Sunday, October 28, 2012

Another long night...

Looking like another long night at the office.  I've decided to spend it with Ty, Dug, and Jerry.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Another late night at the office, focusing less on the work than I am on mastering myself.

Can't abide nights like there.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


Still missing the hell out of my P.U.L.S.E. dvd.  Where the devil has that thing gone?

Sick as all hell, trying to work.  Need my favorite non-distraction distraction to keep my brain off-center.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Leaving the body

Starting a new project today, big changes in the wind.

Long road ahead.

This one is going to hurt.

Thursday, March 1, 2012


Absolutely, completely not my thing..... but yeah.  That looks pretty awesome.


Sunday, February 26, 2012

@#$@#$@#$$ Woodshed...

Spend the better part of the last three hours in the proverbial woodshed, trying to get my hands back.  Looking like the hands aren't the issue - it's the soul.

Keep going back to the same runs & fills I've been playing for the last twenty years.   No spark, no light... no hope.  At some point, do you just run out of things to say?

Sick & tired of hearing myself play.

Going to kick back and listen to Joe Bonamassa for a few hours and write.  Maybe it'll help, maybe it won't, but if I never hear another pentatonic run, it'll be too @#$@#$ soon.

In a related note, very happy with my new Hercules GSP38WB A/G Guitar Hanger.  Rugged as all hell, and hasn't dropped anything yet. 

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Oh, for cryin' out loud...

Oh, for cryin' out loud.

Police arrested a Kitchener, Ont., father outside his daughter’s school because the four-year-old drew a picture of him holding a gun. 
Jessie Sansone told the Record newspaper that he was in shock when he was arrested Wednesday and taken to a police station for questioning over the drawing. He was also strip-searched. “This is completely insane. My daughter drew a gun on a piece of paper at school,” he said.  
Officials told the newspaper the move was necessary to ensure there were no guns accessible by children in the family’s home. They also said comments by Sansone’s daughter, Neaveh, that the man holding the gun in the picture was her dad and “he uses it to shoot bad guys and monsters,” was concerning.  
Police also searched Sansone’s home while he was in custody. His wife and three children were taken to the police station, and the children were interviewed by Family and Children’s Services.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Not good...

Three nights ago, my son pointed to an otherwise unremarkable patch of ceiling and asked "Daddy, what's that crack?"

Turns out, it's a hole about the size of my hand.  And a leak.

An inspection of the roof above indicates a rotted piece of decking, and a pretty long lasting leak that finally took it's toll.

Guess who's spending the weekend patching a roof?

Don't Change

In it's prime, INXS was one helluva band. If nothing else, like the truly great acts, they appreciated the value of negative space.  Usually, the note you leave out is far more important than the lick you put in.  Space is important.  Stewart Copeland understood that.  Phil Spector never did.

Couldn't tell you why, but INXS on the KICK tour remains one of the best shows I have ever seen.  I admit this without shame.  Could've been because it was one of my first concerts, but more than that it was just an amazing show.

Hard to believe that Don't Change & Shabooh Shoobah are thirty years old.

I'm showing my age.

This song remains timeless.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Sunday, February 12, 2012


Looking for a way to securely store my guitars.  With a pair of rugrats running around the house - including the mancave - keeping expensive toys safe is rather important.  Thinking about ordering the Hercules GSP38WB A/G Guitar Hanger.  On the entirely off-chance I'm not muttering into the void, does anyone have any suggestions?

Dead weekend

Not much happening in the garage this weekend.  Temperatures in the low 30s with a strong wind, plus a sick kid who wants nothing more than to come outside & help, make accomplishing anything pretty much impossible.

That, and the fact that I truly need a drill press.  Manually drilling 76 7/16" holes perfectly straight is damn near impossible, and threaded bolts are unforgiving.

Friday, February 10, 2012


Do you think Ed ever gets tired of playing "Eruption"?

One of the greatest guitar heroes of all time.  God, I'd love to hear something new.

But the old is all we've got, and the old is still better than everything else.

UPDATED:  Better video

Thursday, February 9, 2012


Dear God, has anyone priced Egg slicers recently?

One of my favorite childhood kitchen toys, I just stumbled across a need for one while watching Good Eats S2EP5:  The Fungal Gormet.  Never occurred to me to use one to slice mushrooms.

No idea if I've already got one at home, so I'll hold off on that purchase for a bit.

A Different Kind of Truth

Van Halen's new album, A Different Kind of Truth, was released yesterday to generally favorable reviews.  New disk is based largely on old demos that have been circulating among the faithful for more than 30 years.

As a guitar player, it's pretty much required reading for me.  Edward's riffs form the foundation of a pretty fair amount of post-1978 Rock & Roll.  Even if you don't hear it as much in modern recordings, it's what's everyone works on in the woodshed - which is where I'm going to be spending the next several months reclaiming my chops.

Should be interesting, if nothing else.


Given that I've lived in Atlanta for the better part of the last decade, it's surprising that I had never darkened the door of Wuxtry Records, one of Atlanta's best-known independent record stores.  Until yesterday.


Any record shop with a fully stocked King's X section is completely cool with me.  Depth of catalog was mindblowing, and reasonably priced.  Tons of used CD's, which I prefer to MP3's for some reason.  Also a deep, deep array of vinyl, which someday I will get into, I suppose.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Second weekend

Things went a great deal smoother the second weekend.  

As you can tell, I've still got a long way to go.  At this point, both main cabs are basically complete - structurally.  Still lacking cosmetics & doors.  Will likely wait until the build is complete to add shelving inside the units.

Will likely spend the balance of the week filling, sanding, painting & planning for next weekend's project:  the workbench.  The two 2x4's you see to the immediate left of the cabs will hold the pegboard (locking) above the workbench.  I've also just about decided to house the compressor & shop-vac in the leftmost cabinet.  That frees up the space under the bench for drawers, and makes implementing a lock mechanism significantly easier.

Had to shim everything about 1/2".  Turns out, the backs of garages are higher than the front, for obvious reasons.  Whole garage falls off about 4", moving left to right.

It's important to remember that the garage ISN'T the project.  I'm not building fine cabinets from rare mahogany --  I'm building a @#$@$@#$ workstation / storage unit.  This should end up tight & functional, pretty from the street, but damn the minute details.

The real project comes next.


Closest yet.

Not quite there yet, but better.  Might well be as close as they get.

Garage band.... saws

My friends in recovery tell me that the first thing you have to do is admit that you have a problem.  I'm something of a chaotic guy to begin with, but I seem to function pretty well considering.

My tool situation, however, has become completely unmanageable.  And it's a situation I've been powerless to correct.

I've got plenty of tools.  That's not the issue.  The problem for any resident of an old school ranch is storage & organization.  I own perhaps 40 screwdrivers.  Most days, I can't lay hands on a single one.  My dozen flashlights have been hidden by well-meaning spawn throughout the estate.  Finding a charged battery for a power tools is a quest worthy of Arthurian lore.

The garage has always been a problem area, and where my tools - theoretically - have been stored.  Trouble is, it's such a monstrosity that you can't FIND anything!  It's a perfect state of anarchy.

If you are lucky enough to actually find the tool you need, good lock finding a suitable workspace.  Every flat surface is covered with... stuff.

On top of that, the garage proper is home to everything that doesn't belong in the house.  Tools & household items are littered together throughout the space.  Perfect example.  I have a mini-cooler.

... full of calk.

In any event, I started the process of solving the problem last weekend.  Building a series of three closets, with a workbench in-between.  Workbench will also contain drawers for storage, and an old-school pegboard for the usual suspects.  Insulated spaces for the compressor & shop-vac for noise isolation.  for I have many other projects slated for this year, but I can't get started without a place to work.

behold the results after weekend number one:


Friday, January 27, 2012

Fingerboards & oil.

About two years ago, I stumbled into a pawn shop looking for... I dunno.  Trouble?  Truth is, our town has several in close proximity, and I'd never darkened their door.  Since the advent of eBay, the fantastic deals of old are long gone - market price is set on the net, blue book be damned, and many of the items end up listed there as well.    As it happened, however, there was a very old, VERY battered Alvarez hanging on the wall with a $40 price tag, and I was feeling a little rebellious.

You see, since I settled down and grew preternaturally old, I played.  A lot.  Paid for college, among other things.  But law school has a habit of recruiting amazingly talented & diverse people and flattening them out into little robots - amazingly strong and focused on a but single thing.   And in the years since I went through that process, the guitars have largely stayed in their cases.

But the simple truth is, you want your kids to grow up around YOU.  Who you really are.  And I thought we needed a guitar around the house.  Nothing fancy, mind you.  The nice things stay in their cases.  I needed something I didn't care about.  Something that could get hurt, broken, or outright destroyed.

A $40 Alvarez fit the bill.  Perfectly.

Perfectly good guitar, once I adjusted the tension rod & worked on a few technical details.   Played about as well as I could expect for a $40 axe. 

But it looked like hell.   It had obviously been exposed to the elements.  The top end of the fretboard, along with the high end, were weathered as hell.  So was the bridge, which looked as if it had been left out in the sun for an entire summer.  After a while, I noticed the fretboard was affecting playability as well. 

I reached out to an old friend, who recommended ColorTone Fretboard Finishing oil, which I had seen online.  I took the strings off, wiped everything down, and used 00 grade steel wool and gently rubbed down the fingerboard & the frets.  This removes a thin layer of wood & metal from the guitar.  Made one pass over the fingerboard, came back, wiped it down, and... wow.  Plays like an entirely new guitar.  I had no idea how much this would affect the playability.  The change is remarkable.

Planning on doing the same thing to the Les Paul this weekend.  But of course, I tried it out on the beater first.

Anyone.... Bueller?

What on earth is this?

Talk about things that get your hopes up.  Ten will get you $20 he's the new Expedia guy.

UPDATE:  Apparently, it's the kick off for a new campaign by Honda.  Whole thing was lensed by the guy who did The Hangover,  Todd Phillips.  Must've cost a damned mint.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Hook, line & Dinner

One of the things I'm working on this year is television.  Specifically, watching every episode of GOOD EATS ever produced.  

In order.

I'll be following up with episode-by-episode synopsis as the year unfolds.  Yesterday, I watched the classic fish episode HOOK, LINE & DINNER.  Tonight, on  a whim, deicided to try out AB's simple yet succulent pan fried fish technique.  Recipe is very simple - it's all about the technique:

1 large or two small skin-on fish fillets, about 8 ounces (rainbow trout, small salmon, brown trout)Kosher salt
Ground black pepper
Flour for dredging
2 tablespoon Canola oil
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoons capers, drained
1 lemon, juiced

Heat a heavy pan over medium high heat.
Season fish on meat side with salt and pepper. Lightly dredge fish in flour and shake off excess. When pan is good and hot, add Canola oil followed immediately by 1 tablespoon butter. As soon as foaming subsides, place fish in pan with the skin side down. Jiggle pan for the first 10 seconds to keep the fish from sticking. Cook until golden crust forms on meat. Carefully turn fish away from you and again jiggle pan for the first few seconds. Cook until skin turns golden brown. Remove to a warm plate.
Pour out the cooking fat, add remaining butter and quickly fry the capers. Remove pan from the heat, add lemon juice to pan and swirl. Pour sauce over the fish and serve.

Started off with a trip to the local fish market, which I've driven by a thousand times but never frequented.    Given it's proximity to a MAJOR fish importer, I expected that it was an offshoot  of the mothership.  Not the case.  When the fish on ice is sold in vacuum-sealed packs, you're not really in the right place.  Had about five varieties of fish, only one of which was whole, and a  bunch of great looking shrimp, including some of the largest jumbo's I've ever seen.  Given the condition of the outfit, I decided to stick to the fare at the local mega-mart.

Dish is amazingly simple.  Fish cost $5.86 for four mid-sized Tilapia fillets.  $2 for the capers, and about $0.50 for a lemon.  Did have to spring for a block of actual butter, which is not traditionally kept in my fridge.  Given my recent health kick, and the fact that it's needed for flavor, I figure what the hell.

Fish turned out really well.  Only tip I would recommend is using a non-non-stick pan and keeping the heat down.  First two fillets got a little extra crispy, due to the TV-advertised time of 4 minutes per side (book says two minutes - use that instead.)

Threw some Haricot verts in the skillet when I was done with a little butter and cooked them right up.  Fed my family for about $7 tonight, and it was delicious.  Can't beat that.

Maybe someday I'll have the stones to attempt the Salt Dome.  As an avid IRON CHEF fan, always wanted to try that.... but not tonight.

No Pulse...

How in the hell have I managed to misplace my copy of Pulse?  That was my primary backing track for actually accomplishing things.  I suppose it says something about my productivity that's it's been missing at least since the first of the year and I'm only now starting to miss it.

Nevertheless, there are some things in this world you just can't go without...

UPDATE:  Thank God for YOUTUBE.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Things are getting complex

Things are getting complex.  I think I'm currently reading five books:

Good Eats: The Early Years  by Alton Brown
The Civil War: A Narrative: Volume 2: Fredericksburg to Meridian By Shelby Foote
Lay the Favorite: A Memoir of Gambling by Beth Raymer
Ready Player One, by Ernie Cline
The Cold War: A New History  by John Gaddis

Sounds like I'm procrastinating.    You don't know the half of it.

You know it's bad if I'm blogging.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Zen & the art of guitar maintenance

Formerly the bane of my existence.  You're looking at the input jack on a 1984 Les Paul standard.  They don't really make these anymore.  Somewhere around 1986 Gibson figured out it was cheaper to ground the strings than it was to encase every component in a steel chassis.  Replacing it would mean grounding the strings, which would mean drilling a hole.  I'm rather emotionally attached to this particular guitar,  so that wasn't really an option.

Thankfully, when I opened it up it was nothing more than a 1/4" jack in a chrome box.  

Input was shorting out every time the cord jiggled.  As you might expect, playing a guitar like that isn't something you usually do sitting still.  You move around.  Typically while plugged into a very large amplifier.  This leads to loud noises of the non-musical variety.  I'm not Thurston Moore, so this doesn't exactly work for me.

Turns out, the non-tip wire (upper right) was touching the edge of the chrome cylinder.  A little electrical tape, and she sounds like a dream.  Somewhat.

Sliced the living hell out of my hand putting her back together.  After all that, I doubt I'll be able to play for a week.

Interesting day.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Van Halen. Acoustic. Live.

Van Halen actually has a fascinating mix of acoustic tunes in their repitoire.  Why they chose this to release, I'll never understand.

Starting the year off correctly

Just a few posts to start the year off correctly:

Principles of War, by Carl Von Clausewitz
The Long Telegram, by George Kennan
The Good Eats Fan Page

All knowledge, no matter how esoteric, eventually becomes relevant.