Thursday, December 31, 2009

Pet Peeve Of Thousands

To get you up to speed, Strobist is a blog that teaches using small flashes off camera.
Not "hot" lights (continuous lights), not stage lights, not the sun, not lightning, not the little pop-up flash cameras come with, not bigger flashes mounted on the hotshoe or a bracket, but flash units off-camera.
You can also use any or all of the above, too, but without at least one flash used intelligently a photo can't be an example of Strobistry

The Strobist blog is a huge presence on the web, generating well over 100,000 hits every day.
The Strobist Flickr Group is an integral part of the whole operation, and boasts over 60,000 members. It's how we all participate and share and discuss.

Naturally, with over 60,000 people in one group there are bound to be more than a few douchebags and morons. I don't envy the moderators one bit.
For example, one of the only rules of the group is that ALL photos posted to the pool have specific lighting details provided such as flash placement, modifiers, and how the lights were triggered--this is so we can learn from each other without having to shoot messages around or ask questions.

I think the only other rule is that all photos must use off-camera flash in some way.
This falls under the category of Duh!
But every few days you'll see something like the picture above.
This time it's stage lights (shot with a fucking iPhone at that!) but it's often lightning or the moon or some other light source that the jackoff is convinced deserves a pass because it's so freaking cool.
I specialize in using all kinds of interesting light sources, but unless one of them is flash I resist the urge to "share" with the Strobist group.
There are probably a hundred groups devoted to concert photos, and likely dozens for lightning or the moon, but these people insist on polluting the Strobist pool with innappropriate shit.
Reminds me of Bill Murray biting the Baby Ruth bar in CaddyShack.

Makes even more work for the mods and admins and pisses a huge number of members off, but it never ends.
You want to bitch them out, but on the other hand it's kind of fun to try and catch these dillholes before their turds get scooped out of the pool.
I'm tempted to make this an ongoing series--venting makes me feel better.

Then there's the title: Rock Star
Some obscure 22 year old twat who joined Simple Minds for the latest tour 3 months ago is definitely NOT a Rock Star.
And neither is the dude with the bad hair who wrote and sang their only hit song a bajillion years ago and is now riding a wave of nostalgia trying to squeeze a few more euros out of The Breakfast Club movie.

Remember Don't You Forget About Me?
Despite their plea, I was more than happy to forget about Simple Minds.

.

Monday, December 21, 2009

It's A WonderWoman Life

Christmas decorations can be full of surprises.
The people across the street used blue lights to fashion a Star of David on their house, but Wonder Woman™ here cracked me up.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Zzakk Goes On Vacation?

Actually, Sylvia went to Cancun and Cozumel and brought back some pictures for the garage, so I'm just getting a break from shooting content--I still have to do the rest of the work.
We've never been to LA so forgive us for finding this sign unusual.
A little scary and funny, too.

The combination of an ominous Mayan icon and a Christmas tree in the same photo struck us both as perfect for this site.

Great job, Syl!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Fun With Decimals

Every camera I own offers an aperture option of F5.6
I'm sure there's some gearhead out there who is convinced that an aperture of F5.5999999046326 is somehow better than F5.6, and I hope to never have a conversation with him.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

PhotoShop Disasters

I found this at some random review site on the web.
We're going to skip right past the fact that these "Self-Defense Force Sunglasses" aren't able to stop a bullet.
No such thing.
You would be quite dead wearing these glasses if someone wanted to do a test.

What gets me blogging is the young punk who put this advert "art" together.
Are they really so stupid as to think that the brass casing of a necked cartridge can somehow squeeze it's way through a rifle barrel and travel like a rocket towards the target along with the bullet, instead of just ejecting from the action to land on the ground with a barely audible tink because we're all wearing hearing protection?

I suppose it's hard to blame them since nobody learns anything useful in school anymore, and grandparents/uncles/fathers who know jack shit are in short supply these days.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Build Around It

Spotted through the bamboo at Chris Park.
An elegant solution for many years, until the trees outgrow the holes.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Washing The Trailer

The band's f-ing trailer has been living in my garage since March, taking up all the extra space and making my workbench and powertools distant memories.

Years of filth were allowed to accumulate on it (intentionally) as a theft deterrent, and I can't fault the reasoning.
A clean trailer looks like it might have some good shit inside that's worth stealing. A band or DJ logo on the side practically guarantees a cut-off lock.

My position is that if it isn't in my garage it's on the way to a club where it's quickly emptied. When it sits alone in the parking lot there's nothing to steal.
Mainly, I just got tired of having to change my shirt every time I bumped into it, which happened a LOT since there's just no way to avoid it in my packed garage.



So I took it to the car wash, and brought a ladder.
My phone (LG EnV2) is the only camera I have that fits in a pocket, so that was part of the plan from the start.

One of my favorite phone pics ever.
If your monitor is calibrated you can even tell that the foam bubbles are pink.


Another side of this is pride--I got tired of driving around in public with such a filthy follower.
After replacing the tail lights and all of the wiring, adding safety chains and a new jack, installing a new lock system, and sweeping out years of dirt and hair, I thought the poor thing deserved a bath.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Bassic Repairs

An old Ibanez bass showed up at my house tossed in the back of a pickup truck with no case.
It had crapped-out many years ago, but was remembered fondly.


There was no cover plate on the back, just duct tape protecting the wiring and keeping the battery from falling out. Step 1 was selecting a solvent that would get rid of tape spooge without damaging the finish, then scrub the bass clean of beer, sweat, and essence of whore.
Step 2 was to dive into her spaghetti guts and figure out why she was mute and slightly retarded.
I won't bore you with the details because it's tedious work I'd rather forget.
Newer instruments have a drop-in circuit board that takes care of everything, but then I wouldn't have a chance in hell of even diagnosing the problem let alone fixing it.
Computer chipz aren't friendly to us old-school soldering gun & hammer types.

Step 3 was finding some plastic and fabricating a new back cover.
For a paying customer I would have gone out and bought some, but on this project my budget was zero so I used an EXIT sign scrounged from a dumpster for a previous project.
After cutting it to shape with an ExActo knife and sanding it down to fit (a bitch!) I drilled and countersunk the screw holes, painted the backside white, and glued a layer of aluminum foil to it for RFI rejection. You can see where there's some Ibanez foil tape to transfer ground connection to the plate in the 1st pic.

Step 4 was to find the correct allen wrench and adjust a steel truss-rod inside the neck. After letting the neck "settle" for a day I adjusted it again, then went to work on the bridge to fine-tune the action (string height).

Step 5 = Intonation.
Depending on how high the strings are and what gauge/tension strings you prefer, the bridge saddles have to be moved to shorten or lengthen the vibrating length of each string so it will play in-tune all the way up your neck.
Steps 4 & 5 are an interrelated balancing act that must be performed periodically, and any time you change string gauge or even brand.
Many musicians haven't a clue how to do this, and the ones who also can't afford to pay a professional to do it for them will forever suffer from that "garage band" sound.
You've heard what I'm talking about--chords sound a little "odd" and despite tuning between every song none of the instruments in the band agree on what exactly constitutes a G#. Yuck!
I taught myself these skills when I was 14 and have made a few bucks on the side over the decades since.
It's also a good way to spend quality time with a lot of different instruments and learn their secrets.

I brought the newly Zzakk'd bass to the next gig, and I thought it sounded much better than the one I've been listening to for 19 months.
Longer sustain, no dead notes (F#), less muddy/more even tone.
After one set I was waiting for the old bass to come out of it's case, but it didn't happen.

At the end of the night I was asked to put this one in the case and leave the other one naked.
The photo above is from the next gig and Miz Ibanez Roja again handled the whole night and in fact the other bass was left at home, so I guess my efforts were successful.
Since I prefer this one's sound and will have to listen to it for 24+ hours a month, I'm very happy that the owner is happy.

BTW, I would have charged anyone else $75-100 for the work but I consider stuff like this part of my job.
Yet another step towards being irreplaceable.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Rockstar Academy


You could do a lot worse than take career advice from Michael Morales.
After all, he's had a hit record.
(A cover of What I Like About You by The Romantics. Repeat--a cover).

And he's a Grammy winning producer, for...I don't know.
Probably a Latin Grammy.

And he's done time for extortion, related to his brother or cousin or somebody running for governor. Blackmailed the opposition and got caught.
State prison teaches you many useful skills.

But the name Rockstar Academy really turns me off.
People love to use that word way too much to suit me.
Some 12 year old kid sings a song and knows three chords, and proud mommy calls them a rockstar.
An 18 year old joins a band and plays a backyard party, they call themselves a rockstar.
But after 29 years in the music business, including several years leading bands that played in front of huge crowds I have never once thought I was one.

Let me break it down:
Bono = Rockstar
Jonas Brothers = Not

Jimmy Page = Rockstar
Miley Cyrus = Not

Gene Simmons = Rockstar
Michael Morales = Not

Slash = Rockstar
Axl Rose = Not

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Shirts And Shoes



How you leave is entirely up to you.
Topless, barefoot, and pregnant would be a good guess.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

You've GOT To Be Kidding!

It's a freaking handtruck.
Two little wheels, some steel tubing, and a flat bit that you scootch under heavy things to move them around using the advantage of leverage.
NOT FOR HIGHWAY USE has got to be the silliest warning label I've seen in 2009.

People who hurt themselves doing dumb shit and then sue should be whipped in public.
What happens to their lawyers, I'll leave open to comments.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Water

After a good week+ of rain we're looking good for getting Stage II restrictions lifted. The Edwards Aquifer is filling back up at a respectable rate.

This means that fountains get turned back on, and just in time for cooler weather.
You know I'm loving that.

But what's up with this sign at La Cantera?
Doesn't anyone fucking proof-read anymore?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Correct Amount Of Pee

Compare and contrast from this post in August.
I take full credit for getting this fixed.

As your intrepid shitcan advert watchdog, it falls on my shoulders to make sure that offensive typos don't ruin your pissing experience.

Thank me with beers so we can keep this project going...

Monday, September 07, 2009

Halloween Is Starting Arrrly

Spotted this down the street from my brother's garage in Converse.
The beer bottle is an awesome detail.


Apparently it's Pirate Week™ at the Zzakk blogs.
Over at ZZakk's Lab my brother tells stories about modern pirating featuring a picture of one that you may have tried to draw back in the day.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Imrov

Improv is generally understood as being short for Improvisation but surely the notion that you Improve upon the original is implied?

The table was right where I needed the monitor speaker to be, and moving the table to make room for a big tripod wasn't allowed.
So I improvised a solution: pole out of tripod and into umbrella hole, speaker mounted on pole, situation improved.
The offending table lost none of it's function, yet we could hear the vocals from the direction needed. In fact, having the option of umbrella outside/speaker indoors obviously improves the table's utility and value.

I wasn't the only person who took photos or video.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Trashcan Jellyfish

I have been calling empty trashcans on windy days (or nights) trashcan jellyfish for years, and always knew I would get a photo and post it here someday.
Usually seen at bus stops when I'm driving past and don't want to bother getting a shot.
This one was at our favorite gas station and I really liked the translucent bag compared to the white ones that VIA uses, so I whipped out my LG EnV2 phone for it's blog debut as a camera.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Thirsty In 78240


The doorbell woke me up.
When I finally had pants, I also had a picture for Zzakk's Garage.

Going outside, I found the CPS meter reader had disconnected my hose and was drinking from the faucet.
He apologized, and explained that he rang the bell to ask permission, and I assured him that there was no problem and to take his time and cool off as best he could.

Already over 100 degrees that day, it was the least I could do.
The bare minimum.
But I was still half asleep.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Extra Pee


Typos are one thing, but for ad copy with a major gaffe to make it to print and then get used is not acceptable.


It's just a coincidence that two photos in a row include urinals.
I'm not some creepy guy with a camera hanging around the men's rooms all over town.
Both of these were in bars across the street from each other (another coincidence--like gold, comedy is where you find it) on Broadway.
Last week's was taken after closing, while today's was caught before they opened.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Potty Humor

I didn't put that bumper sticker in the urinal, but I would have given the chance.

What I also like is the classic additions of a cigarette butt and a wad of gum.
Perfectly authentic, and thankfully there's no barf.
On this particular night the odds weren't good that any toilet in the building would survive without getting some.
I got lucky.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Will It Work?

Free brush pickup is next week in my neighborhood.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Craig's List: Lefty Instruments

Here's a Craig's List ad that I found interesting:


We'll hit the typos first:
Sound Gear is a typical typo--the writer was thinking ahead to the G in Gear and dropped it into the D's position.
Losing the 2nd E in Peavey twice was pure dumb, especially since he has the amp right there to double-check.
But I like that he spelled 'cord' correctly.
Most beginners soon learn that muliple notes played at the same time with a musical relationship is called a chord, so when entry-level gear appears for sale it invariably includes a chord instead of the shielded cable with 1/4" plugs the rest of us know as a cord.
Kudos, grasshopper.

What got me was the mention that it was a "right-handed" bass, until I looked at the photos.
Did he flip them 180 degrees to attract attention and be clever, or was this one of those amazing errors that amateur photogs manage to produce somehow?
I don't know, but it struck me as funny.
At least he knew that the first photo was misleading by showing what appears to be a left-handed instrument, so I appreciate the clarification.
We have to assume that it's a right-handed amp, too.


Lefty instruments are an anomaly in the music business.
In the 1980s Aerosmith's Joe Perry played left-handed Fender Strats, followed by his copycats like Warren DeMartini of Ratt and George Lynch of Dokken, attempting to channel the cool factor of Jimi Hendrix who had little choice but to play right-handed Strats flipped over since he was a southpaw.

There are actual tonal and string-response factors that make flipping a Stratocaster the wrong way desirable, but the inconvenience of knobs and switches and output jacks and tuners being on the wrong side means that you have to be pretty hardcore to relearn most operational aspects.

As it is, the numbers of lefty guitars produced are far below the percentage of left-handed people in the population.
Because they require serious manufacturer's effort and cost to produce compared to meager sales, only a very few guitar models (and probably less basses) are ever made left-handed.
They are rare and pricey.

My theory is that lefties are often discouraged when they first try to play guitar since 98% of the ones in stores and among their friends are "normal" and thus are stringed the "wrong" way, so they either quit early or never start at all, which reduces the demand and buying power of this minority.

With drums, you just swap everything to the opposite side.
Keyboards are only made one way--learn it or don't--but at least the controls are still in a logical place so there's no great hardship.
Guitars and basses are hard to find for left-handed people, so I'm not surprised that this craigslister with the oddly-flipped photos made sure to specify that the instrument was a righty, to avoid the waves of disappointed minor league pitchers who might have wasted his time responding to the ad.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Abbey Road & Evergreen Terrace

I don't remember where I found this, but it's a gem!
Taken mere seconds before the iconic Abbey Road album cover photo, complete with anonymous onlookers.

Marge was always a Ringo fan, but I don't see any other connections as to how they chose which Beatle the other Simpsons would portray.

Any ideas?

Sunday, June 28, 2009

What's In The Colonel's Garage?

I recently got the chance to peek into someone else's garage and take pictures of their stuff.

I remember hand drills like this, before DeWalt and Black And Decker perfected rechargeable electric ones.
In fact, there was a small DeWalt with it's battery on it's charger nearby, but it's nice to see that this old tool was kept.

Wow! I have never seen another one of these before now.
Zzakk's Garage has had one since I was a baby.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Hoax Or Not?

I can't decide if this is real, but hope it is.
$29.95

Friday, May 29, 2009

Here's Your Titty Shot!

The orange paper has an exact copy of the other side of the shot glass.

Back in 1991 when my brother and I owned a screen printing company (that did everything but T-shirts) we used to make personal items from time to time.
I handled the artwork/typsetting and darkroom, plus made the screens--Ken was in charge of the machinery and tooling (makes perfect sense if you know us) and then we would do the actual printing together.

He had me pirate the art of Patty Melt whipping out her tig old bitties from a Cherry Poptart adult comic, and we shipped a couple of the shot glasses to Larry Welz (the comic's author) who then sent us the original and never-seen-before-now drawing that's in the frame.

I put milk in the glass so our printing would be legible in the photo, then drank it.
Probably the only time I have tasted white milk since we made the shotglass 18 years ago.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Do You Sudoku?

My previous best was 5 minutes.
Beat that time by 4 seconds and did a screenshot just like this, then tried again.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Amphi-Jerk

I had just potted these flowers the night before.
By morning this toad had moved in.

He's lucky I didn't feed him to my snake.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Quiz Time

I don't remember where I found this online, or for that matter where I put my Star Fleet book with documents including fold-out blueprints for the ship...

Where is the transporter room?

Friday, April 24, 2009

Frenzy Art

This awesome switchplate was a gift from Selma M.
She comments on my blogs, drinks tequila with me, makes me laugh, flings corn and mashed potatos onto my shirt, and cries when I give her the perfect photo.
Selma has more of my prints than anyone else.

Apparently she saw this in some funky shop near Dallas and knew I would love it, and man was she right.
Firstly, I've been really into skulls for the last few years, especially Mexican Day Of The Dead imagery.
When she gave it to me I had just been offered my dream job of playing bass with my favorite local musicians and what do you know?
The mohawked skeleton is playing a bass.
Plus there are stage lights (another big thing with me) and a cool coffin guitar case.
When my new band starts doing gigs I won't be wearing shorts, but who wants to bet against me having my first-ever mohawk?

I have it on the light/ceiling fan switch 6 feet to my right, so I can see it all the time.
Thanks, Selma!!!
You nailed me with this suprise gift.

"Frenzy Art is Functional Art & Diabolical Gifts Celebrating the Mexican Day of the Dead (...& every other day).
Frenzy Art comes from the mind of artist Ladislao Loera."

I don't have any contact info, but Google shouldn't have any trouble.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Enchilagna

I'm going to assume that you already know how to make enchiladas.
We took a pound of 90/10 ground beef plus all the other usual ingredients like onions, grated cheese and enchilada sauce, then made a layered casserole just like you would prepare lasagna, in a 9x9" Pyrex dish.
(I'm also assuming you have a passing aquaintance with the structure of lasagna).

Cutting the corn tortillas in half makes it easier to get their edges to cooperate with a square pan.

The main thing is that you don't have to fry the tortillas, or fill and roll them.
This cuts out a ton of prep time, so you're saying "Mmmm...oh my God...more!!!" at least half an hour sooner and the taste is pretty much the same.

Using tortillas that haven't been fried means less grease, which is good for you.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Bat Bombs

This is a little weird, taking a screenshot from my own website to provide content for one of my others.



And during WWI a batcave on Cibolo Creek was a guano mine (bat poop) because the stuff has lots of nitrogen and phosphorous.
Nowadays it's sold as fertilizer and mosquito repellent, but back then they used it to make gunpowder and grenades or something like that.

The cave I'm talking about (I've seen WWI-era photos and it's the same one) was behind our 'hood and we played there all the time.
At age 6 or seven I was sitting in the rear entrance talking to another boy, then decided to see what my little gang decided on for a password. They had started a fire with my matches and were kicking the burning sticks through a hole into the bat's part of the cave.

We heard a loud noise.

Returning to the rear entrance I saw that a boulder the size of a dorm room fridge had come loose from above and was now sitting right where I had been minutes before.
Would have flattened me, with nothing but my Levis and Keds sticking out.
I returned a dozen years later and the big rock was still there.
5 years after that it was gone--due to erosion it broke loose and rolled out the main entrance to land in the creek bed, breaking into smaller chunks.

So yeah--me and the bats go way back.

I used to collect their bones from the limestone powder on the floor of a smaller cave nearby, but never could get a complete skeleton. This other cave has been hidden for decades and I doubt today's wild boys even know it exists.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Fun With Craig'sList

If you don't poke around Craig'sList every once in a while, you're missing out.
I hate eBay and refuse to go there--arbitrary PayPal Nazi tactics are only one of the reasons.
But Craig'sList is local and personal, like the newspaper classified ads but online.
Unless you really want something from another city's listings, just cruise the local ads and if something looks good meet the seller in a Denny's parking lot and make the deal, or get stabbed for your wallet and car.


Here's an ad upon which I desire to comment:


First, we have a seller with some flair--the "min.... ol...... ta!" bit is funny.
Do you think he actually knows that over the last 6 months new Sony DSLR owners (like myslef) have driven the demand and price of used Minolta lenses through the roof? Had I bought the lens I wanted in 2008 I could have saved a bundle--now I can just forget about it. The days of cheap Minolta glass that fits the new Sony's is over.
Or is it?
This seller is throwing out a body, flash, and 3 lenses for just $200.
The big lens on the lower left I don't need, but the one upper-middle looks like something that is very popular right now, and at this price should make my wallet sweat.

But let's move on to the camera body--"The shutter button broke" is an understatement. Looks to me like the shutter button exploded and took out some nearby nuns with the shrapnel.
I'm also seeing a standard hotshoe on top of the body--just how old IS this thing?
Every Minolta (and Sony) I've seen uses something that couldn't be more different from what everyone else uses.

Let's look at some of the other photos in this ad:
Yeah, it looks like the shutter button "broke" alright.
I love his comment about how if you can find the part it will be a cheap fix.
The part(s) are no longer available anywhere except mounted correctly in other used cameras, so barring a lucky yard sale find you'll be shit out of luck.
Write this body down as 'No Sale'.

Another view of the busted shutter button, but at least we can see the quality of the included lens caps.
Awesome!

Can't make out the flash's model number/name here.

Seeing a pattern?
Despite his claim to know what all this stuff is worth (so you don't try to rip him off) this seller clearly doesn't know shit about anything.

The other two "apartment balcony over the car port" photos are just as blurry as the ones I've posted here.
If our knowledgeable seller is using a digital point and shoot camera, he doesn't know about the button with the little flower icon that tells the camera to try and focus really close-up.
If he's using a modern digital SLR, he's clueless about both the minimum focus distance for his lens and the need to "chimp" pictures you've taken to make sure they are exposed and focused correctly.

I wouldn't buy seven quarters for a dollar from this idiot.




The ads for musical gear on Craig'sList can be just as 'tarded.
I'm keeping an eye out for the gems worth posting here.


Chimping is a photographer's technical term meaning to look at the LCD screen while reviewing the shot(s) you just took, then making ape faces and sounds when the results are good.
I once spent an entire downtown street fair shooting nothing but other chimpers--it was a great series that will never be seen.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Sony's New Crap

Warning--Not Work-Safe!!
Don't click on the video below if multiple F-bombs aren't welcome.


Sony Releases New Stupid Piece Of Shit That Doesn't Fucking Work

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Please Don't...

...try those jeans on right there.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

X-Treme Impact Church


Just noticed this place near our neighborhood.
I refuse to do any research to find out more about their beliefs.
Highly doubt anything they might say could elicit a positive response from me, and ridiculing a religion isn't nice.
So I'm keeping quiet.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Recipe For Disaster



First, get yourself some little jars that can seal up tight--these are probably around 4 ounces.
Next, get someone to smuggle banned Belgian schnapps into the US for you.
160 proof works best. Wasn't told the name--sorry I can't supply this important info. Just mix Everclear with a little Hawaiian Punch or something--it won't matter.
Cut apples into little chunks and put them in the jars.
Add the illegal schnapps.
Put them in your refrigerator to soak for 24-48 hours. All the alcohol goes into the fruit while making it soft.
Use rubber bands to attach toothpicks to the jars for easy snacking.
Hand them out freely in a small-town rock/hick bar.

The very first apple chunk will make your entire mouth numb.
Every one after that detaches an important part of your brain while raising your body temp to the redline.
I ate three and tried to pick a fight with some local douche.
The last fight I started was well over 30 years ago, so yeah--not my proudest moment.

But I would try it again, but only at home if I was having trouble sleeping (or blogging).
Or had a toothache.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Aggiemobile


What Coldplay is to rock music, the Aggiemobile is to performance bikes.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Mr. Fix It 2


This was last week's big project.
Cleaning the optical pathways on half of the bands rear lights.
They have seen a few years of use in smoky nasty clubs plus a few more years of dusty garage storage, resulting in major loss of light compared to when they were new.

It required the removal of 1 large wingscrew and washer, 5 top access screws, 3 bolts to remove the color wheel module, 2 thumbscrews to take off the lamp access panel, 2 bolts to remove the color wheel from it's stepper motor shaft, and one each thumbscrew and nut/bolt set for the adjustable lens module, for a total of 15 Philips™ head actuations.

The adjustable lens (already removed in the photo) needed cleaning on both sides, as did the other small lens pointed at in the color wheel section.
The wheel itself has seven colored glass elements that also need years of schmutz scrubbed off of both sides.
That's a total of 18 lens cleanings per fixture.

I was also able to use the brush attachment on our ElectroLux canister vacuum to get most of the dust buildup off the halogen lamp's cooling fan.

The *Coil is what failed in my personal unit--I finally found the broken solder joint after making the mental connection with the same part breaking loose inside Steve's monitor speaker's crossover network.
Manufacturers apparently don't make allowances for the inertia of heavier parts in equipment that might get dropped or slammed around--I keep finding big heavy coils like this "secured" using one or 2 cable ties and soldered directly to the circuit board (the break-point) instead of being located separately with a wiring harness or just bolted down solidly.
If you have sound or light road-gear that has failed, check the solder joints of your coils first--it's a proven weak point.

With 9 lenses/gels that have 2 sides each per unit, in this Mr. Fix It episode I took care of 6 light fixtures for 108 total lens cleanings and 90 screws/bolts taken out and put back in.
Correctly, I might add.

There are three more of these lights that need service, and since the time per fixture is now under 20 minutes due to experience I can knock them out in an hour if there aren't any other issues that need my attention.
Which means that one of the next three has some major problem that adds a few trips to part suppliers and lots of TLC.
Because nothing is ever easy...


Now you know why I added a type-arrow to my aspirin bottle.

What's the deal with a nightlight plugged into the GFI outlet, you ask?
Ground Fault Interruptor outlets are mandated in the USA for all new construction/replacement near water like my kitchen sink seen here.
They can save your life, but will trip at the slightest provocation sometimes so I use the nightlight to verify that my AC power is still active whenever I'm working on suspect gear.
Same with battery chargers in this outlet--sometimes the GFI trips off when plugging-in so I like to have a visual confirmation that the AC is on.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Mr. Fix It


The show must go on.
So if something breaks, it falls on me to get it working again.
Sometimes I use my faith-healing powers--I open whatever is busted and touch things inside it. This works 90% of the time--seriously!

On this occasion the guitarist's main effects pedal had a footswitch come apart, and I had to tear it all the way apart to put the switch back together.
I still had time left on our break to piss.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

They Eat Mayo In Korea?

One of several reasons I never buy food at Big Lots, Dollar Tree, etc.

We forgot to check the label to see if it had Fish Head Extract.

Monday, March 02, 2009

The CIG to PBG


What cracked me up about this book I found at Borders was the old joke about bass players not being smart enough to master 6 strings and playing chords, so they settle for 4 strings and play one at a time...just to meet girls.
Or the other joke that you have to be an idiot to want to play bass--most bassists end up there by sucking at everything else.

Q: How many bass players does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
A: Nobody knows--bass players are so lazy they would rather just sit in the dark.

or
A: Just one, but you have to wait until he steals a lightbulb.
And some toilet paper while he's at it.

or
A: Just one, but a guitar player showed him how.

or
A: "Fuck that--it's the crew's job".

or
A: 3

or
A: Back in 1985 it's rumored that a bass player did it all by himself, but then had to visit the ER to get the bulb removed from his ass.

or
A: The only one who ever tried it knocked the lamp over, then threw up on it, starting a fire.
New band policy dictates that the bassist isn't allowed anywhere near electrical devices without supervision.

or
A: "Screw in a lightbulb? That sounds hard. I have trouble screwing in a Cadillac!"

I can keep this up for days...and only one of them is old material.
I'm even funnier in-person.


What's great about this book cover is the placement of the third (ring) finger--when slopped-over the fret like that you're guaranteed to have a dead note that doesn't ring for shit.
Typical.


And before anyone gets their panties in a bunch, I'd like to point out that while I was known as a lead guitarist I have always been a bassist, too.
Just waiting for Craig'sList to cough-up a Fender Squier Jazz Bass that's got crazy sustain and a good price so I can hit the stage again with a side-gig on weeknights.
I miss playing for people, but all of the BS associated with playing guitar professionally (like effects pedals and endless varieties of tones and distortion levels) made 6-string art more of a chore than a joy.
I yearn for the simplicity of finding one great instrument and matching it to the perfect amp, then just concentrating on tone and hitting the right notes at the right time while failing to look cool.

Monday, February 23, 2009

boost makes you stupid


Oh--I must have been mistaken.

Or was I?