It’s all about me. World events? The Russian invasion of Ukraine? It’s all about me.

No it isn’t, but this is partly about me but also about guitar gear in general.

Vacuum tubes, right? The best guitar amps are powered by tubes (valves if you’re one of our British friends). The technology dates back to 1904, according to Wikipedia, and the guitar amps many of us like date back to the 50’s and 60’s. Suffice to say it’s not exactly cutting edge stuff.

The only industries that still use tubes are guitar amps and effects and hi-fi stereo systems. That’s it. Tubes used to run everything but now it’s down to those two hold outs. As a result there are only three factories on Earth that still manufacture vacuum tubes. Three.

One factory is in Slovakia (I think… or is it Slovenia? No, pretty sure it’s Slovakia). Another factory is in China. From what I hear, that factory recently had a bad fire and they have been offline for a while. The result of that is that tubes, already in short supply, are in a full blown shortage. Thank goodness for that third factory, huh? Hey, where is that third factory anyway?



I haven’t heard anything specific but with the sanctions the entire world is leveling at Russia to convince them to stop being evil and get their military out of Ukraine it’s safe to say that we won’t be seeing any tubes out of that Russian factory any time soon. That means that we’re effectively down to one factory. One. Let’s all send as many happy and safe vibes we can to JJ Electronic in the hopes that they keep rolling at peak efficiency with all of their staff being exceptionally happy and healthy and satisfied in their professions.

I own four tube amps. Three Fenders and a Vox. I haven’t been a tube amp guy for long, but in my very teeny tiny experience I have never had to change a tube. Please, guitar gods, let the tubes in my amps last forever. Pretty please.

One other guitar gear thing I want to mention is petty and pointless and exactly the sort of thing that the trump ass cult ranks on people like me ceaselessly for. I can’t help it though.

I really like using fuzz pedals. Of the three classic types of fuzz pedals, Fuzz Face, Tone Bender, and Big Muff Pi, my absolute favorites are Muffs. They are just ferocious and I really love them. In the last two years or so I have used a clone of a Big Muff pedal for probably 80% of the lead guitar parts I have recorded. Most of those tracks were recorded using a pedal by a company called Wren and Cuff that is called the Super Russian. Big Muffs were originally made by the Electro Harmonics company back in 1970 or so. That company fell apart in the late 80’s or early 90’s (not sure exactly when) and a new company was formed from the ashes that was called Sovtek. That company was based in the newly post-Soviet Union Russia. Many of the EHX pedals were redesigned to use Russian components and manufactured and sold by the new company. The Super Russian pedal on my board is based on a Sovtek period Big Muff.

The pedal sounds amazing and I love playing through it. It’s pretty much perfect. Still… when I was posting my RPM stuff to I was adding notes about what gear I used (so that I can know what I used when I listen back years from now). I kept having to type the word Russian into those notes. Even though the pedal and I have nothing to do with the evil spewing out of Moscow right now, I felt kinda dirty every time I wrote one of those notes. It is totally irrational and makes zero sense, but that’s how I felt. Feelings don’t need to be rational, after all. I mean we aren’t Vulcans, right?

So I guess what I am saying is… I might be in the market for a fuzz pedal that isn’t based on a Sovtek circuit. It is entirely possible that this might just be my Gear Acquisition Syndrome trying to trick me into buying a new pedal, but let’s not think about that.

Whatever. I should just send $200 to a Ukrainian charity instead and just get over my irrational self. I should also start hoarding vacuum tubes.

The Activity App Tried to Kill Me

The iOS activity app that’s tied to the Apple Watch gives these little challenges every now and then and I like to complete them because I am easily manipulated by technology.

It had a challenge for the Lunar New Year to do one workout of at least 20 minutes between February 1st and 15th. I decided that today was the day. I was going to hop up on that exercise bike and ride for 20 minutes. I brought up an episode of Tacoma FD (s3ep12 Pickleball) on my iPad and put it on the little iPad holder on the bike’s handle bars. Then I told my wife that if she heard a loud crash coming from the bedroom it was likely because I died trying to ride the bike for 20 minutes, and off I went.

I actually went for 21 minutes. The Activity app triggers exercise time based on your heart rate and for the first minute of my workout (which I tracked in the Workout App because I am not only easily manipulated by technology, but I am also chemically dependent on using technology for everything imaginable) my heart rate did not increase enough. I wanted the 20 minute workout, but I also wanted 20 minutes worth of exercise time on the app, so I had to throw in an extra minute.

What a feeling of accomplishment! Well… I assume I would have a feeling of accomplishment for catching the little carrot that the little app dangled in front of me, but my legs hurt so much that I can’t acknowledge any feelings other than aches and pain and a general sense of blissful, pain masking numbness.

The next challenge is to do 30 minutes of exercise on Valentine’s Day. That’s no worry. I want to do 30 minutes total every day, so it’s a gimmie. Assuming I can get my legs to move again. That’s sort of a big if right now.

What Does Mars Sound Like?

NASA has answered an age old question: What does Mars sound like?

It sounds like a microphone without a wind screen and the fact that we can listen to it, even though there is basically nothing there, is one of the coolest things that has ever happened in the history of Earth.

The Journey of DJ Roomba

At 3:00am this morning Mr DJ Roomba (Esq) set off for his thrice weekly journey to vacuum up all the dirt from our floors. When I woke up a little after 6:00am I found that he failed to return home after completing his night’s (knight’s) work. Where was he? I checked the bathroom. No. The hallway. No. The kitchen. No. the living room. No. Well that’s about the only places he goes on his journeys. Where the hell was he?

Jen checked the iRobot app and it reported that Mr DJ Roomba (Esq)’s battery died before he made it home. It also had a map showing it’s last known location. It looked like it was in the hallway, but we knew it wasn’t there.

When we go to bed on a Roomba night we close the doors to the kids rooms, the office, and the cellar. Those doors were all still closed. Where could he be? We started looking under furniture in the living room and the dining room but all was clear.

Jen eventually found it. It was in Harry’s room. Somehow, Mr DJ Roomba (Esq), while cleaning the hallway, banged into the door hard enough to open it wide enough to sneak through. Then once it was in it banged the door closed again and couldn’t escape it’s self made prison.

I don’t know how long it was stuck in that room, but it was long enough that it cleaned the holy hell out of the place. That floor is clean enough to eat off of. That floor hasn’t been that clean since we moved into the house. It’s spectacular.

And that, gentle readers, is the tragic story of The Journey of Mr DJ Roomba (Esq).

How Was Your Thanksgiving

How was everyone’s Thanksgiving? Was it socially distanced? Did you stay safe or did you ignore the pandemic and spread the disease far and wide? We stayed safe. If you didn’t, fuck you.

We moved some furniture around to prep for Christmas decorations. One of the things that got moved was the Apple HomePod. Ever since they announced the HomePod mini, I’ve been kinda jonzing for one but Jen wanted to upgrade our Sonos system. Either way is fine with me, but I just like being an Apple fanboy.

Well, after moving the HomePod last night Jen has seemed to be a little inspired. She did a lot of cool stuff with the Home app, including setting it up for our Hue lights, and the new intercom function. I had taken the HomePod Mini off of my Christmas list, but now… woah. Are we getting on the HomePod bandwagon for more than just listening to music?

Have you watched the episode of The Mandalorian that came out today? I didn’t think they could top last week’s episode, but holy crap did they ever!

I was going to do some car singing this morning but given the choice between that and sleeping a whole lot, I chose sleeping. We just got some new flannel sheets and oh the comfy.

That’s the kind of news you get when you read this bloggie… you learn about the new flannel sheets on our bed. Kick ass, dude!

Now, go and watch The Mandalorian while I do a little walking in place exercise and watch the new episode of That Pedal Show and think about all the cool reverb effects that I can’t do without spending hundreds of dollars. Also… is a Wampler Plexi Drive Mini a good alternative to the racism that an OCD pedal represents? Questions, babie. All the questions.

Happy Day After Thanksgiving/First Day of Christmas.

Absent Minded Apple Watch Guy

You’d think that after a year and a half I’d have this down pat.

I screwed up my technological sleeping workflow on two consecutive nights. What the hell, self?

I think it was June of 2019 when I first started using a CPAP machine to help me combat sleep apnea and constant snoring at 180 decibels. At that time I also started wearing my Apple Watch to sleep so that I could use it to track all sorts of sleepy time data.

It’s been nearly a year and a half. Every night, before bed, I put the watch on the charger to top off the battery. When I lay down to go to sleep I put the watch back on and BAM… sleep data.

Tuesday night, two nights ago to be exact, I put the watch on the charger at a bit after 9:00 PM. I finally lay my head down for a good night’s slumber at about 10:15. I fell asleep, but woke up some time later. I usually wake up around 3:00 AM or so and I looked at my watch to see if that was the case… and there was no watch there. What? I looked at the charger and there it was. Sonofa! I forgot to put my watch on. Fortunately it was only 11:30 so I was still able to track most of the night. Still… dumbass.

Wednesday night, last night to be exact, I went to bed at a little before 10:00. I sat up and doom scrolled the tweeter app for a while and then at a little after 10:00 I rolled over and slept. This morning I woke up and checked the numbers. Everything looked good. Then I noticed my watch battery was super low. What? I forgot to top off the battery before bed. What the what? Two days in a row? A year and a half into the sleep study process and I screwed up two nights in a row? I mean, I got my data and everything was fine but still… dumbass.

Apple Watch Faces

On my first Apple Watch I made two watch faces. When I upgraded from Series One to Series Three I kept them and didn’t create anything new.

I only used the Mickey Mouse face when I was on vacation, or when I had nothing important going on.

Now that I have a Series Five I’ve been playing with new watch faces. So far I’ve put two together that I kinda like.

I’m not sure which one I prefer. I’ve got the blue one on now. I might switch to the white one.

So many options!

Really, Mickey is still the best.

Widget Hope

The United States is literally crumbling around us. Americans are being murdered in the streets by law enforcement officials who have sworn to protect them, and the so called president is pledging to sic the military on those who speak out against it.

And yet there are glimpses of hope buried in the chaos. Americans have flown into space on American vehicles for the first time in a decade.

And earlier today the WordPress widget on my iPhone did this:

Attention all planets of the solar federation…

We have assumed control…

We have assumed control…

We have assumed control.


My beloved wife, Jennifer, wants to buy a new MacBook Pro.

This post is me announcing to the universe, both known and unknown, that I’m cool with it.

If anyone has worked hard enough to earn themselves a new Mac Lappie, it’s her.