Attenuation

Usually when we go up to Vermont we leave as early as humanly possible so that we can spend as much time there as we can and still get home at a non-ridiculous hour. Today is a little different. I have to time my arrival to match up with his class schedule. That means I have another hour or so before I have to leave.

I was thinking about playing some guitar before I go, but Jen is working and a few minutes from now she’ll be in a meeting. Better for me to keep quiet. It got me thinking about gear though. The amplifier I am going to use for November is a Vox MV50 Clean. There are a ton of MV50 models, but the Clean is the only one that comes with an attenuator. The others have a master volume. Blah.

It’s supposed to be a 50 watt amp and the attenuator has three settings; Off, 1/10th power, and 1/100th power. So it can be 50 watts, five watts, or 0.5 watts. At 50 watts it is loud. Great googlymoogly it is loud. At 0.5 watts it’s not. It’s a nice, useable at home volume. Well… still maybe a smidge loud, but not bad. I keep it at 0.5 all the time.

But should I? I was complaining the other day about it caving in when I bomb it with signal out of one of my overdrive pedals. Maybe I should set it to 1/10th power and just keep the volume control really low. Hell, maybe I should turn the attenuator off and see if I can use the volume control to keep things manageable. It’s doubtful, but maybe worth a try?

Huh… we’ll see.

Change of subject: Last night I don’t know what I was thinking. Two nights ago I had a memory lapse and got into bed without putting my CPAP mask on. Dumb ass. I realized the mistake before my head was on the pillow and all was right with the world again. Last night I missed two things. I forgot to top off the CPAP machine’s humidifier tank. Oops. It didn’t run out, but it’s close to empty.

I also forgot to charge my friggin’ watch. I finished my 30 minutes of exercise and just forgot to put it on the charger. Next thing I know I’m dozing off and my battery is at 30 something percent. Crap. Well, if it dies it dies. What’s a red head to do? I went to sleep. When I woke up today it was at 12%. It’s good to know that I can go 24 hours without a charge. The downside of course is that it’s been on the charger for about 90 minutes and it’s only back up to 52%. It’s probably not going to be fully charged by the time I have to leave. That’s okay. It’ll be charged enough.

I still need to top off the gas tank (it’s about 190 miles each way. In my hybrid Kia, if I start with a full tank I can get there and back and still have about a quarter of a tank left. I friggin’ love science) and pick up some caffeinated beverages for the ride. After that the only question is music or podcasts? If it’s music I might go with the new live record from The Pineapple Thief. I first stumbled across them a couple of years ago and it’s all good stuff, just nothing that sets the world on fire for me. Their new live record (they couldn’t tour last year so they did one show in an empty room and webcast it everywhere. The new record is that show) does it. It sets the red head’s head right on fire. Great album. I was seeing all this potential and waiting for a record that lived up to it. The last one was close. This new one nails it. Having said that though… I’ll still probably go with podcasts. That’s just kinda where I’m at this morning.

Happy travels, folks!

Road Trip on the Books

It’s official. I’m Vermont bound in the morning. Three hours up, drop off a laptop, three hours back. Sounds like a fun day to me.

The last time we went up there we took the kids to lunch. Covid dictated we get take out and eat it in the car. Someone, I’m not sure who, did not finish their lunch (it wasn’t me, I scarfed my sub down like the universe depended on it). I went to get something out of the car this morning and… oh the smell was powerful. I cleaned out the food and opened all of the windows. I think it’s okay now.

I mentioned before that I started a time lapse video with my iPad before work this morning. It’s still running. I’m going to stop it soon. It’s been over 10 hours. That should be a pretty good chunk of data for the iPad to work with.

I was thinking about time lapses and the road trip that’s coming and trying to figure out a way to have a time lapse running out the window of the car for the whole way up and the whole way back. Can I do that? I’d have to figure out a way to either aim out the window, or balance the iPad against the window. I think it might be more trouble than it’s worth. I wish I still had that little iPod Touch. If I could keep it plugged in that would work. Too bad it died.

Oh well. Probably not worth the effort.

Okay, I need to go blow out the candles. Talk to you later.

Change of Plans

Today was supposed to be a trip up to Vermont to visit the kids. Lunch with one and a swapping of warm clothes for summer clothes for the other. Alas it was not to be… yet. Next week. An ear infection and a stomach bug have derailed the plans for today, but we’ve already rescheduled for next week.

Instead, Jen and I took a crack at the mess that is Bellana’s room. When the cellar was flooded the first time we started storing stuff in her room. When the cellar flooded the second time we continued to use her room for storage. We didn’t do it a lot, but we did pile up some stuff. We spent a good chunk of our Saturday morning getting rid of crap we don’t need and finding new homes for the stuff we might need in the future. The cellar, specifically.

My back is killing me from going up and down the stairs. That’s okay. I’m at my desk in the bedroom with the window open enjoying what is probably the last moments of decent weather. I hate fall. The leaves are starting to fall. Bite me, mother nature.

Oh well.

Baseball at 4:00, hockey at 7:00, guitar at?

Road Trip

We’re about half a work day away from the weekend. Not just any weekend, but the first weekend where everyone in the house is fully vaccinated. Tonight there’s some new Marvel to watch. Will Sam take up the mantle of Captain America? I think so. If he doesn’t, will Bucky? Will the faux Cap become USAgent or will he end up taking a dirt nap? Part of me expects the latter.

Tomorrow there is a visit on the books as well as time for errands and hopefully a little music. Errands might include an oil change for one of the cars and maybe a stop at Best Buy? More likely I’ll order something from Best Buy. I don’t think I can deal with actually walking into a big box store yet.

Then there is Sunday. What to do about Sunday?

Well… both cars will have been serviced… we’re vaccinated… road trip? The first road trip in over a year? Bellana is just a few hours away in Vermont… might we head up for a visit?

I would not have had a problem with a long drive like that even at the worst of the Covid. I would just fill up the gas tank while wearing a mask and latex gloves, bring along a great big pile of snacks (via instacart), and go. If nature called I would pull off the road, find a tree, and take care of business. Jen, however, would not have had that nature calling luxury and there is no way we would go into a store or a gas station to do what needed to be done. That’s why long drives were off the table.

Now? I think we’d be okay going into a gas station to use a rest room. I don’t think we’d be happy about the situation, but if we’re masked up I think we can handle the weirdness.

Road trip to Vermont?

See Bellana for the first time in months?

There are still details to be worked out but… it could happen.

Am I actually making plans? I forgot what that felt like.

Projects

March kinda sucks.

I go through this every year.  I finish my February music projects and then feel this gaping hole in the universe during March.  From reading blogs and forum posts on rpmchallenge.com I’m clearly not alone in feeling this way.

So what to do?

A few months ago I was working on a way to add the rest of my old myspace blog to this site.  I started up on that again last night.  WordPress.com is able to back date posts but it’s a royal pain in the ass to go back to 2007 and 2008.  Instead, I created a Blogger account and I’ve been posting back dated entries there.  Once I have them all I’ll export them to an .xml file and import them here.  That should work fine.  The myspace blog covered pretty much all of 2006 through November 2008.  I had pulled all of 2006 into my previous wordpress.com site so those are all here already.  As of last night the Blogger page has almost all of 2007.  I think I have about 75 more posts to go.

I’m still going with my Flickr photo-a-day project.  It suddenly feels difficult though.  It was easy last month.  There was always music happening so I could take pics of that, and Disney made things even easier.  Now?  What the hell do I take pictures of now?  Where’s the cat when I need her?

Back in January Jen and I did a tutorial for a javascript extension (I think that’s the right way to describe it… a scripting language built on top of javascript).  It was fun and interesting but my javascript knowledge is ancient and more or less nil at this point.  I thought I might have gotten more out of it if I did a javascript tutorial first.  I would like to try something like that in the coming weeks.  I would like to be a better all around programmer than I am right now.  My company’s development tools and programming languages are proprietary, so even if I’m firing on all cylinders at work it doesn’t really extend to the rest of the world.

Years ago I found a set of wordpress.com tutorials called Blogging University.  There are various beginner and intermediate level courses to help you get the most out of your wordpress.com experience.  There were classes for customization, writing, photography, and interacting with other blogs.  I might give some of those a try again, just for schnitzengiggles.  If I remember correctly they were mostly prompts.  Things like, today you should write a better About page, or today you should take a picture of water.  Stuff like that.  The photo stuff would be fine to redo, as I just said I’m always looking for ideas for photo-a-day.  The basic blogging stuff is probably too simple for this page, but there is always the lizardfishmusic.com page.  I could make some changes there.  I don’t think I’ve made any changes to the layout there since I first created it.  Maybe a face lift would be fun?

Exercising should be an obvious target for new projects.  I had a really bad night Weight Watchers wise last night and I’m feeling a little crummy about myself today.  I got home from work and just started shoveling food into my face and I really didn’t stop until I fell asleep.  I need to be better than that.  The gym might help in that regard, or at least minimize the damage of any future bad days.  Right now I am having a problem with one of my feet (again).  My right foot feels a little swollen and it hurts to walk.  It’s not the same thing I had a month or so ago, and it’s not nearly as bad, but it is slowing me down right now.  Once that eases up I need to get back to the gym, and I need to get into a regular routine.

There is always more music to record, and more songs to learn for Lizardfish, and more practicing in general to do.  Just because February is over doesn’t mean I can stop playing.  I was doing pretty well with finding time to practice back in January.  I need to keep up with it.  I’m tired of feeling like the weak link in the band.  I’m also thinking of trying something new gear wise.  I want to try to run a two amp rig in the band, but most of the amps I have now are way too powerful and if I paired them up I’d be unable to not drown out the rest of the band during rehearsals.  I keep looking at my 15 watt Fender Bassbreaker as the solution.  If I could pair that with another lowish watt amp that could work.  I am thinking about going to Guitar Center to inquire about trading my Fender Stratocaster in for a Vox AC15.  I think that might be the key to making it all work.  A Fender Princeton reissue could do it, but it’s only a 10 inch speaker and I’d prefer to stick to 12 inch speakers if I can.  I just like them better.  We’ll see.

Should I start looking into using in-ear monitors?  One of the guys in the band uses them.  One of the hosts of the Gig Gab podcast swears by them.  So much so that he’s always inspiring the other host to try them, even though he has a hard time with them.  I don’t really want to spend money on it, but we’re getting to the point where we’re going to be mic’ing the room during rehearsals and I always wear ear plugs anyway.  Is it time?  I’m trying to decide.  I’m definitely on the fence.  We’ll see.

I was hoping that by this point in 2020 I would be able to do something to help out with the Warren for President campaign.  I guess that isn’t going to happen.  At least it seems highly unlikely now.  I can get behind Bernie Sanders, but the idea of a candidate in his late 70’s who has already suffered a heart attack during this campaign is a little depressing.  Platform wise I can 100% get on board.  Human wise… ugh.  As for Joe Biden.  He’s a great guy and I love him to pieces, but he’s literally my last choice of all of the candidates we’ve had.  Dead last.  Yet another guy in his late 70’s but this time one who just feels like a frat boy who got lucky.  He just seems a little too dumb ass for the oval office, and we already have a total dumb ass in the office now.  If he ends up with the nomination he’ll get 100% of my support… I was just hoping the rest of the country would jump on the Warren bandwagon, that’s all.  Yet another reason to feel let down by my fellow Americans.

There are a crap ton of TV shows that I want to watch.  February has resulted in me falling way behind on all of the CW super hero shows that I like to watch.  I’m like two months behind on The Flash, Supergirl, and Batwoman.  I’ve been trying to get caught up on Star Trek Discovery.  Season two is really good, I just haven’t had time to power through.  The last season of Star Wars The Clone Wars is either about to come out or has just recently come out.  I wanted to binge the whole series before I watched the new season but… Jar Jar… he kinda killed my interest in that.  I want to finish season two of You even though it’s definitely meh.  I want to watch Lock and Key and The Expanse and I still want to get back into Breaking Bad and Preacher.  I’ve started both of them, but just haven’t been able to keep going.  I’m not sure why, the are both good.  I’m caught up on The Walking Dead, and the second spin off is just a month or so away.  One show that I did not fall behind on in February is Star Trek Picard.  It is so good.  Just, so very good.  I wish it was going to be a 25 episode season instead of 10 (I think it’s just going to be 10).  I don’t want it to end… ever.

I’m sure there are other projects I can come up with that are just there for fun and a sense of creative accomplishment.  If we get lucky and Spring actually gets here there are always day trips up to the mountains that I can drag my beloved Mrs to.  There are so many waterfalls, and so many scenic views up there.  They are all just sitting there, waiting for me and Jen and my camera to come and visit.

There’s also always Disney World.  Or Disneyland.  Or Euro-Disney, if that’s even still a thing.  I’d say Tokyo Disney too but I have a co-worker who was supposed to go there next week and he told me it’s closed due to some global pandemic* thing.  Maybe you’ve heard of it?

On an unrelated note, I am trying a new browser again.  The same podcast that inspired me to try Brave has inspired me to try Vivaldi.  This post is the first thing I’ve done with it.  Isn’t that exciting?  I’m just glad that the Last Pass plug in for Chrome works in Vivaldi too.  That makes life a tiny bit easier.

 

*Go wash your hands.  Seriously.

We are Home

We left on Friday, a little after I punched out from work at 5:30. We drove as far as Utica, NY and stayed over. The next morning we hit the road again. We crossed into Canada on the Peace Bridge because the back up at the Rainbow Bridge was so unbelievably long we couldn’t take it. We went North to Hamilton, ON and then to Burlington, ON. We had planned to go to see Rush in Hamilton, but we had a last minute change of heart and went back to Niagara Falls and stayed over on the Canadian side. This morning we woke up and hit the road by 7:00am. We crossed back into the US on the Rainbow Bridge and then started home. When we got to Albany, NY we left route 90 and headed for Vermont. We back-roaded it all the way to the Everett Turnpike a little North of Nashua, NH and then headed home the old fashioned way. We got home at a little after 6:00pm.

What a nutzoid couple of days!

There will be pictures of the falls. Lots of ’em.