Sunday, August 30, 2015

The Razor's Edge

Let's be honest.  I'm kind of a hairy guy.  Which is kind of funny in that, most of the men in my Father's family are bald and generally hairless.  But not me.  I take after my Mother's Brothers.  I am dark haired and have plenty of hair.

So when it comes to shaving I am particular about what I use.  For the last 25 years or so I have used the Gillette Sensor.  It has two blades, and works well in cutting around my beard.

Yesterday I was looking for a new Gillette Sensor handle as my had worn out, and I couldn't find one.  I asked one of the workers there, and he said they were phasing it out.  Namely, they had a bunch of new models they were concentrating on pushing.  They still had the razor blades for sale, but they weren't going to produce the handles anymore.  You know what they have in it's place?  This.

You know what the "big" selling point for this razor is?  It has five blades.  FIVE BLADES?  Really guys?  That's three more than needed.  For those of us with beards we need precision to cut our beards.  I need to be able to cut a straight line with my razor.  I don't need five blades.  That just makes it harder to keep my beard looking normal, and not like a five year old decided to cut it.

And I'll admit, I'm not the first to talk about this problem.  They were making fun of this years ago.  But my main problem is that, they've stopped producing the Sensor, thus forcing me to buy a razor blade with three, four, or five blades.  I would even consider going to a straight razor if I didn't think I would cut my throat wide open and die in my own bathroom. 

You would have thought some of the folks at Gillette would have seen these "commercials" about razors with a lot of blades.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Play Guitar

I don't really talk about my band/music/playing out here on my blog page.  I try to keep them separate.  I think if I started to talk about my music on here, I would just do it constantly, and that would turn a lot of readers off. 

But I still start at the beginning.  I have a band (of which it seems that I am the only member) called Possum Apple.  I put out a self produced album called, "This Divided Highway."  You can hear the entire album up on Reverbnation.

My bandmate/producer/friend Josh was the one who did all the percussion.  Unfortunately, he left to pursue other projects.  This happened just before the album was released.  So I played one album release party, and haven't really played much since.  I did play a few open mics here and there, but it wasn't anything consistent.

The fault lies with me.  I really didn't want to get outside of my comfort zone.  I would play the open mic at Sacred Grounds Coffee House, but nothing else.  But in the last few weeks, I've had a friend Nick, who has helped me get out of the house, and go to a few other open mics.

It seems that the local Sam Ash music store has different open mics.  The singer-songwriter night is on Wednesday.  The cool thing is that they give you a $10 store gift certificate for playing.  And if you do this week after week, those gift certificates start to add up.  I've been wanting a new guitar strap and some tubes.  So after playing a few weeks, I will be able to nab a few of those while spreading my music to a new audience.

A friend of mine, Phil, hosts a blues jam at Gaspar's Grotto in Ybor City.  The thing I like about blues jams is the crowd.  They tend to be older, and my Americana style music goes over really well with them.  The other fun thing is that, since we play outside at Gaspar's, we can turn the amps up, and the sound won't be overpowering like it would be inside.

I've played there twice, and my music has gone over really well.  And I have to admit I was worried.  I know my music is a touch out there, and may not be liked at all.  However, I had people in the audience laughing.  Even the other musicians (in the band, "Eyes Above Me") were holding up their hands doing "the wave" while I was playing my song "Buffalo."  I think it also really helped that I had other musicians playing with me, so I had a full band playing my songs. 

Thing went really well.  It went so well, it occurred to me that I forgot to bring hard copies of my album to sell.  I think I could have sold a few of them.  Oh well, next time I'll make sure to bring them.

A new friend I met, Robert, told me he hosted an open mic at the newer, hipper coffee shop near USF called "The Boba House."  Again, it's tough to play in front of younger, hipper college students, in that, you never know what they will think of your music.  A lot of them have no idea what Americana is.  Most think I'm playing country music.

When Florida Ave. Ales hosted their first open mic, I was the first one to play.  So I've been proud of that.  However, the open mic only seemed to last two weeks, and then it was gone.  I found out it was still being hosted, and was able to play it the other day. 

It's weird, in that, I feel like I am touring for my album that I released a while ago.  I have the second album pretty much ready to go.  I just need to get the money together to get the ball rolling. 

When it comes down to it, I think John Mellencamp said it best when he said, "Forget about all that macho shit, and learn how to play guitar!"  And that's what I'm doing.  I'm just going out there, and playing guitar.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Not Another Project! Combo Amp Time!

Not another project!  It's time I finished my other projects before I start another one right?  Well, this has a good purpose.  Since I am playing small venues I really need a small amp.  I've been carrying around an 80 pound SUNN amp from the 70's.  It sounds so awesome, but I just can't carry that thing around anymore.

So I decided to perform a bit of building, modding, and customizing.  Let me start at the beginning.  For my birthday I received an Epiphone Valve Junior amp head.

These are some of the most customizable amps on the market.  I plan on buying a Bitmo kit that will add sound options for this head.  Next I will build a combo amp cabinet out of some of the nice wood I have lying around. 

I am still deciding on what speaker I will be using, but that is still a ways off.  I would like to use a alnico speaker, but those are so expensive.  And even though alnico speakers have a certain bluesy sound that can't be beat, there are some ceramic speakers that overdrive faster that I am seriously considering.  Either way, I plan on using a 10 inch speaker for a tighter sound. 

So I plan on updating my blog with new pictures once I get some work accomplished.  I have a good feeling that this project will come out pretty nice.