Thursday, December 24, 2015

Adrian's Year In Review: The Best Blogs of 2015

Yep, it's that time of year again.  Where I count down the most viewed blogs and my personal favorite blogs of the year.  This past year, 2015, didn't see as many views as past years.  However, I am not in this for the views.  I do this because I like it. 

Long ago, all the way back in 2008, I started this blog over on Myspace.  I made a promise that I would average one blog per week.  This year I have 55 blogs with this review blog being number 56.  It's the most blogs I've written in a year since 2012 (65 blogs.)  2013 saw me write 55 blogs, and 2014 saw 53 blogs. 

So to start off, I will count down the top five most viewed blogs.  As I remind everyone every year, this is a bit unfair to myself.  A blog that I posted in January has 11 more months to be viewed than a blog that's posted in December.  But writers can't be choosers so here's the countdown. 

Now, I usually do a top 5 countdown.  But this year, I've had something that hasn't happened in a long time.  A tie.  There was a three way tie at number 6, so I thought I would include them.

6.  (Tie)  27 Views.

100,000 Miles

After 14 years my car finally flipped 100,000 miles. 

6.  (Tie)  27 Views.

Getcha Pull!!!! New Guitar Day: Dean Razorback

I got a killer deal on a guitar that I always wanted. 

6.  (Tie)  27 Views.

Hood Problems: Part 1, Strangers With Candy

I was assigned to the worst place I had ever been to.  When your own boss tells you to get out of that place, you don't argue.

5.  28 Views.

Draught of Living Death? Wait what?

A Harry Potter blog?  You bet.  I have a number of questions for J.K.  This is one of them.

4.  29 Views.

The Angel's Trumpet Plant In My Yard Is Mocking Me

The yard and I have a hate/hate relationship.  This is just one part of it.

3.  31 Views

Rich People Are Weird, Or, How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Act Like A House-Elf

The best stories are the true ones.  This one has so much truth that it goes into beyond weird territory.

2.  32 Views

New Pedal Day: Blue

I bought a guitar pedal that hadn't really been reviewed.  So a lot of folks looked up my review online to see what I thought of it.

1.  57 Views.

New Pedal Day: Biyang Overdrive

Again, I posted a review of a neat guitar pedal, and players wanted to know my thoughts on it.

Now onto my personal favorites of the year.

5.  Beyonce, I Hate To Break It To You, But....

I have bad news to break to Beyoncé, and she isn't going to like it.

4.  Rich People Are Weird, Or, How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Act Like A House-Elf

When you go from working one extreme to the other it can make life kind of hairy.

3.  How Do I Woo That Special Gal Without Being Seen As A Stalker?

I suck at girls.  This blog proves it.

2.  Songs In The Key Of C...anadian

My Dad is a smartass from a long line of smartasses.  This blog only proves it.

1.  I Am The Table

Even though it's been a view years since that disastrous, "Lulu" album from Metallica and Lou Reed, I hadn't had a chance to give it the ribbing it deserved... until now. 

So that's it everyone.  Another year and I have achieved my blog goal.  I will remain committed to my writing.  In a way, I hope weird things continue to happen to me.  I get the best blogs that way.  Happy holidays and happy new year.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

The Combo Amp Project

I like playing out musically.  The problem is I don't really have an amp that's small enough (power wise) to not blow out the windows.  Marshall stacks are awesome, but you can't really play coffeehouses with them.  I could buy a small cheap amp, but cheap amps sound... well cheap. 

So I decided to make a project out of my needs.  I want a small tube combo amp that I can easily carry to places.  I liked the Epiphone Valve Jr. since it was simple.  It is a 5 watt, 1 pre-amp tube, 1 power tube amp.  It has a single volume control and that's it.  Again a very simple amp.

I received the head version for my birthday, and received the Bitmo mod kit for Christmas.  The Bitmo trio mod will add a tone knob and a three way voicing switch to the head.  I then built a cabinet to hold the amp chassis and a speaker. 

I was planning on using a 10 inch American sounding speaker but I was able to trade a WGS Veteran 30 speaker for the American sounding WGS C12 C/S speaker.  So now that I have everything, let's go to the pictures.  That way you can see what I am talking about.

First up, I built the cabinet out of some mahogany that I have had lying around for a couple years.

I used the 90 degree angle tool to make sure I had all the pieces of wood lined up correctly.  I also made sure all the holes for the head were lined up properly. 

Next I put in the support pieces of wood on the side so that the chassis can slide in on top of it. 

I then fitted a piece of plywood to hold the speaker.

As I said earlier, I was planning on using a 10 inch speaker, but the 12 inch one was too good to pass up.  As you can see, the wood on the sides of the cabinet are on the outside, and the screws go east/west.  Originally, the sides were going to be underneath the top piece, and screwed in north/south.  But to make room for the speaker I had to change it.  Luckily it worked. 

So I was able to use my scroll saw and sander to cut the hole perfectly for the speaker.  I was also very careful choosing the screws and drilling the holes for cabinet.

I had some leftover tweed grill cloth from a previous project, and it is exactly what I need for this project.  With use of some clips and a staple gun, I was able to get the grill cloth even and tight.

Next up is the electronics part.

I made sure the holes were drilled and the two switches were properly fitted before I started the electronics soldering. 

Here are pictures of my table set-up.  I wanted to use the kitchen table so I could set my computer next to me for help.  I also had my trusty lamp next to me. 

Here is my speaker hooked up to the amp.  It was fun to have my speaker pointed straight up into the air.  It was definitely loud enough. 

Here is my work.  Lots of wires everywhere, but everything is where it is supposed to be, and most importantly of all, it works. 

So I will do a "Part 2."  I will show the progress of the cabinet as I finish it, and I will include sound samples when I have it all put together. 

Monday, December 14, 2015

Anger Rising

So I've been angry lately.  There's been a lot of stupid stuff going around, and I'm a bit sick of it.  So my anger has been a bit on the rise. 

But the question I thought to myself is, "how angry am I really?"  On a scale of .... oh who cares.  Scales mean different things to different people so it doesn't really work well.  I need a better way to express how angry I am.

So I thought about the one guy who was really pissed at someone.  That would be Zeus.  Now we are talking Greek God angry. 

I am referring to Zeus' anger at Prometheus.  No, not this guy:

On a side note I still want to kick Damon Lindelof in the nuts for what he did to that movie.  They said it was one of the best scripts Hollywood had seen in a long time.  It also answered all the questions that people had from the "Alien" movies.  But then Lindelof comes along, and decides to get it all "Mystified" and stuff.  Now we are going to have to have a second Prometheus movie to explain all the stuff that the second one didn't tell us.  But I digress.

I am talking about this Prometheus:

Prometheus was one of the original Titans who gave fire to humankind, and was punished for this by Zeus.  Which leads me to one of the biggest angry decisions I've ever heard of.  Zeus had Prometheus chained to a rock on a mountainside. 

Prometheus didn't get:

  • Food
  • Water
  • Bathroom break
  • Relief
  • Exercise
  • A Lawyer
  • A one way ticket to Tartarus.
  • Or anything that the U.N. would say he was entitled to.
No, he was chained to a rock 24/7.  Then everyday a giant eagle (some say a vulture) came to the rock, and ate his internal organs (some versions specify his liver.)  That's right.  Every single day that bird would come and eat all of Prometheus' guts.  Every single day. 

Why every single day?  Well, since Prometheus was a Titan that made him immortal.  So every night his wounds would regenerate, only to be ripped out the very next day.  He wouldn't die and go to Tartarus.  He could only live, chained to the rock, damned to have his guts torn out by that giant bird.

On a funny side note, it was actually Hercules that rescued Prometheus from his bondage on the mountaintop.  So Prometheus did eventually get away from that situation.

But it makes me think.  That is some serious anger.  I mean that is beyond cruel and unusual punishment.  When they said that the Gods were cruel, they weren't kidding. 

If Zeus had a theme song for his vengeance, I assume it would be this:

Saturday, December 5, 2015

I Am The Table

I was looking at my "On this day" feed on Facebook.  It's this neat feature where you can see your posts on this day from previous years.  I started on Facebook back in 2010 so I have five previous years I can view. 

One of my posts from 2011 confused me.  I was wondering if I was having one of those "Adrian" type moments that I am known for.  I mean, when I confuse even me I know I am out there.  I simply wrote:

Here's something for all my bourgeois headbangers, "I AM THE TABLE!!!!!!" For the rest of you, I'll explain later.

So what the hell was I thinking.  I then looked under the comments and found this:

Go to the 2:10 mark:

Then it hit me.  It's from the song "The View," by Lou Reed and Metallica.  James Hetfield just keeps repeating over and over that he is the table.  My thoughts on this back then were this:

 I couldn't do it. I just couldn't justify paying a total of $17 for the new Lou Reed/ Metallica album. James Hetfield may be the table, but I am not an idiot.

I then went on to say:

The songs I have heard sound like two albums playing at the same time. I just don't get it.

Also, why is James the table?

I would say that James owes us a heck of an explanation.  I suspect this would be his response.

I found this video and it made a lot of sense to me.  Watch it, and I think everything will be explained.

I got to thinking about it, and there are a few things that I am okay with James Hetfield being.

1.  The Master of Puppets.
2.  The Thing That Should Not Be.
3.  The Unforgiven.
4.  The Harvester of Sorrow.
5.  I would even settle for James being Some Kind of Monster.

But I just can not accept him being "The Table."

Now that it's four years later, I wonder if I can find "Lulu" in the 99 cent bin?  Then I might be able to give the entire album a proper listen.

Now that I have bitched about this song and album, I wonder what my next Metallica song that I bitch/blog about will be?

Here's a hint:

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

My Yoyo Loach Is About To Explode

I have written numerous blogs about my fishtank.  During the last 20 years of my life I have enjoyed having egg laying types of fish.  Namely, tetras, barbs, and gouramis.  But in the last year I have added a fun type of fish, yoyo and clown loaches. 

These are fun active bottom feeders that also get rid of any snails that wander into the tank.  They have really added a lot of movement into my fishtank.  They are also great community fish, and get along with all the other fish I have in there.

What's also nice is that they are egg-layers so I don't have to worry about babies in the tank.  I found out I didn't like live bearers in that, they would have 30 babies, and then die.  Then 28 of the babies would die.  It was too much dying for me.  So imagine my surprise when I look over into my fishtank ,and see this.

I mean, how can she even swim straight being shaped like that?  Honestly, it looks like I photoshopped that picture.  I can barely believe it is real.

But yes, that is one of my yoyo loaches.   Or should I say that is half a loach and half roe (fish eggs.)  I honestly have no idea why she is so filled with roe.  Usually in a tank setting they will not lay eggs. 

However, after reading on the web, the one way for them to lay eggs that will grow up to be baby loaches is to do a huge water change, and then lower the temperature in the fishtank by five degrees.  And then I have to hope that one of the other yoyo loaches in the tank is a male. 

But the thing that worries me is if she will live after laying all those eggs?  I'm worried it will be way too much stress on her.