Friday, February 27, 2015

The Loach: Nature's Spaz

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, February 15, 2015

New Pedal Day: Blue

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, February 2, 2015

The Wheels On The Cab Go Round And Round

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

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

So it was time to put wheels on it.

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

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

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

That Will Be The Death Of Me, Part 3

Part 1.

Part 2.

Well it's over.  It seems that I have outlived the palm tree that I was sure that was going to be the end of me.  Of course, I was blamed for killing it, so I have no idea if I was overturning my own prophecy or just not knowing how to trim a tree.

Here is what is left of the palm.

Just a mound of nothingness. 

Here's a wide view.

So now comes the question, "What do I do?"  I mean, I have now outlived the tree that was destined to kill me.  I worry that another tree will take it's place, and rise up to avenge it's fore-bearer. 

This is not the time for me to rest on my laurels, but to safeguard against any and all plants that might try to rise up, and strike me down.

That, or I can quit being so damn dramatic.