Nerd Projects

When I was in college I took a circuit design course and had to solder together a circuit board. That was in 2003, I think. Maybe 2002. A long time ago. I haven’t done anything remotely similar to that since.

For a while now I’ve had this secret desire to buy a build your own amplifier kit and build the whole thing myself. I want to build a clone of a tweed Fender Deluxe. It’s supposed to be a simple build and it is a legendary amp.

I’d like to do this, but the idea of actually wiring it together is terrifying to me. The solution, of course, is to find a smaller scale project and do that first. Like, practice, you dig? There’s also the small matter of not having any of the tools required.

Today is one of those days where I feel myself getting close to pulling the trigger on a wiring project. Build Your Own Clone is a company that sells kits for all sorts of guitar gear. Their stuff is supposed to be excellent. I was surfing around their website today looking for something simple to use as a first project. Some kind of fuzz pedal maybe? How about a treble booster, those are supposed to be dead simple.

Then I saw they have a Marshall Bluesbreaker pedal clone. I don’t know if it’s an easy build or not (the reviews say it is, but are those people first timers? Who knows) but I’ve been thinking about picking up a Bluesbreaker style pedal anyway. Wampler makes one. Keeley used to make one. Analogman makes the mother of all Bluesbreaker style pedals, the King of Tone and I’ve been on the waiting list for one for over two years. Maybe I could build one to hold me over until I bubble up to the top of the list.

Also, amazon has all sorts of inexpensive soldering kits that include everything I remember using in that circuit design class so many ages ago.

I do not want to spend money on any of this stuff… but I’m thinking about it. Thinking about it pretty hard. Who knows, build a pedal or two, then build a tweed Deluxe… then what? I bet I could find a 4×10 tweed Fender Bassman clone somewhere. Maybe even the amplifier the Bluesbreaker pedal is supposed to simulate, the Marshall 1962 aka The Bluesbreaker (so named because Eric Clapton used one on the Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton album in 1966).

Fantasizing about guitar gear… that’s a new high of nerdness for me, I think.

Best Scam Robo Call EVER

Phone rings. The number on the caller ID is gibberish. Okay, I’ll bite. I could use a laugh.

“Hello, we are calling from the social security office. There has been suspicious activity on your account and we are going to suspend I.T.”

Huh? Suspend I.T.? Wait… did they mean “suspend it”?

Laughter ensues.

Life on Venus? Hell Yes!

Is there life on Venus? You wouldn’t think so…


Well… it’s probably not life. I haven’t read the article yet, but I’ve read the author’s tweet storm where he talks it through. It’s probably just something that on Earth is biological, but elsewhere is just some goofy chemistry that we haven’t seen in these parts yet.

Still… even though this isn’t even close to evidence that there is life on another planet, I am going to choose to error on the side of massive overreaction and say, WOOOHOOO! Life on Venus, babie!

I Need to Play

I haven’t played my guitar this week and the stir crazy is getting to me. I’ve done a lot of work on 50/90 but none of it on guitar. I’ve got eight songs with vocals recorded that are just waiting for leads. I have three that are ready for rhythm guitar. Tonight. I hope. All totaled, I’m up to 47 songs now. Three more to go and then all I have to do is the gigantic mountain of work left to finish them up.

The Agents of Shield re-watch is up to season five episode one. It opens with a montage set to a Talking Heads song. At least I think it’s a Talking Heads song. It’s definitely David Byrne singing. It lead me to the question: The year is 2020, is it time for me to give Talking Heads a try? I more or less ignored them back in the 80’s. Should I change my mind? Change my tune, so to speak?

Jen and I have been trying to exercise. I’ve been getting 30 minutes or so in each day for the last few days. I’ve been slacking a little today though. One of the things the Apple Watch activity app tracks is calories burned. I had the goal set at 640. I can’t remember if I set that or if it defaulted that way, but it’s been like that forever.

My SleepWatch app has been giving me notifications stating that I get better sleep if I burn 800 calories. That’s interesting. The last few exercise filled days have seen me going way above 800 and I have been sleeping a little better than normal. I guess that settles it. My activity app has been upped from 640 to 800 calories. Yup. I need to go for a 5-6 minute walk now.

50/90 Day 12 Update

I suppose it’s time for a 50/90 update. Let’s do some math, shall we?

July 4th through October 1st. 90 days over three months.

90 songs in three months means 16.67 songs per month. Thanks for coming out even, stupid math. So at the minimum, two of the three months need 17 songs and one needs 16. Since July starts on the 4th instead of the 1st, July is the shortest month, therefore logically July should be the month that only needs 16 songs.

Math is hard.

As of bed time last night I have 16 songs in progress. All of them have the song form set, half of them have very badly performed guitar parts recorded, none of them have lyrics or melody yet, and all of them pretty much suck so far.


I am on the minimum pace.

I want to record some guitars tonight, and I’m hoping that by the time the weekend is over there will be some vocals down too. We’ll see. That might be a tall order.

I also feel that I should warn you, faithful readers (he said like he was Stephen freakin’ King or something) that a few minutes ago I started on what could be the nerdiest project I have ever undertaken… and that’s saying something.

Jen and I have become a little weirdly obsessed with candles during our four month lock down. All through our work days we both have a candle or two (or three) burning near our desk. I don’t really know why, and I don’t think she does either, but we do.

This morning when I lit my desk candles I started taking a time lapse video of one of them. I pointed my iPad at a candle, started recording, and lit the bastard. I was planning to let it run for an hour or so out of fear that the battery wouldn’t last for much longer than that. As I was writing this though, I found a lightning cable long enough to plug my iPad in without moving it from it’s video-ing location.

It is possible that I could take a full 8-9 hour long time lapse video of this candle. Oh. My. Nerd. Hopefully I don’t accidentally knock over the iPad or something. Knowing me like I do, I’ll probably do something stupid to screw this up and spare you, faithful readers, from my epic nerdness.

We shall see.

Notice Anything Different?

Hey you guys. Do you notice anything different about this page? Something subtle and under the covers like?

We just rebuilt our entire home network. Can you tell?

Actually, I am just logged onto my work PC to make sure I still have a connection. I do. Next I’ll check my MacBook.

Be right back.

White Light of Death

Buying a huge new TV and changing up the living room reminded us that we have a Play Station 4 that we never use. Jen and I were both inspired. I started playing EA Sports NHL 2020 and she stared playing this kick ass Star Wars game whose name escapes me.

On Monday, just before work, I had a little open time. Just enough to play a hockey game. I switched on the PS4, grabbed a controller, and when I tried to pair them nothing happened. The console couldn’t read the controller. I tried another controller. Same thing. I then sent the PS4 to its room and told it that I was not mad, I was just disappointed (in English: I shut it off and went to work).

Today I was up very early and had time for multiple hockey games. I had to watch the last episode of the last season of Rick and Morty first, but once that was done (which Beth is the clone? Will we ever know? Does it matter?) I switched on the Play Station to prepare for some hockey goodness.

The same thing happened. The controller wouldn’t pair with the console. Huh. I also noticed that the little blue light on top of the box was not blue, it was white. Well, that is probably trying to tell me something, right? Off to The Google!

The first hit I saw was titled, “White Light of Death.”

Uh oh. I think I’ll go sign in to work now.