Saturday, February 28, 2009

A Little Blue… A Little Red…

I set up 8 scenes on the light board so we have something useable next Saturday night. I refuse to use what they call "chases" (a sequence of scenes with fade times and longevities) because you have to enter program mode to play them back. That's like opening a file with read/write access when you only need to read it; dangerous and just plain stupid. So in the event that the new one doesn't arrive in time, Lodin will be able to choose from 8 different scenes. But you can only switch between those scenes; no cross–fades. If you hit Scene 1, it changes to Scene 1. If you hit Scene 1 again, it turns those lights off. I would almost buy the argument that the scene selector buttons act as toggles. But then if you hit Scene 1 a 3rd time, not a goddamn thing happens. So much for the toggle theory. Do they only let the criminally insane design lighting controllers? Wasn't there something equally stupid on our Sunn board? Then think back to the TFLB (Tim's Fucking Light Board), which was the bastard offspring of the Black Diemond light board (sans funny name). They were boards—and I mean wooden boards—nailed and/or screwed together to form a sort of wedge, and they had light switches mounted to them. On meant on. Off meant off. TFLB was also covered with duct tape, most likely to make it look more hi–tech.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Mayors Can't be Funny?

A California mayor was forced to resign after he forwarded a funny picture with the title "No Easter egg hunt this year". Why? Because some uptight black woman on his distribution list (that was his only mistake) has the sense of humor of a zit. I mean come on—that's hilarious!

Too Ugly to Hook

If you're too ugly to be a hooker, then get to pimpin'. It works for teenage girls too, as Jazmine and Alfalfa Tatiana found out.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Safari 4 Beta

I don't know why, but Apple has been listening to idiots lately. Maybe it's all the NeXT bozos that pushed Cocoa and killed Carbon C++ development. You know, C++, the language the entire world uses. Objective–C? Not so much. Anyhoo, now they've added a couple few completely insane features to Safari.

Top Sites: It gives you a window full of thumbnails for the sites you visit most often. Hmm, so if someone visits mostly news sites, they do so because they like to read stories, not look at pictures that cover the entire web page. So when their favorite sites are shrunk down to a thumbnail, they're unreadable. Therefore, what the fuck good does a bunch of thumbnails do? Also, they have to be generated by downloading the entire web page, so there's a shitload of internet traffic being wasted, and we certainly don't need any more of that these days.

Cover Flow view of bookmarks: A good idea 1% of the time.

Tabs on top: You just have to see this abomination to appreciate how utterly stupid it is. It destroys the look of the titlebar. It destroys the behavior of the titlebar. They react to background clicks, which is not a good thing. To sum up: fucking stupid.

Luckily, you can completely turn this shit off. Apple sure has been pissing me off the last few years. Still, they aren't Microsoft.

Edit: I also hate the loss of the page load progress in the address field, replaced by a indeterminate busy spinny thing. The page load progress is so helpful. I'm always keeping an eye on it so I know if the page is really done. This is useful when filling out a form, which may not be completely loaded, or long blog type pages that have hundreds of images on many different sites; if you see it's going slow, you should refrain from scrolling, because image loads will cause the page to jump away from where you've scrolled to, or you can see it'll take forever so you can cancel the load. A simple spinny thing only says, "yup, still a–loadin'. Not sure when we'll be done, and I'm not about to give you even a rough guess." Stupid spinny thing. Thankfully there's also a hidden pref to revert to the old, useful way.

Crazy Scientists Are Like Women

Don't let them drive, especially if they're in a DeLorean that can fly. And the Enterprise is parked in orbit around Earth.

TC Electronic Bass Amp

TC Electronic makes some neat stuff. The reverb/delay unit I got for the PA is from them. Now they're making a digital bass head, much like the discontinued Yamaha that Kim uses. This one has a built–in tuner, which is fantastic. The Yamaha has 5 presets to this one's 3, but this does have a very cool optional footswitch that includes a mute button and tuner display. The NAMM videos are interesting. The Spanish chick is pretty good, but she needs to not speak or sing. Bleagh. But check out Steve Bailey on the 6–string fretless playing Eleanor Rigby.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Terminate DMX

And while I might mean to pop a cap in the rapper of that name, what I'm really talking about is building a DMX terminator for our new lights. They say it will prevent data signals from bouncing back or other oddities. I found a diagram that shows how to wire up a terminator and a tester/terminator. Since the tester has LEDs in it, I made that one.

Much to my surprise, my little drawer of resistors had no 270Ωs, so I made a trip up to Radio Shack. I also got a cheap Radio Shack XLR plug, rather than waste a good one. Then I dug through my LED drawer and found 2 tiny ones that matches brightness and opacity; one green and one orange (all the reds were clear rather than milky). It was fun soldering it up. I wish I had more opportunities to screw with electronics like I used to. Since I don't want to fuck around and fill it up with resin like he suggests, I put a small hunk of shrinkwrap around one solder joint and then wrapped electrical tape around the whole mess and shrunk it a bit with the little butane torch.

Everything checked out with the multimeter and both LEDs worked when I supplied some voltage in both directions from a nearby DeWalt 18V tool battery. So I cleaned up the tools and plugged it into the last light. I powered it all up and slid some faders around and punched some buttons. No LEDs. Hmm. I then plugged it right into the back of the board and they lit up a tiny bit. I guess I could've used a smaller resistor for the LEDs, or maybe more sensitive LEDs. Oh well. It was more fun that going out and shooting a rapper. Just a little.

More Band Drama

God damn it. What happened to the days when bands just worked together, got along, and had a blast? Craig replaced Jack, which was like space ships replacing the hose & buggy. After a few weeks, Emily announced that she and Craig were going to date. John says, "bad idea, don't fuck up the band" and Kim & I are happy for them, although I had this underlying suspicion. After a week of that, Emily says she had to break it off because he was waaayy too serious about it. Craig, adding that heartbreak to the existing cutback on his job hours and worry of being laid off, got depressed and thought he should quit the band so he wouldn't have to deal with seeing her. Within a few days, he seemed to get over that enough and we practiced a couple times and played our first gig with him. They talked afterwards and he decided he could deal with it and would stay. Then other stuff happened that I won't go into, and he's out again. Fuck!

Perhaps our next guitarist can be an android that will play like a sumbitch and not speak or have feelings. Maybe they'll build one of those next at EVHGear.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Wolfy

There's a neat little video interview with Eddie and the guys who helped create The Wolfgang, Eddie's new production guitar, as well as the history behind its creation. Just go the EVHGear site and click around. I'm not a fan of factory re–creations of famous guitars, but it's interesting to see all the changes and hacks and damage that his Frankenstein guitar has been through over the years.

Monday, February 23, 2009

We be Jammin'

Craig came over yesterday to jam a bit. We played a few songs from 2112. That was a blast. I knew he loved to play ZZ Top, so I did the little t-t-tip da-dip, t-t-tip da-dip thing on the rim to start out La Grange and he joined right in. Then Kim came down and I said we should teach her the song. That took all of 30 seconds. Haven't played that for nearly 2 decades.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Light up the Sky

Today guitarist John & I went over to Metro Light & Sound again, this time before they closed. They lave lots of stuff. We ended up with 8 of these Chauvet 1–watt LED pars, 2 of these little LED par 38s to put shine up onto my drums from below, and this board. There's quite a learning curve when you get into this DMX controlled stuff; channels, banks, scenes, addresses, ids, DIP switches (yay, I get to enter binary numbers), etc. Those 8 pars are maybe the size of a par 46 and put out maybe as much as a par 56 with a 300W spot. The beam is surprisingly tight. I thought the LEDs would just flood our the light and the can would control it, but each LED is a lens, so they're very directional. I doubt we'll ever need to use the barn doors, but they do provide nice damage control while in transport.

So no more hot lights, which is good in most cases, but will be missed on those occasions when it's really cold in the bar, or to light a cigarette with a solar cigarette lighter. And never again will we blow a breaker because of lights. Oh, they have little fans in them, I guess to keep the CPU cool. So it sounds like a rack of computers up on the light tree.

Rad Bike

Look at this very nifty looking 1937 BMW prototype. As Brent said, "this Bavarian motor works."

Pretenders Still Good

This just in: The Pretenders are still good. Chrissie sounds as good as ever. Martin is really rock steady after all these years, but still throws in little flashy bits. They also have a pedal steel player, since some of the stuff on Break up the Concrete has a tasty twang. He and the lead guitarist were trading licks, which rocked. I love the sound of distorted slide or steel guitar, although not the George Thorogood flavor.

The opening act was American Bang, a 4–piece stoner rock band from Nashville. I really liked them. Very Fu Manchu/Wolfmother sounding, with a slight Southern "let's drink beer" edge. The bass player had his right forearm in a cast with his pinky and ring finger held out straight, so he had a very whole¶ndash;arm strumming–with&ndashpick style, very reminiscent of Lemmy.

The only goofy thing of the evening was some chick handing out leaflets at the end that said "Chrissie has a message she'd like you to read." It was a PETA thing with anti–meat quotes from famous people. OK then.

Friday, February 20, 2009


The band is going to see The Pretenders tonight. I didn't really care about seeing them, but everybody else wanted to go, so I bowed to peer pressure. Plus I hate going into Minneapolis. Oh well. The new album has some good stuff. And Martin Chambers is still playing drums, although it was studio legend Jim Keltner on the album.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Cool Gun

I think my brother had this incredible toy gun or something like it around 1966. It might've been different, because none of the videos made reference to loading up the grenades/missiles with a cap (as in "cap gun" cap—we had these Mattel Greenies (if they move from there, lemme know—I grabbed the photo)), and they were red with his gun. There was a little spring–loaded hinged lid sort of thing on the front end of the grenades, which you opened up and slid a single cap into. When it landed, it would compress and ignite the cap. I was only 3 or 4, so I never got to shoot it, and he must've broken it by the time I was of shootin' age, because I never inherited it.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

You Must Acquit

Heh. O.J. in his very first TV role, Dragnet, 1968. I guess he figured he'd be better off killing people than being a cop. Also, the guy in the brown and black jacket went on to play Dr. Mike Morton on Emergency!.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Friday, February 13, 2009

Fallout Fun!

You know the song The Lion Sleeps Tonight? You know how peppy and happy it is? Prepare to be a little freaked out every time you hear it from now on. This is super cool. Gladly they could harmonize without sucking. And those are one of my favorite gas masks.

First Gig of Non-Suckitude

Tomorrow is our first gig with Craig out at Doc Holiday's in Delano. It'll be so nice to not want to crawl off stage and hide when it comes time for guitar solos.

We Did It Wrong

Right at the end of version 3.0 of Jalopnik's You're Doing It Wrong is this image of a traffic map. After about 3 seconds I realized it was the Twin Cities map on the number 9. Musta been rush hour during one of those really icy days.

Detective Ferret Face

Larry Linville before he gained fame on M*A*S*H. Either he wasn't good in this role, or I just can't see him doing anything else but Frank Burns. I kept expecting him to yell "oh you… guys" at Reed and McCoy.

A Gomer Pyle Movie Theater

If we had a movie theater built out of an Quonset hut like this, I just might go out to the movies. That's very cool because it combines 2 things I like. I always thought Quonset huts were an amazing piece of engineering. So simple, yet sturdy and relatively waterproof from rain. They also have a wonderful pre–technology sort of feel to them, like you expect actual work to be going on inside them.

I was kind of young when it got torn down, but my grandpa had one between their house and barn. He kept all his tools, gardening equipment, pots, etc in there. It smelled great in there, like dirt and rust. But I don't think it was a typical corrugated metal building, but maybe plywood instead. It might've had a section of milky Fiberglas sheeting along the top to let in light. If it did, it was pretty dirty or aged, because it was really dark in there with the only windows being the door and maybe a small window in the front or on the side.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Basement Project, Part IV

Panelling is done! I mounted the speaker hangers back to the ceiling and the guitar rack back onto the wall. We need to figure out if we want to take my old desk down there and rearrange things before we proceed with making it look cool down there. And I still need to make a couple 2nd windows to better insulate the existing single-pane windows. I'll take a picture once things are less disorganized.

We might be playing at Mainstreet Bar & Grill in Hopkins. That would be a pretty big deal for us, since they get way more established acts (like with albums and shit) in there (just gander at their professional sounding booking info—we don't have an EPK). Their band schedule page is broken, and their stupid MySpace page is worthless. Arg. I eat lunch there with a fellow MultiAd geek every few months—good food.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Cool Mad Men Stuff

I wish I was an artist and could make far out Mad Men–inspired art. Then I could get a load of seriously cool Mad Men stuff directly from Matt Weiner. I want the floaty pen.

What the Viper Could Have Been

Here's a cool idea. Imagine what a Viper would've looked like had Dodge designed one in 1967. I like what he's come up with, and he did a fantastic job modeling it in a 3D app. The only really noticeable foible is the spark plug wires. Even I did a better job of modeling wires on a slow Mac many years ago. But the other attention to details is wonderful, like the hood springs.

Digital Delay (not the good kind of digital delay)

Well, the dumbass did it. Yup, Obamalamadingdong went ahead and delayed the analog shutdown until June 12. This will be the first of many stupid things he'll do.

Lodge Wagon

This is a beautiful truck—a '66 Suburban in the ultimate lodge/camping setup. I'd drive it around. I still wouldn't go fishing, but I'd look like I did.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Porn on 8–track

Some people are crazy about 8–tracks. I liked 'em, but they sucked. Turns out you could listen to porn on them too. Wow, that must be amazing. Oh god. Turn me on Mr. Roboto. Hopefully it doesn't fade out to change tracks right in the middle of an orgasm. Sadly, there's no audio there, only some small photos (the entire site is pretty low budget) of actual porno 8–track tapes that have to be seen to be believed. I don't think K–Tel ever made any of these.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Teenage Enema Nurses in Bondage

You heard me. It's a song by Killer Pussy. You heard me. Hear it here. I just got the Barnes & Barnes album Spazchow from 1997 (hey, they upgraded from a 4–track to an 8–track!), and Killer Pussy's Bikini Wax was listed on the "also available from Oglio Records" page of the CD booklet. That's how I found that. Hear 30–second snippets at Amazon. Funny and well played, sorta like Blotto with songs written and sung by a horny chick.

Groovy Packaging

Why don't they make labels for CDs that look like this? Media packaging is so blah these days. What better way to say "high fidelity" than a guy with a creepy haircut hugging an easy blonde chick? Check out the entire collection—there are some fantastic designs. I'd never heard of Maxim tapes, but it sure looks like they were riding on the Maxell branding coattails. I think the Maxell packaging layout was some of the best ever, with the alternating rows of increasing– and decreasing–width vertical lines, especially when over the gold background. I also like the old Scotch labels that used the black and yellow plaid. They're ugly, but they make me hungry for butterscotch candy.

And here's a neat collection of photos of many kinds of cassette tapes. Check out those purple Agfas! I have one of those Alsop head/capstan/pinch roller cleaners. I'm amazed at how many different brands and models look familiar to me from my collection. I always tried to stick with TDK or Maxell, but inevitably someone would give me a 3–pack of Memorex or Radio Shack for your birthday, even though I specifically asked for Maxell UDXL-II C90s. Why didn't they ever give me Happy Sound or Music to Please tapes?! I have one Teac that has the little reels inside the cassette that looks a lot like the Super Ferro on that page.

Optical Illusions

Perhaps you could even call it an optical allusion. Yes, it's about time the old familiar illustrations were replaced with something new and interesting. Not totally safe for work, but it's nothing more than you'd see at a beach.

Saturday, February 7, 2009


Heh. Here's a great Separated at Birth? with Amy Winehouse and Keef. Honestly, she's still kicking? Keith took years to get that pickled. At her rate, she should've exploded already, requiring a foam truck to contain the blaze and haz–mat suits to do the clean–up of all the toxins.

The Wolfgang

Eddie's new Fenders look pretty nice. Here's a little interview with him talking about the guitar and other stuff. "Reverend Al." Who knew? There's a longer version that you have to read. Wha!

Basement Project, Part III

I made heap big headway today. Only 2 more sheets to go (plus all the hammer drilling, slicing of insulation, and moving crap out of the way that goes with it). Kim proved a worthy helper and tacked up the panelling as I insulated the next section. She was even spouting a couple random lines from the classic WJJY Cash Call. (My favorite is "Seventeen dollars. How's that?") I think I'll keep her.

Friday, February 6, 2009

How to Reallllly Flip a Truck

Watch this amazing double flip (in the air) of a CORR truck. Notice how he stuck the landing right on all fours. That point prompted one of the most unintentionally funny reader comments I've seen in a while (lack of upper–case and punctuation is his, natch):
lets see a 13 year old chinese girl beat that
Fans of The Office will be expecting Michael to holler out "that's what she said!" This one gets points for intentional humor (an old gem for redneck stunts):
Overheard moments before… "ya'll hold my beer, I'm gonna try sumpin"


We watched The House Bunny tonight. The trailer looked like it would be funny, and it was right. Both Anna Faris and Emma Stone were really funny and have great delivery. Emma Stone was like a bunch of great comedic actors rolled into one. And Anna Faris is not hard on the eyes at all, even though she never seems to be naked. The movie lost a few points when it stooped to teenage chick movie cliches like choreographed scenes (camera dollies across the girls, who each do [action] in sequence in time to music). Either it was making fun of that genre but didn't make that point, or they really did it for the 13-year old girls in the audience.

I also forgot to mention a really good movie we watched a while back, Son of Rambow. It's a really well–made movie about 2 kids; one so fucked up by a weird religion that he has to retreat into his own imagination to find any happiness in life. Then he meets another kid who's so fucked up by a shitty family that he bullies the wimpy little god–kid. They film their own version of First Blood and become best friends. Sounds weird, eh? Perhaps, but it's very touching and enjoyable. Many times more enjoyable than The Dark Knight.

Great Big Homos

That's one way to describe the Jersey Douchebag look. And now they're all being collected in a database, making it easy to track their movement and activities, keeping the world safe from their ugliness and idiocy. Visit Hot Chicks with Douchebags for extreme laughter at the expense of supreme fucktards. The complete collection is in the left column, down a ways, under Hall of Scrote. Check out the ridiculous chin strap on Cro Bagnon. If anyone has the desire to French kiss themselves, it'd be those dweebs.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Hick Rap

I'm the first to say that rap should just go away and never be remembered, and most people will agree that white people should not try to do it, especially if they're 40- or 50-year old hicks from the South. I know one of you will think, "hey, that sounds like the P&G Safety Song." As Moral Orel would say; yikes.

Dad the Stooge

I got iLife '09 installed last night and was going through the face recognition confirmation in iPhoto. After you name a few instances of the same face, iPhoto will attempt to recognize that person in other photos. I was getting slight chuckles out of the objects that iPhoto thought were faces in some photos, like the wheel of a car or the crotch of some plastic transforming bug/robot that Kim's nephew had. I was going through the list of photos of my Dad that it thought he was in when an unfortunate gust of wind gave him Crazy Professor Hair. This led iPhoto to think that the life–size cardboard cutout of Larry Fine of the Three Stooges in my brother's house was Dad. Poor Dad. :)

What's kind of neat is that it picked photos of both me and my brother as Dad, so there must be enough family resemblance there that the recognition spotted it.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

A Day in the Life of Green Acres

By Damascas and Barnes & Barnes (you know B&B from Fish Heads, and the one B is Billy Mumy). This is genius. There's another version where the music is mixed better (you can hear both vocals equally in the "the chores, the stores" part) and it doesn't sample the build from the Beatles' version. But the video is much better in this one.


Rogue Amoeba has a new app called Pulsar that streams XM/Sirius radio. So if you have an account, it might be a better way to stream it than via their own web sites. We've had "free" XM via DirecTV for a few years now, then Kim got an account when she got her Infiniti. I really dig it. The Deep Tracks channel is one of my favorites, almost always playing something good and rarely something I've heard more than a couple times in my life. X–Country (cross country) was also a great one, playing fantastic alt country and twang (their slogan was "In twang we trust") like Robert Earl Keen, Jerry Jeff Walker, Old Crow Medicine Show, Drive–By Truckers, etc. Since merging with Sirius the channel has changed to the much hokier name Outlaw Country, sounding like something that would be a soundtrack for NASCAR commercials and only available at Wal-mart. It's somewhat the same music, although often moving in a hokier direction. The old Classic Tracks is now Classic Vinyl—also a good one, like finding a good ol' album–oriented FM radio station coming out of the past, where you suspect the DJ chose most tracks so he'd have time to go outside a burn one.

The one big caveat to satellite radio is the sound quality. You'd think a digital feed would be perfect. Nope, cuz it's compressed, both aurally (like FM stations do) and digitally (like Real audio or shitty mp3), so the highs always sound like somebody is holding a plate in front of your tweeters and moving it around. That's too bad, especially because it usually sounds worse than analogue FM.

Monday, February 2, 2009

When Space Was Groovy

I'm not a Battlestar Galactica fan, but this belt buckle caught my attention on eBay, only because I have one in the same style, but it has a Harley–Davidson logo and cycle on it. I bought mine somewhere along the Bagnell Dam strip, probably at the same time I got a T–shirt that I had them put a Harley "1" logo on the front, a Harley wings logo on the back, and "TUT" in iridescent letters on the back across the top, I think.

View Larger Map

Nashville Pussy

I've heard the name of this band, but don't recall hearing their music. Here's a video in 2 parts where they teach you how to play R&R guitar in 15 minutes. It's really basic stuff, but sometimes that's all you need. But the part that made me actually laugh out loud and like them was his quote at the very end of part 2. Click to about 6:30 if you want to skip the rest.

Basement Project, Part II

I got a start on it yesterday. It went slow, because I had to go around the breaker box and a window. After that, the wall is unimpaired except for a small notch I'll need for the beam. I also realized that foamboard insulation is made stupidly. They already have score lines for snapping them into smaller widths, but they're at 16" and 24". Since a 16"–on–center wall has 14.5" of space between the studs, then the pieces will be 1.5" too wide. I don't get it. So I have to measure and slice each piece manually, and I'll have all that scrap left over. What a fucking waste of time and non–decomposing material.

I'm also realizing that a cordless hammer drill is a dumb idea. It takes maybe a minute at full speed to drill a hole about 1.5" deep into the mortar. With 4 screws anchoring each 2x2, I can get maybe 2 boards done before the battery is dead. By that time the battery is plenty warm, and it should cool before charging (which I didn't do), and then it should cool before being used again (again, not). I borrowed Geoff's DeWalt portable light/charger because it has 2 charging bays, and the light is fluorescent and cool, as opposed to 500W halogen work lights.

I also figured out that the nice 4' drywall square I got free from a neighbor lady was out of whack. Who knows how many things I've cut with it that aren't square. A few whacks on the floor got it back into square.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Target vs. Wal-mart

You've probably seen the timeline map showing the viral spread of Wal–mart across the country. Now here's one for Target. Note how Wal–mart spread like a creeping death across the landscape. It's also neat how in that one the map is very dark grey, which gives that ominous missiles exploding in WarGames look.


We bought the Cloverfield Blu–ray a few months ago, and watched it tonight since enough time had passed since we watched it the 1st time on DVD. The Dolby TrueHD soundtrack is amazing. The cats' ears were rotating around all through the movie.