Saturday, April 29, 2006

Naming Names
All my guitars have names. All three of them. My first guitar, the Santana SE is called "Carlito" after the great, great Carlos Santana whose name is affixed to the production model. He is my only guy guitar. Then came Holly, the Hollowbody II. That name is almost self evident. And now, the blue Swamp Ash Special is living with me and her name is "Julie Ocean." Why? First because that lush deep blue color with the distinct swamp ash grain makes me think of ocean waves and secondly becuase of Emm Gryner's beautiful cover of the Undertones song of that name. Her name might change as I get more comfortable with her but for now, she is Julie.
A friend suggested that she's a Duke blue color but reaching for a name to go with that (Debbie With A Blue Dress On? I
don't think so) involved too much stretching. Things could change.
As for Julie herself - I'm quite remarkably happy. She's heavy, heavier than Carlito who also has a solid body. But she holds the music like a miser hoards money. I strummed once across the strings and held the neck to see when I felt the vibration die out - 12 seconds. And bolt-on neck guitars are not renowned for their sustain. I've also played with the tonal settings and I'm impressed -the tonal variation is hugely evident even to a neophyte such as myself. In short, I am
liking this guitar. So much that I'm not even looking at Paul Reed Smiths on eBay anymore.
For the downside, there is kind of a funk coming off the interior of the case (sort of a chemical smell) which I don't much care for but someone coming into my home may find a pong that's not their cuppa either. Not a big deal - I've left the case open for a couple of days and Febreezed the room a couple of times. It's pretty much solved by now. And I do need her checked out by my gitbox man. The fretboard needs cleaning and I'm unwilling as yet to de-string it to do so.
It's just so great to have one more beautiful PRS for the love of music.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Woo Hoo!
I made the list on Wizbang's caption contest again! Yay!
Yes, I do seek validation for the slightest of reasons. Why do you ask?

Monday, April 24, 2006

More PRS Lust
That would be a Swamp Ash Special in Blue Matteo with rosewood fretboard and Paul Reed Smith bird inlays. I love this guitar in a natural finish to show off the grain of the wood but this is just the prettiest dang blue I've seen. Looks like an ocean. Should I get it? I'm leaning hard toward "yes."
The SAS is an interesting guitar. Here's the PRS page on it. The upper and lower pickups (bass and treble) are fairly PRS-usual but there's a third pickup in the middle ("Seymour Duncan Vintage Rails" pickup) and the electronics allow the player to pick and choose amongst which pickups will be in use. My understanding is that this allows the SAS to switch between a more Fender sound and a more Gibson sound as desired. I ain't that good. Another year or so and I'll have a much better understanding of it all.
I'll tell you this though: Holly certainly sounds as sweet and clear as fresh spring water. I figure a Swamp Ash Special should have its own charm. Also, "Swamp Ash Special" - how cool is that? Sounds like something John Fogerty should be playing. Or singing about.

UPDATE: Oh yes. It will be mine. Possibly as soon as Thursday. And one thing I forgot to note - yes, that is a tremelo bridge. And to clarify something, my guitar hero (and PRS addict) friend 'splained it to me a little bit. One of the pickups gives the guitar a Stratocaster sound (not a generic "Fender" sound) and the other gives it a Les Paul sound (not a generic "Gibson" sound). It seems a lot of owners use their Swamp Ash Specials for gigging just because of the versatility. Neat. Unnh. I mean "Cool!"
Oh The Things You'll See!
I had a fun time this weekend for a few reasons, all revolving around the 85th birthday of the patriarch of an extended clan of mixed Norse and South American blood based in western Maryland. 85. I wished him welcome to middle age - as long as he was planning to live to 170. But that's not the fount of the fun.
He is still true to his roots in his love of pickled herring (something I enjoy but not as much, I think, as he does). I also learned that his favorite dessert is ice cream. So (you're getting ahead of me here aren't you?) I made him herring ice cream. And he was game enough to eat a scoop. What a hell of a guy.
Now, I have to say that I didn't spring this without trying it myself and truth be told - it's not a vile as you might imagine it to be. If you really like pickled herring, you wouldn't be gagging at the ice cream. In fact, it's based on herring in cream sauce so it's a lot like cold, sweetened herring in cream sauce.
I Googled "herring ice cream" and references to it have been made on the interweb but no one seems to have actually made it. I have. File it under "Small Claim To Fame."

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Two Bit Reviews
First, "Narnia." Good. Not great. A good rental which I'm glad I didn't have to spend more than $3 to see. Effects were uniformly excellent - there is a moment when the faun Tumnus walks into his house and chatters his hooves to knock snow off that is just perfect. Cute kids pretty much. Though I was often put off by the British spade-y toothedness of them. I loved the beaver couple - they were cute and just delightful. Problems abounded though. Aslan, the Christ figure of the show was voiced by Liam Neeson. I have nothing against the rangy Irish thespian but if you're going to image Our Saviour, use a voice talent whose face we don't picture every time we hear the voice, eh? And the grand battle to save Narnia just doesn't come across as grand. "Lord of the Rings" is one of the few movies where the grand battle with evil really felt like the Grand Battle With Evil. Finally, I can't imagine anyone other than Tilda Swinton to be cast as the White Witch, she of the bleached out appearance (see her in "Constantine" for another perverse performance) and seemingly translucent skin. And yet there is something about her that makes me ... I'll use the word "desire" her in lieu of admitting to perverse impulses of my own. I look at the White Witch and want her as I hate myself for wanting her. I don't think that's what C.S. Lewis had in mind!
I also watched Mr Potter's movie with the Giblets of Fire. What can one say? The kids are growing up handsome or pretty so good on them. The effects were less "real" than in the Narnia movie but very effective nonetheless. I liked the lake sequence a lot - fresh water mer-people with salmon or cod-like tails was a very smart touch. But it strikes me that the actual goblet of fire is a pretty small part of the story. Yes, yes, it sets it all in motion but it isn't a big deal in almost all other ways. It does, I suppose fit with the naming convention of the books though. I really liked the blue hats of the French girls - kind of sexy in a haute coture kind of way and distinct from the Gothic style of Hogwarts. Harry really should stop being such a clueless tool though. That's Voldemort Harry! Kick his ASS! Whew. Talk about not getting into the spirit of the series! Good movie. I'm somewhat sorry I didn't see it in the theater.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Getting It Wrong
Sometimes, you don't listen hard enough. Or you don't hear quite right. I sat down for a nice long conversation with who I thought was JoJo and come to find out - her name is Holly. Sorry darlin'. My mistake. You are Holly now and forever.
You realize of course that I am talking about my guitar, don't you?

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

I Wonder...
As I was reading the title of the Narnia movie again, it struck me: This is awfully close to the description of the scumbaggery of the Clinton Administration and its revelation due to the blue dress. That would be "The Lyin', The Wench and The Wardrobe."

Monday, April 17, 2006

New On The Rental Block(buster)
Since there is crap all on TV on Monday nights (until 10 pm - CSI:My-yummy Calliegh Duquesne ... unnhh I mean the Miami CSI show), I hit up my local vid rental place with my $3 per rental card. "Narnia," "Walk The Line" and the latest Harry Potter. Yeah. I'm so far behind the times that the movies have beards on 'em but I watch these things on my own time.
Also, still haven't gotten Roy Orbison's "Black & White Night" CD from Amazon. Surprising that they haven't had it in stock or whatever. At least they sent me the Fagen discs. My thoughts for April involve Jake's new disc but so far his web site hasn't given up any info about a release date. And for that matter, his MySpace site seems to have been deleted. I'm starting to worry 'bout the lad. I may get myself a sort of "best of" disc of Brewer and Shipley. There are at least three songs I'd really like to have. The rest is a wonderful artifiact of my yute.

I Love Pugs
But this is wrong in oh so many ways. (Warning: dogs dressed as people)

Thursday, April 13, 2006

The Enigmatic Misanthrope this morning directed my attention to a report in the Rocky Mountain News of the wake held by the Oglala Sioux for one of their own fallen in Iraq: Cpl. Brett Lundstrom. Read the report but do not make the mistake of missing the slide show in the "Story Tools" box. If this does not bring a tear to your eye, you have no soul.
May God bless Cpl. Lundstrom, his family and the nation of Oglala Sioux for their honor to this fallen warrior.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

And One More Thing
No, I've not become Steve Jobs. I just thought I'd post my latest home improvement project - a curved shower rod in the guest bath. While on my latest trip, I noticed that the hotel had one of these and was surprised at how much more comfortable it was. OK, I can't say that it was this particular one but that's the one I bought and just finished installing. It is remarkably easy to install, all the mounting hardware is included. I'll provide a report when I have a guest stay and give it the pH-balanced test. (I'm pretty sure my shower water is not acidic!)
Generally speaking, I have never been a fan of shower curtains. As an Adipose-American, I find shower curtains to end up stuck to me instead of to the side of the tub. As the ad copy at the link says, I am tired of "cling-ons."

Monday, April 10, 2006

Putting the "Mental" in "Environmental"
I ordered my vegetables from Burpee's today. No thanks to anyone expressing an opinion of my damader plants, dang yees! But that's not all. I've figured out how to cover myself in both environmental glory and join the exclusive club of having something no one else has. I'm going to get a stencil and put "HYBRID" on the sides and under the badging of my six year-old Outback. Bingo. A Hybrid Outback! Genius.
Yeah, I know it won't be a hybrid but it'll drive people who see it nuts thrying to find one for themselves.

Trying New Things
I am an inveterate try-er of new products. Within reason. I haven't found the opportunity to "try out," say, a Maserati Quattroporte for a reasonable price. "Hello? Maserati? My name is BlogDog and I run an auto-review website called 'Pugs of War' ... What? No. Explaining that would be a long and boring story. The purpose of my call is to ask about the delivery of a Quattroporte for a test drive sometime in the near future ... Hello? Hello? Dang."
But I have recently tried a few new things. Coke Blak for example (Flash site warning on that link). "Coke effervesence with coffee essence" to quote the Coke Flaks. Good things: cute 8oz traditional CoCola glass bottle, surprisingly creamy "mouth feel" for a carbonated soda, tastes pretty good in my estimation. Now for the downside: Price. I bought it using a steep discount with my Safeway card - $4 off a four pack. There's no way I would pay $6 for a four pack. I think it's definitely worth your giving it a try but I can't countenance Coca-Cola asking so much for what they're offering.
I tried the new Gillette Fusion razor too. Damn those Safeway discount cards! Again, the site is another Flash site with way too cute an interface. (Yeah "Cassandra" is the "director" of "Fusion labs." Oh fer insulting my intelligence!) There is no rational way I can justify the idea that a razor needs five blades on the shaving surface. Six blades if you count the singleton which is reverse-mounted to be a trimmer blade. And yet. And yet after one shave, I want to say that I got the best shave I've had in years from that damn thing. I get razor burn on the lower neck on either side of the throat. And after this shave, I can honestly say that the razor burn was not evident. I quickly caveat this by saying that one shave doth not a product recommendation make. But I am going to give this beast my full attention in future shaves. Right now, I'm inclined to spend the absurd amounts of money on cartridges for the Fusion if the shave quality continues to be this good.
Finally, a breakfast cereal - the new Grape-Nuts Trail Mix Crunch (link goes to a review at Mr. Breakfast). Not bad. Not worth seeking out but not bad. I've had better granola-ish cereals. You could close your eyes and pluck a Trader Joe's cereal off a shelf and get a better, and less expensive cereal for example. But, again, not bad. Very different from original Grape-Nuts. (Which, by the way, is one of the name brands you should always buy as every store-branded version I've ever tried comes out as dust and grit, not leetle chunks.) I was two bowls in before I realized that the flavor I was tasting was the flavor of graham crackers. A good flavor but not what I expect from something calling itself "Trail Mix Crunch."
What new products have you tried recently?

The Wheels On The Bike Go Round and Round
Yesterday was the start of the '06 Atlantic Cycling season and I was there in my support capacity as is my wont. The day started cold and windy. Shiveringly cold. But as the sun rose, the wind scaled back and the temp came up to the point where the afternoon was really pleasant. Maybe more pleasant for those us with the thick layer of subcutaneous insulation perhaps. I sat, while cutting oranges and making PB&Js for the riders, facing the sun and today I have a nicely pinked-up face. Less, of course, the reverse-raccoon mask from the sunglasses.
We had nearly 150 riders (actually, I think, when you add in that Committee members rode, there were a few over 150 riders but don't hold me to that) and I got cleaned out of a couple of foodstuffs at the first rest stop (in lovely Lovettsville, VA). But there were other things for riders who missed the PB&Js. Plus, it was great seeing the AtCyc folks again after so many months.
I am actually going to try to ride at least a shortened course of next month's Blackwater ride and I'm definitely shooting for the full short course (start making sense please -Ed.) at the Easton, MD ride in August. Wish me luck - my bad hip joints are going to have to come through for me for a change. And, just to throw a bitch into the bucket - my left shoulder is killing me today. Maybe I mashed the joint when I lay on my side last night but I had to put some Biofreeze on it just to fall asleep. Getting old can not suck any more if it were composed of pure vacuum.
Well. Isn't that a nice way to finish off a pleasant post about another great Atlantic Cycling experience!

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Let Me See Here...
Physical violence - check. Accusations of racism - check. Attempted coverup - check. Massive rowback - check.
Cythia McKinney could well be a member of the Duke Lacrosse Team.

InstaPundit Opts for the Black iPod Nano

And I dug and I dug until I found why!
I didn't even know there was a band called "Blue Osterizer Cult."

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Just The Other Day
A friend of mine recently asked me about my religious belief. I told him that I worship Logy, the Norse God of Afternoon Lassitude.

That would be "request for comment." I've pretty much decided on getting the Burpee "Red Lightning Hybrid" tomatoes for my EarthBoxen. I'd be interested to see what you, the reader, might think of my choice. Or let me know what you think is a better bet. Please.
I'm also getting Burpee peppers and cucumbers for my other plantings. Depending on how well things turn out this year, I may be setting another two boxes next year for some additional veg - greens and beans perhaps.

Monday, April 03, 2006

New On The 'Pod
Donald Fagen's "Morph the Cat" (see the sidebar). Oh! So smooth! It's "Two Against Nature," "Everything Must Go" jazzy and it's like liquid ease. I actually prefer the rock-ier "Kamakiriad" but, allow me to repeat this, nothing Fagen does is wrong. Not ever. It may not be as good as something else he's done in one's own estimation but it's (damn, I'm actually going to say this) all good. There is something to like in every single song. From the trumpet solo in "The Great Pagoda of Funn" to the harmonica in "What I Do" there is something that makes each song special.
I could listen to this album for the next week and I just might do that. By then I'll know all the songs well enough to sing along. Maybe I can learn to play some of those riffs on JoJo. JoJo, by the way, just came back from being cleaned, adjusted and restrung and she's even more beautiful than when she arrived. My guitar hero friend even complimented her sound after he said that the PRS Hollowbody IIs tend to have too bright a sound for his taste. JoJo is supersweet.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Very Possibly The Hottest Picture On The Internet
It's Janet Leigh on Kim du Toit's site today. (scroll down to the bottom of the post) Whew!
I need a cool shower 'bout now.

It's April Fool's Day
And I'm not fooling anybody. But I hope your day is full of merry prankage.