lost-rosewood-and-yellow-jacket-massacre.html

You never forget your first yellow jacket nest.  But you do forget where you put that really expensive rosewood.

#7.  Adrian: Zero Dollar Budget Director.
http://angjellockheart.blogspot.com/2014/08/adrian-zero-dollar-budget-director.html

You have to be creative when you have no money and a 15 year old camera.

#6.  Hunting Adventures, 2014
http://angjellockheart.blogspot.com/2014/11/hunting-adventures-2014.html

I was very happy with my work at putting together this year's hunting videos.  I just wish everyone else would have noticed.

#5.  How a Few Jackholes Ruined Halloween For My Entire Childhood.
http://angjellockheart.blogspot.com/2014/10/how-few-jackholes-ruined-halloween-for.html

Darn you.  Darn you to heck all you people who ruined my Halloweens.

#4.  Things Not To Let Your Boss Catch You Doing.
http://angjellockheart.blogspot.com/2014/03/things-not-to-let-your-boss-catch-you.html

Sometimes goofing off at work will make the boss hate you.  Or just look at you weird.

#3.  The Boy Who Walked Into A Tornado, And Came Out An Idiot.
http://angjellockheart.blogspot.com/2014/04/the-boy-who-walked-into-tornado-and.html

Some kids are dumb.  And then there are kids who are even dumber than those kids.  This story is about one of those kids.

#2.  Bored Scoutmasters and the Tale of the Wampus.
http://angjellockheart.blogspot.com/2014/07/bored-scoutmasters-and-tale-of-wampus.html

This may be one of my all time favorite blogs.  Only one blog was better this year.

#1.  Satanic Dancing and the Illuminati.
http://angjellockheart.blogspot.com/2014/01/satanic-dancing-and-illuminati.html

Sometimes something so ridiculous has to be met with something equally ridiculous. 

So that's it folks.  That makes 53 blogs this year.  Back when I started my blog on Myspace in 2008 I vowed that I wanted to average writing one blog a week.  Well, this year I made that goal.  Now that I think of it, every year I have made that goal.  It just feels good to accomplish my blog goal. 

This will be blog number 456.  That's a lot of blogs over a long period of time.  It's strange to see how my writing and storytelling has changed.  I was really glad to move my blog over to blogger due to the ease of writing, and letting me add pictures and video.  So I still vow to put in at least 52 blogs next year.  Keep reading and even if you don't, I will keep writing.

Monday, December 22, 2014

New Guitar Day: Christmas Edition

It's that time of year again.  Time for gifts and all that fun stuff.  But I decided to give a gift to a most special person in my life.... me.  I'm so good to me. 

But all funny (or unfunny) jokes aside, there was a type of guitar that I had been wanting for a long time.  I had always wanted a Les Paul style guitar with P-90's in it.  Getting a Gibson was out of the question due to price, so I turned to Epiphone.  They made (they just stopped making it) a version of the 1956 Les Paul that only came in Gold or Black.  I honestly wasn't too crazy about it.  Gold guitars do nothing for me, and black guitars show every fingerprint and spec of dust that comes near them.

So a few of the members on the Dean Guitars and Seymour Duncan forums had spoken about how much they liked Agile Guitars.  The factory that Epiphone used to have their Les Pauls made in was now making the guitars for Agile.  Just to be clear, Epiphone moved their production to an Epiphone only factory in China.  The factory in South Korea, where the Agiles and other guitars are made, has been making guitars for decades, and with the new CNC machines they have been doing a great job.

So I look through their offerings.  Honestly, their website is a bit cheesy, but their inventory looks pretty good.  Then I see it.  A Les Paul style guitar in a root beer finish with a flame maple veneer.  It also had P-90 pickups.  I knew I had to have it, so I got it with a tweed style case.  This one was the last one left.  I was aiming to wait a few weeks to get it, but I couldn't take the chance that I would miss out on buying it.


 
I had some Seymour Duncan P-90's from a previous project that I never got around to using.  So once I did a set-up, I installed the pickups.  I used the SP-90-2 for the neck, and the SP-90-3 for the bridge.  The neck pickup has an almost piano like quality to it.  The bridge pickup just sounds like a bigger P-90.  Due to it's specs, I was hoping for a distortion like pickup, but it just sounded bigger.  I was expecting it to have a bigger bottom end, but it was actually pretty balanced. 

The funny thing is that I have an Epiphone Les Paul plain top pretty close to this color.  They call it honeyburst.  It has a bit of honey color in the middle, but the rest of the burst is root beer color.  So they look like twins.  The Epiphone has humbucker pickups in it. 

I will say that the Agile has a few upgrades from the Epiphone.  It has some sort of ebony fretboard instead of rosewood.  It also has a type of graphtech like saddles on the bridge.  The only thing that was not as good or better than the Epiphone was the three way switch.  They used one of the ones that makes a "clinking" sound when switched. 

What's weird is that even the necks are almost identical on them.  The weight is about the same too.  I may have to do a second blog showing the two of them together.  Just to show just how much alike they are.

So if you are thinking about an Epiphone type guitar, check out Agile Guitars at Rondo Music online.  They have a bunch of different types of guitars, so you can find something you like.  The good news is that they sell direct to customer so they are cutting out the middle man.  My guitar cost 60% of what an Epiphone guitar would have, and the Agile is better quality.  Also, the hardshell cases are about half of what a case would run you at Guitar Center.  So take a peek, and see if you find something you like.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Apocalyptic Bloodbath

So I was watching the show, "River Monsters," on the Animal Planet channel.  It was this episode:


Anyway, I was watching when he started talking about piranha fish.  They kept taking his bait.  He mentioned that when the water would get low, the fish would be pooled together, and anything that fell in would get destroyed in a apocalyptic bloodbath.

And that's when it hit me.  That would be the name of my new speed/death/thrash/etc. metal band.  But first I had to see if anyone already had that name.  It seems that there was no band with that name, but there was a song with that name.


So it looks like I am safe.  But will the album be called?  I kept watching.  Since he was in the amazon, he was in a region called Obidos.  He then talked about "The Rivers of Obidos."  And that was it.  I knew that would be the name of my album.


There would be an endless supply of ideas for my album cover.  Seriously, I put in "Apocalyptic Bloodbath," in the Bing image search, and came up with this:



Really, after 25 years of death metal it's like shooting fish in a barrel. 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Adrian Goes To The Nikki Lane Concert

Right now, my favorite new artist of the year is Nikki Lane.  She plays Country/ Americana, and is from South Carolina.  She has been getting a lot of attention for her latest album, "All or Nothing."  Here's her latest video, "Right Time."


As luck would have it, she jumped on tour with a band called, "Trampled by Turtles."  And even better luck they were playing at Jannus Live in St. Pete.  So I had to go.

This lead me to thinking, should I bring her album with me in hopes that she could sign it?  Or would I just be stuck holding her album for three hours, and being resentful that I couldn't get her to sign it.  I had the album with me as I drove over to St. Pete.  In the end I left it in the car. 

So as I am standing in line for the concert, guess who walked two yards in front of me?  That's right, Nikki Lane.  I could have kicked myself.

Anyway, fast forward to the show.  She played awesome, and her band was also just over the top great.  Right at the end of her set she said she would be over by the merch booth, so stop on by, and she would sign stuff and shoot the breeze.

So I really began kicking myself.  But I went over, and she was full of energy talking to everyone, and signing stuff.  I was holding out my ticket stub and she signed it while talking to other people.



Once we began talking she was talking to me four times faster than I could get my own words out.  Here's kind of a sad fact.  I suck at girls and especially really pretty ones, and so I wasn't really sure what to say to her.  I told her about me not bringing her album with me, and I felt like an idiot.

She suggested I buy her first album and she would sign it.  I asked the merch gal if they took cards and she said yes, so I bought Nikki's first album.  She was then happy to sign it.


It says, "Adrian, thanks for the love.  I'm stoned, I signed twice."

In all fairness, I think that's a put-on because she was super hyper taking pictures and signing stuff.  Stoned people tend to be more laid back.  I thanked her, and was able to leave the concert with a signed CD.  I guess I was able to accomplish my mission in a different way. 

I hope to see her play again.  I had just missed her playing at Skipper's Smokehouse in Tampa, not four miles from me a few months previous.  So I'm sure she will swing by the Tampa Bay area sometime in the future.  Maybe I will be a little better when I talk to her next time.  Oh, and I will make sure to have her album with me.

Friday, December 12, 2014

I Got The Phone, Now I Need A Ringtone

So I finally dragged myself into the new decade, and upgraded my phone.  Really, all I needed was a flippy phone for years.  I only used a phone as a phone.  I never took pictures with it, or needed to use the internet on it.  But even flippy phones are getting hard to find as technology has moved us forward to the newer smartphones. 

So with the new plan I was able to get a Nokia Lumia 635 free (using the rebate.)  Now came the fun part.  Setting the darn thing up.  I had to go online and open up the instruction manual on most things.  I'll admit, I'm still trying to figure out what's going on with it most of the time.  However, to truly make the phone mine, I needed a ringtone. 

At first I thought I would use the Tom Araya yell from Slayer's "Angel of Death."


But I decided that having my phone scream at me every time someone calls could get a little old.  So I decided on something just as angry in Slayer's "Seasons in the Abyss."


But enough about my phone, let's talk family plans.  Yes, the whole family got pulled into the future.  We all got phones (with rebates.)  Dad needed something for him that was loud, and could be heard over the sound of his friends and chainsaws.  Seriously, he does woodworking. 

He decided on his favorite Led Zeppelin song, "Immigrant Song."


Mom decided on the Brian May solo from Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody"


My sister decided on something from Daft Punk.  But honestly, I don't know anything about Daft Punk.  So normally I would put their song up here, but I have no idea what song she chose.

So that's as far as I have gotten with my phone.  Well, I did manage to put in my phone contacts, but I haven't even gotten on the internet yet.  Honestly, I'm not in any hurry.  I don't really have any use for any apps yet either.  But once I have a few things suggested to me by friends, I'm sure I will start to try and figure my phone out.   

Saturday, December 6, 2014

A Dog Wants What He Wants

This is a funny little story.  I'm not sure why I didn't write about it when it happened a few years ago, but I guess as time goes on, certain things stand out. 

So my then girlfriend at the time, Lili, had a service dog named "Monster."  Actually, his full name was Cookie Monster "Muddy" Fourpaws.  Here's two pictures of him.



When we were first dating, Lili came over to my place and we made popcorn.  She said that Monster liked to eat popcorn.  I thought, "really?"  I didn't know if dogs should eat it or not.  But she said it was okay.  So I get a pie plate and put the popcorn on it for him, and put the plate in his food spot.

He sniffed it, and looked at me.  Then he looked at Lili.  I said, "I thought you said he liked popcorn?" 

Lili said, "Well, did you put salt and butter on it?" 

I said, "No of course not."

To which she said, "Well you have to put salt and butter on it."

I thought about that for a minute, and then said, "okay."

Well, I put salt and butter on Monster's popcorn, and put the pie plate back at his place.  He then sniffed it, and started eating it.  I guess a dog knows what he wants.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

I've Got The Blues From All The Bad "Folsom Prison Blues" Covers

I try not to get too mad about things I can't control in pop culture.  I realize that modern music has gone to crap.  I accept that.  However, as a musician I can't stand it when someone covers a song, and gets the whole concept of it wrong.

Case in point, "Folsom Prison Blues," by Johnny Cash.  For those who don't know the song, listen to this.



Just so you know that this song can be done differently, here it is live.


So you can hear it's a little more upbeat in it's live version.  However, the mood is still dark.

Then you get crap from American Idol like this:


Really asshole?  I mean, Johnny Cash would shoot you in Hollywood just to keep you from playing his song like that.  What the Hell man?  Instead of solemn and sad, it's completely upbeat and exciting.  This guy isn't the only one to do this.


It's not just men.  Women can screw it up too.  I mean, do you not know what it means to "shoot a man in Reno?"  It's nothing to get happy about!

So I know what you might be saying/thinking, "Well, after a few years I'm sure Johnny Cash changed it up so as to make it more upbeat or different.  Well check this out from Johnny Cash near the end of his career:


Still, 40 years later, it's not that different from his live version all those years later.

Still, I see it in local bands when playing out.  I don't want to name names of amateurs, but I've seen too many try to play "Folsom Prison" fast, upbeat, and all happy like.  It's just very irritating.  Actually, I saw one guy play it with so much gain, I thought he was trying to play something from Social Distortion.  In other words, these guys:



It actually reminds me of something someone did to R.E.M.'s "Losing my Religion."  The guy, I should call him a genius, never changed a lyric, a beat, or the instruments.  He only changed one note from a minor to a major, and completely changed the song.  Really, listen to this.


See what going from a minor key to a major key will do?  It changes everything!  And that's the point I am making with all these "artists" screwing up Johnny Cash's best known song.

The only band I've ever known to sing it upbeat, and get it right is the Gin Blossoms.


I think the reason they got it right is they have the Tempe, Az. sort of rock going on.  They also sing songs about being depressed so it kind of fits right in with what they're doing. 

In closing I want to say that I understand trying to make a song your own.  But just destroying it to force it in your style is just too much.  Better yet, if you are going to sing karaoke, just skip "Folsom Prison Blues."

Friday, November 14, 2014

Hunting Adventures, 2014

Every year I take pictures and video of my experiences out hunting.  I have been getting better at my movie making computer program, so I think this is my best yet.  It is also my longest yet.  I split it into three parts of about seven minutes a piece.

Part 1. 




Part 2. 




Part 3.


Friday, October 24, 2014

The Bass! Part 4,

Part 1:  http://angjellockheart.blogspot.com/2014/10/the-bass-there-are-no-such-things-as.html

Part 2:  http://angjellockheart.blogspot.com/2014/10/the-bass-part-2.html
Part 3:  http://angjellockheart.blogspot.com/2014/10/the-bass-part-3-punk-rock-bass.html

So I had been waiting on the bridge to arrive, and it finally did. 


While it was not an exact replacement of the old one, the saddles lined up just fine.  And in the end, that's what's important.

I then had to deal with the pickguard not lining up exactly.  However, the use of a long screw took care of a, now, tiny problem.



As you can see, it worked out pretty good.  It holds rather nicely.

However then came a problem I did not forsee.  This happens with older guitar or bass necks.  With no tension on it, the neck is straight.  But with the strings at full tension the heal kicks up.  So I am torn between having insanely high action, or the frets not being playable from the 12th fret up. 

Now, the normal way to correct this is to yank out the frets below the 12th fret, shave the fingerboard, and replace the frets.  However, the fingerboard is maple, and if I shave it I will have to re-finish it.  Right now, I don't have time for that.  I have to make the bass somewhat playable for the next gig. 

Once we cross that bridge, I will go back and start work on it.  I might be able to shave the frets down, and make it playable.  But I'll deal with that when I get there. 

I knew I would be a pain to put this thing together, but I didn't think it would be "THIS" much of a pain.  I did a lot more work on this thing than I had planned to. 

But here's the result.  Not too bad.



Wednesday, October 22, 2014

How a Few Jackholes Ruined Halloween For My Entire Childhood

October is my favorite time of year.  I love it.  It's the time in Florida where it goes from 95 degrees to a more manageable 82 degrees.  It's the only time of the year that the humidity drops under 50%.  And of course there is candy.  So much candy.  Thank you Halloween!

Let's be honest, next to Christmas, Halloween is just the best holiday for kids.  You get free candy from all the people in the neighborhood.  To this day, Halloween is my favorite holiday.  I just absolutely love it. 

However, Halloween was ruined during my entire childhood due to a few jackholes.  Let me start with this.  I was born in 1976.  So I was in first grade in 1982.  So let me set up a few things that were happening in the 80's.  People were very concerned for the children.  It was all about the children.  Looking back, I don't know what is worse.  People overly concerned with children like they were back then, or how they let them run like feral dogs these days.  But I digress.

Stay at home Moms were concerned for the children.  First off there was heavy metal music.


And then there was Satanists.  (Really, it seemed to be a big thing in the 80's.)


On a side note, I've never come across a Satanist.  Not in the 80's, not now.  But for some reason, everyone was sure they were hanging around in the 80's.

But worse of all were the heavy metal Satanists.


But the absolutely the worst thing out there was jackholes putting needles and pins in candy.  Now, this legend had been around since the 60's.  The rumors were that people put poison in candy, however, no one actually knew anyone that happened to.  Even the news couldn't find anyone.  But the new thing was that evil, morally corrupt persons were putting needles and pins in candy. 

Again, it was mostly urban legend, until 1982.  You know what happened then?  Some murderer (and yes I use that word) laced a bunch of aspirin with poison and killed a bunch of people.  If you ever wondered why medicine has all those seals now you know why. 

Here's the Wiki page on it:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicago_Tylenol_murders

So let's set the stage.  Some waste of a human being poisons people in 1982.  Come Halloween 1982, and the fury of people worrying about people poisoning kids candy is full on crazy mode.

This is a true story.  I was in first grade, and my grade school teacher asks my class why you should have your parents look over your candy when you get it home.  I was the first (and I think only) one to raise my hand, and smartly answer that it was because crazy people were putting needles and razor blades in candy.  You know what happened.  The entire class laughed at me.  (True.  So true.)  I started to cry.  You know how it feels in first grade to have your entire class laugh at you? 



However, my teacher Mrs. Scott was a strong black woman.  That's the short way to say she didn't take no crap and was kind of a bitch to us most the time.  She immediately shut the class up, and told them in no uncertain terms that what I said was true.  And how would they like to bite down on needles and razor blades?  Basically she jumped all over them, and told them that they were going to have to get serious about checking their candy or risk dying.  That really did shut them up.

So you can now see how that sets the stage for trick or treating in the 80's.  My parents did what they thought was the responsible thing.  For me there was no costume.  There was no trick or treating.  There was no candy.  That's right.  I was not allowed to go trick or treating.  And we're not talking about just one year.  We're talking about every year except for one. 

And that one year I went to three houses.  My little old lady neighbor on the left.  My little old lady neighbor on the right.  And my babysitter.  That was it.  No other houses.  And you know what my Mom did when I got home?  That's right.  She went through all my candy.  All nine pieces.  And the funny thing, she found one Mini-Crunch bar that had a corner kind of torn, and she threw that out.  (Really, I can't make this stuff up.)

Other than that one Halloween, I never went trick or treating.  At the house, we gave out plenty of candy.  Lot's of people knew our family, and our house was on the main drag so people knew we were good folks to get candy from.   It really made me angry.  Here we gave out a bunch of candy to all these kids, a lot of them I went to school with, but I couldn't go get candy.  Year after year after dismal year this happened.

Now years later, and also thanks to Snopes, we know that most of this was urban legend and old wives tales.  Seriously, kids these days have the internet and have no idea about old wives tales.  But when I was a kid I'm sure they took up at least 15% of my day.  In all fairness I did have women teachers through grade school. 

Basically, it took urban legends combined with old wives tales, with just one or two "real" cases plus that jackhole who poisoned the Tylenol bottles to ruin Halloween for my entire childhood.  I realize every parent does the best they can.  My parents just didn't want to take the chance of me getting hurt.  I can't fault them with that.  I just lay the fault with the previous named jackholes. 

You'd think that would have ruined me for Halloween.  I mean, just by writing this post you can see just how bitter I still am over what happened during my childhood.  But no.  It is still my favorite holiday.  But still, the inner kid in my still wants to go trick or treating.


Editor's Note:  For those of you who think I am taking "artistic license" with this, take a read of this Snopes article. 

http://www.snopes.com/horrors/mayhem/needles.asp

Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Bass! Part 3, Punk Rock Bass

Part 1:  http://angjellockheart.blogspot.com/2014/10/the-bass-there-are-no-such-things-as.html

Part 2:  http://angjellockheart.blogspot.com/2014/10/the-bass-part-2.html

So I have been having problems with the wiring.  Seriously, I've been working something like a week on it.  But instead of making a long story out of it, I'll just say this.  It seems one of the volume pots was bad, and not sending enough signal through to the tone pot.  That's why I couldn't get the tone pot to work.

I do want to say now that the volume is LOUD!!!  Now that I have a proper working volume pot, it's surprising just how loud these Dragonfire active pickups are.  I can't wait to get strings on this bass.

And simply put, I yanked out everything, and started with all new parts.



So after getting all the electronics working, I made holes for all the screws, and fitted the pickguard and output jack. 

Even though I don't have the bridge yet, I used my straight edge to get a proper angle on how I should shim the neck.  I used a rather thick piece of wood, and shimmed it.  It came out exactly how I wanted.  I may have to adjust it further once I get the bridge in, but it's a good start.

So onto the pictures!!!






So the bass looks very worn and punk rock to me.  It was a great bass to get some practice in on a few things.  More to come when I get the bridge in the mail, and get the bass finally set up.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Bass! Part 2

Here's part 1.  It might make more sense to read it first.

http://angjellockheart.blogspot.com/2014/10/the-bass-there-are-no-such-things-as.html

So I am trying to get this bass up and running.  It's not as simple as putting parts together.  There are so many things I'm having to adjust, sand, cut, and rig, just to get it to somewhat work together.

First up, let me show some pictures so everyone knows what I am talking about.



Let's go over what I'm talking about.

1.  I had to cut some foam to put under the pickups.  I then had to drill the screw holes even longer so the screws could go in.
2.  I had to adjust the pickguard even more to get those P-Bass pickups to fit in.  It was a lot of sanding and such.  Just a lot of what I have been doing.
3.  I just did away with the pots that came with the Dragonfire pickups.  I have a whole box of EMG pots, so I used them.  They are mini-pots so I can use them without having to route out part of the body.
4.  Speaking of routing...  I routed the body so the pickups would fit better.  I also routed the pickguard so I can fit it in the truss rod hex adjuster. 

Frankly, it's just a lot of nipping things in the bud here and there.  Again, universal parts are not universal! 

Up next is wiring the active pickups.  This is kind of funny, but Dragonfire didn't include a wiring diagram.  Usually I can do these without looking at a diagram, but I haven't done an active set in a while.  So I downloaded the EMG diagram.  Since these pickups are supposed to be a copy of them, I decided to just go right to the source. 

After that, I will get the neck on there, and wait for the bridge to come in the mail.  That, of course, means more blogging.  Keep posted.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

About That Time Roxy First Heard Jackyl

For those who have read my blog from the beginning you know that Roxy (not her real name) was my girlfriend for about two years.  Since we broke up, I don't really tell any stories about her due to keeping private things private.  However, this is kind of funny so I don't mind telling it.

It was on our ill-fated voyage to West Virginia.  The trip up there took something like 22 hours.  Roxy had never had to sit in a vehicle that long, and was getting completely stir crazy.  Actually she was bordering on full blown, just give me an F-ing excuse, crazy.  Let's just say she didn't ride well.

Anyway, since we couldn't really get any rock stations in West Virginia, I had my I-pod playing.  It was then that this song came on:


That's right.  With chainsaw and guitars it must be, "The Lumberjack" by Jackyl.  She just looked at the radio with disgust and said, "Is this some sort of joke?" 

To which I replied.  "No, you've got to rock me, roll me, Jackyl me off!!!" 

It seems she had never heard of Jackyl before.  That, and using a chainsaw as a lead instrument. 

For those who want a good look at what Jackyl can do live, here's "Headed for Destruction" live from Woodstock 94'. 


If you want a band that just oozes Southern Rock, grab their first album.  There's not a bad song on it. 


For the record, Roxy did enjoy quite a lot of the music I sent her.  She didn't get to listen to the broad range of music that I did while growing up.  So she was always thankful when I would give her a mix CD.  On a side note, do you all remember making a mixtape for that person you liked?  I didn't get to do that, but once I got my computer set up I was the king of making mix CD's. 

Anyway, she was always thankful when I would make her a mix CD, or send her an MP3 via E-mail.  However, after driving for so long, and going stir crazy, she was just not in the mood for Jackyl.  And now we are no longer together, and I stand alone.

(For those that don't get the joke.  "I Stand Along" was Jackyl's biggest hit off their first album.)

The Bass! There Are No Such Things As Universial Parts

I had a friend ask me about this Cort bass he acquired.  It was just a neck and body.  It was missing the pickguard, pickups, and electronics.  I told him it would cost more to get it up and running than to buy a used Fender MIM Jazz Bass at Guitar Center.  So in an act of kindness/vengeance he did something very kind/evil to me.  He gave it to me.

This is kind of two-fold good/bad.  I love all things musical.  But even for a roughed up bass that needs more work than it deserves, I just can't let go.  I can't let it go.  So I started work on it.

First off, the frets were shot.  I can do a re-fret in my sleep, so that was the first thing to be done.  And to be honest, the old frets came out easier than any other instrument I've worked on.  So this one really needed some work.






Okay, that's the quick version.  I didn't want to bore you with detail.  Let's say, it's done, Boo ya!

Next, look at this:


You know, the problem with this P-Bass?  It's not a PJ Bass!!!!!!  So I decided to add a Jazz pickup to it.  That means I moved the output jack.  You can see where I drilled the hole for it. 

Let's move on.  Here's the nice little hole I drilled for the Jazz pickup.



I decided to give the Dragonfire active pickups a try.  I was thinking about GFS pickups, but let's be honest, Artec makes all the overseas pickups, I figure there couldn't be too much difference between the two, but that will be in another post.

Here is me fitting the Jazz Bass pickup.




And here is me trying to fit the pickguard to the body.


This is going to be tough.  The Cort has it's own type of pickguard.  So I am making due with what I have.  I had to widen the pickup route for the pickup.  I may have to route out the wood to fit these P-Bass pickups.  I will also have to route out a spot for the truss rod adjuster.  I will then have to make all new holes for the screws.  Not to mention, a new bridge is on it's way from Hong Kong. 

Here's something that I have never encountered before.  When Dragonfire pickups shipped the parts, they included the correct pots.  However, they didn't send any washers, lock washers, or nuts.  What's up with that?  I've never had that happen before.  Never.

So obviously my work is far from done.  What does that mean?  Another blog post of course!  Stay tuned.  I may get a working bass, I may get a pile of junk, who knows?

Adrian Needs a Permanent Vacation

It's true.  I need a permanent vacation.  But not the one you think.  One of the first rock n' roll albums that I ever got was Aerosmith's "Permanent Vacation."  I can remember getting it for my birthday in 1987.  That would have made me 11 years old.  I have to say it honestly changed the way I think about rock n' roll. 


And in all honesty, I still have my original tape from my birthday in 1987.



When I was in college I was in my "vinyl" faze.  Guess what I came across?  That's right.  Did I buy it?  You bet I did.



And yes, that is the exact picture of my "Permanent Vacation" vinyl album. 

So it occurred to me a few weeks ago, that this album that I have ranked #2 of my greatest personal albums of all time is not in my collection on CD.

Well, I checked on Ebay, and it turned out that a lot of old CDs are being sold for .99 cents plus shipping.  Well, a little over three bucks and five days later I had this in my hands.



It's not in great condition, but it works in my car's CD player, and that's all that counts. 

I now feel compete as I put both "Permanent Vacation" and "Pump" on my Ipod.  Since I've talked about it so much, you might as well give it a listen.


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Good and Evil, Right and Wrong, Acidity and Alakaline

I have always loved fish.  Let me clarify, I have loved having fish as pets.  From about the time I was 12 I really studied up on them to learn how a fishtank worked.  During that time a lot of the equipment changed.  The good news is it changed for the better.  So I learned how to use a lot of the new equipment to make a better tank.

However, there was one weak point.  I was/am terrible at chemistry, which is kinda important when you have a fishtank.  Truthfully, I failed both halves of chemistry in high school.  I failed high school chemistry again in college.  When I took it a second time I would have failed it, but the professor took pity on me, and gave me a "C."

I worked at many pet stores.  They hired me due to my strengths in knowing how the big world of fish and fishtanks work.  Once I was there, I was the "go to" guy on all things fish.

So when I started having problems with my own fishtank lately I was a little more than upset.  I was switching my tank over from tetras, which I have had for almost 20 years to gouramis.  At first, I was suspect of the place I was getting them from.  Independent stores can either be really hit or miss.  It was when I brought home two beautiful gouramis that died within 24 hours that I started to suspect the problem was on my end.

Long story short, I got my acidity and alkaline mixed up on the PH scale.  I got them completely backwards.  Since I am pulling my water straight out of the well, it was really alkaline due to the limestone we have in the Florida aquifer.  My water was coming in at a 7.8 PH.  Now gouramis can live at that PH water, but when they come from the pet store with water at 6.6 PH, it tends to kill them.

When I realized my mistake I started testing everything.  The well water, the water out of the sink, the fishtank, and most importantly, the water out of the rain barrel.  Yes, my sister has a rain collection barrel for certain plants in her garden.  When I tested it, it came in at a perfect 7.0 PH, completely neutral.  So I changed my tank water over 70%.  When I tested it, it came in at 7.0 PH. 

So I went to the store and bought 6 new gouramis.  2 blue, 2 gold, 2 pearl.  A few days later I went to another pet store and bought 4 opaline gouramis.  So those ten, along with the original 3, plus the pleco are doing fine.  I haven't lost one yet.  They are getting along, and so far I haven't detected any problems. 

Honestly, I am mad at myself.  I know everyone makes mistakes.  But I hold myself to a higher level in that I was supposed to be a sort of "fish specialist."  But I'm glad I got it right now. 

So to end this story, here are the pictures and some video.