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


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.