Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Well, that didn't go according to plan.

So, here's a quick rundown of what happened:

I got into school, but because I had to quit school in Florida mid-semester and take an F in three classes, I can't actually get any financial aid to go to school. Plus, my student loan forbearances ran out, so I had to try to fix THAT too. So after a shit-ton of wrangling and hand-wringing and depressed days and nights I wound up attempting to go to community college to make up those classes. That turned into ANOTHER weeks and weeks of struggling with bullshit on top of bullshit.

At the end of it all? I'm paying for college out-of-pocket for the next year. It is cheap enough to do, thanks to an installment payment program. I've managed to register for two of the three classes I need to replace in order to start taking classes at the School of Engineering at UNM. I deferred my admission there, so I can go back next year without doing the whole admission process again. Cool beans. I've got to figure out how to pay for books, but that's a small issue compared to what I've been dealing with.

Other than that? Everything is sort of normal-ish. My wife loves her new job, the in-laws we see 3-4 times a month, THEY BOUGHT ME A FREEZER!, sort of the same old shit. Still shopping for guitar things I don't need, still alternating cooking elaborate meals with making Old El Paso tacos. Still spending WAY TOO MUCH TIME cleaning up after pets that can't seem to hit the litter boxes.

Living the dream...

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Things to do when you've been out of school for two years

My long break is almost over at long last. So, what do I have to do to prepare?


  • Reteach myself all of the math and science I took in Florida, so that I can jump right back in or even be a little bit ahead
  • Exercise and diet so that I can actually navigate from class to class without suffering a heart attack or sitting through class soaked in sweat
  • Panic a whole fucking bunch, and work really hard not to do anything stupid/self-destructive
I have 58 days until school starts. I'm going to take about three weeks to relearn trig and pre-calculus, and then five weeks to relearn calculus. That isn't as bad as it sounds, since it is mostly refresher stuff and I had pretty good grades the last time around. I've already been going to the gym and dieting, and I've lost a pretty decent amount of weight so far. I'm doing a pretty solid job panicking too, and so far I haven't screwed anything up too severely. 

So far. 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Real Me... plus or minus some news

When I started this blog, I was in school and trying to exercise and buying guitar stuff and obsessed with koala bears.

Three of those four things are the same. I'm not such a big koala fan, although I'm still as cuddly as one. I'm finally back in school for the first time in a couple of years, transferred my undergrad credits directly into an engineering program. I've joined a gym, and when I'm not sick I go 5-6 days a week. Still doing the guitar thing, although I've got too much stuff and too little money to buy more stuff, so I'm stuck actually having to play the fucking things.

The school thing is a big deal, because it gets me out of the house and engaged with the world in a way that I haven't been in awhile. Without that engagement, I don't really have much to blog about. Looks like this blog might start being active again. I make no promises though.

In the meanwhile, here's a picture of a cat:


Sunday, April 21, 2013

Non-taco Sunday

So...

My wife quit her job, and has taken a new position that will let her mostly work from home. She's just sort of done with being the boss, and figured it was better to find something new and different rather than to stay and suffer and probably screw up out of pure burnout and get fired. The pay is similar, but without having to be on call one week a month. Since she's going to be working from home, she needed a home office. Since we're amazingly running out of room in this huge-ass house, we're going to be sharing my music room. I'd move the guitar stuff into my office, but I'm afraid the cat will piss inside the amplifier again.

We're also on a really tight budget, because she's having to pay back part of the signing bonus we got to move here. So her last check might be a big fat goose-egg. At some point the new job will be supplying her with a large fax machine and a laptop to do her work on, so she needed a really large desk, or a smaller desk and a separate cart for the fax machine. Rather than blow a ton of cash on either... I built a desk!


I went to Lowe's and bought a 6'x2'x3/4" sheet of aspen, and a couple of wire shelves, and hooked them all together with some metal hardware that cost about $10. The whole thing was less than $125, and is really solid.

Also because we're suddenly (but temporarily) poor, and don't know when the next real paycheck is coming in, we had to cut our grocery budget by more than half, and bought a whole month worth of food. No tacos tonight, we're making a big pot of green chile stew that we're going to eat tonight and then freeze for my wife to take to work for lunch this week. She loves that shit... I'm kind of indifferent but don't mind it occasionally.

Worth it to be a little broke for a little while, and have a happy, healthy, less stressed-out wife.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

TACO SUNDAY!!!!!

Jeez, I love me some Taco Sunday. I'll be sober tonight, since there's no Walking Dead on.

Figured out that I can watch free movies from Amazon Prime on my TV through the PS3, which is sweet because between that and Netflix I have a seemingly-infinite selection of movies to watch.

I've been pretty happy with my baby amplifier these last few weeks. Nice to have a more quiet option for when my wife is sleeping or when I'm trying to learn new stuff through the Internet, since all my other gear is A) LOUD and B) in a different room from my computer. And since some of my effects pedals can have their software edited online, an amp next to my computer lets me do that without too much extra cable wrangling across the house. Plus, Formerly Office Kitty likes having yet another place to sleep:





Speaking of that other room, I will soon have to share or surrender my music room to my wife, who needs her own office space starting in the next 2-3 weeks. Probably "share" since the cats still sometimes use things other than litter boxes to pee in, and I don't want any of my good stuff "marked" by them.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

So apparently there's a thing called a red-ruffed lemur? (and movie trailer complaints!)



Can't say that I love it.

You know what else I don't love? Trailers that give away all the cool parts of the movie! I saw a trailer for Iron Man 3 that basically gave away the moment that, had I not known it was coming, would have got me to jump out of my seat in the movie theater and started screaming "OH FUCK YEAH MOTHERFUCKERS!!!" until I got arrested. Now that I know it is coming? I can wait to see it at home, thanks. And that goes for all the spoiler-filled interviews and articles in the weeks leading up to any movie's release.

Someone needs to explain to me... or maybe not, because obviously there's market research behind advertising. It must tell the people cutting the trailers that people are too goddamned stupid/broken in the brain to go see a movie unless they know everything that it going to happen in advance. To me, that ruins the experience of seeing a story unfold, especially if the point of the unfolding is to surprise me at some point. If you tell everyone everything they need to know to figure out the surprise, or just give it all away weeks before the movie starts? Fuck you, I don't want to see your movie that much anymore. If you don't have enough confidence in your movie to not show me all the cool parts in the trailer, well... Netflix or HBO will have it on eventually.

Anyone else remember The Sixth Sense? The reason it was so huge was because no one knew the secret twist at the end. Today? The twist would be in the trailer, in all the advertising, and in every interview with cast and crew. Of course it would. They did it in the inferior "horror" movie remake When a Stranger Calls.  The "twist" in that movie was that the babysitter is getting creepy threatening phone calls, and they're coming from inside the house. Normally, that would get a spoiler warning, except in the trailer they play the part where the police call her to tell her that they've traced the call, and you hear the cop say in the trailer "the calls are coming from INSIDE THE HOUSE!"... and then they show some of the jump scares when the killer is chasing her in the house, in the trailer.

Yep, didn't bother to see that one.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Wow, it has been awhile...

At least I have a ring-tailed lemur. :)


So life is in fact pretty good!

Otherwise, there's sort of so little going on that I have a hard time thinking about something to blog about. Plus I'm on Twitter, so the trivia has a place to be. Deep thoughts? I don't think I have anything original to say. I could make fun of libertarians some? I guess?

Plus I'm really really really sleepy right now, which is making it hard to even finish THIS blog post. Nap-time it is!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Making real progress!

Here's some before and after pictures of my amplifier:

BEFORE





DURING




And here's where I am today:



It isn't perfect, and I have a little more cutting and gluing to do on the back, including building a brand new back panel. But on the other hand, I've made some real solid progress, and it is nice that it is coming out more or less the way I imagined it. Good times!

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Giving my ears a break

For the six of you still reading this blog, you know my amp is in pieces around the house. So no plugged-in guitar goodness for Joe... I've been practicing putting the green vinyl on the amplifier cabinet and cutting the corners, and I had to take a full day to repair the cabinet and paint the inside of it and let everything dry. The mail with my amp hardware has been delayed by the big winter storm that hit the middle of the country.

Plus, I've been sick all week. Woe is Joe... woe is Joe.

Anyhoo, I finally said "screw it" and put the amp semi back together. The speakers are back in the bare wood cabinet, and the electronic guts are sitting on top. All hooked up, and I cranked it up and played for a few minutes this morning. I'm just blown the fuck away by how GOOD it sounds. Rich and dynamic and full... and then I kicked on a distortion pedal. Didn't have the levels matched like I normally do, so the distortion was LOUD and I was standing close to the amp and I felt it right in the nuts. Literally vibrated my sack.

I'm sure I'd down to five readers now.

I think sometimes you forget if you play every day, everything starts to sound sort of samey and blah. Even switching guitars, even with all these effects I've got. The same way it doesn't matter how awesome a restaurant is, if it is the only place you eat eventually you'll get bored of the menu. I haven't played plugged in for 4-5 days, and I missed it, and it only took a couple of minutes to remember exactly why.

Yeah, totally worth making this amp look as good as it sounds.

*edit*

Did I mention new tubes? Yes, new tubes. The clean channel sounds the same, and the gain channel sounds more... gainy? Pretty great sounding.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Oh wow, oh no... the madness!!!

Look what I did to my amp!


No covering, the speakers aren't attached properly, the electronic guts are sitting on top, no control panel... what the hell was I thinking?!?!

I can do this. I know I can do this. It is going to take me a few months to afford to do this, but I can do this. Because no single part is expensive, but the whole thing done right with the parts I want is going to be a couple of hundred dollars. Luckily, and almost unbelievably? The amp actually functions like this.