Friday, December 23, 2016

Copyright protection only works if you have money.

I just received a "Certificate of Registration" from the Library of Congress confirming the my recent copyright submission has been certified. This legal document protects me from anyone infringing upon my rights as the owner of MY music. Or does it? The truth is that anyone can steal your music without your permission and without compensation. It is up to you to pay a lawyer to go after them. Let's say a record comes out with one of your songs on it. You didn't give the artists permission, and your name is not on the credits, and even though you know the album has sold a few copies, you don't see any evidence that the song is credited to you in any way. You check ASCAP, BMI, etc. and you see nothing. You contact the artists and they admit (sort of) the over site (theft), but so what. Everywhere this song exists has only the artists name in the credits and nothing has changed in your or their ASCAP and BMI accounts. You then contact a lawyer. Well, lawyers want to be paid, and they will not take this case on contingency, as the artist is unknown and the album hasn't sold enough to make it worth their time. If you had deep pockets you could pay the lawyer up front and pursue it out of principal only, as their will be no money after you pay your legal fees. As much as it kills you, you have to hope the artist's stolen version of your song is successful. That's the only way you will see justice.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Another Half Marathon in the books

Yesterday morning I ran my 13th half marathon. I woke up early and went for a run before work, and just kept on running. It was mild temps, but had a little drizzle here and there. I felt good, so I just kept going. My goal was going to be 11 miles. I was working up to a half (13.1), but since I was feeling it, I went for it.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

The ramp up has begun for the 2016 Last Chance Half Marathon.

It was a rough summer for running. It wasn't any hotter than normal, but I had a lot of trouble getting any more than 3 miles at a time. I was doing low-carb and that didn't help. Now, the temps are milder, I've dropped 10 pounds, and I'm eating some moderate amounts of carbs, so my endurance is much better. My last two runs were 7 miles, so I'm half way to the half. I'm going slow as usual, but I feel pretty good. I don't have any real pain in my knees, ankles, etc., so that's awesome. I always start out my runs with a little pain, but it goes away after a mile or so. I don't have any lasting issues.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Pickup installation - not so fast.

Today was the day I was going install my new pickup in my Strat. I bought a cheap Hot Rail knockoff from Amazon. It was $14, so I was not expecting much, but it actually had good reviews, so I thought I would try it out. This is a cheap Squire Strat that I am upgrading, and I don't mind experimenting on it.

The pickup came with no wiring diagram or instructions, so it was off to internet to research. I installed a few EMGs in the past, but the instructions were very clear and easy to follow. And the the active EMGs came with their own pots, screws, etc.. This pickup was bare bones. Just the pickup and two screws and two springs.

I get it, it was cheap. So I found a few instructional videos on YouTube, but they were for the Seymour Duncan's, and of course the wire colors on this pickup were slightly different. I was just about ready to give it a shot. I felt about 90% confident I knew where the wires needed to be connected to, but as I took a real close look at the wires on the pickup, I noticed one wire was cut. The wires on the pickup have not slack, so there was no way for me to repair it. Oh well, Amazon return, here I come.


The question now is, do I order another one. I think I will. Again, $14 we are talking about.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Squire Strat Transformation

I bought a cheap Squire Strat off of Craigslist back in June, and I'm slowly upgrading it to be a decent playing/sounding guitar. I am convinced that I can achieve this for less than buying MIM or a USA strat.

First things first is that I loved the way the guitar looks, but that's not hard to come by. All the Strats, cheap or expensive, look great to me.



Second, it needs to play good. I started with a decent playing neck. I have not tweaked it yet, but there is a slight bow, and at least one fret that needs to leveling. I'll get to that later, as it plays pretty good as it sits.

As far as looks go, I want to remove any evidence of it being a Squire. I  replaced the neck plate, as it had "Squire" stamped on it. It now says "Fender". The tuners and bridge saddles also had "Squire" on it, and the new parts will get rid of that. I also sanded the neck, including the headstock, so the old Squire decal is gone. I left the decal on the back of the headstock that has the serial number. That is a giveaway, but I'm not doing this to fool anyone, as I would disclose all this if I ever sell it. I just don't like seeing Squire. It gives me a bad vibe, and would also do the same to the audience. OK, so I guess I am trying to fool people, but not to cheat anyone.



Starting in a good place with a good looking, good playing guitar, I'm going to hit the main parts that make a guitar sound good, and play well. I ordered a new bridge, nut, and tuners. It plays pretty well already, like I said, but it needs to stay in tune of course, and new tuners really helps there. The nut and bridge really help with tone.


The upgraded bridge is thicker and is supposed to be made out of a better metal, which affects the tone, and it's says "Fender" on the saddles.

Bridge



Nut


Tuners


The next obvious thing that affects the sound is the pickups. That's a tricky one, as you can really go all out and spend some money, but I'm not even sure what sound I want.

I did order a cheap pickup from Amazon that I will put in the bridge position. It's a stacked humbucker that had some great reviews, but it's really cheap, so I'm not expecting too much.

Musiclily Dual Hot Rail Blaster Humbucker


I will also add some stain to the headstock. It's so white now, specially after sanding. It looks some worn-in color. I might add a decal of some sort .Maybe a flur-de-lis, but maybe leave it blank. I also plan on scalloping the neck.

I'm sure I'll add some other pickups, even if I end up like the Hot Rail. Maybe I'll go with all Hot Rails, but I'm thinking I might want a more traditional Strat sound in the bridge.

Right now I am $200 in. After installing the new parts, tweaking the neck/frets, if I am happy with the results, that is a great deal. If I buy a used MIM Strat for $200, it would not have the quality of parts I am adding. It definitely would still need upgraded tuners and a nut, as I have a MIM Tele that I made those upgrades to and it made a difference.

If I spent the $600 for a used USA Strat, would it be better than my modded Squire? It probably would, but that's 3X the price. The bottom line is that it has to be a good playing and sounding guitar, so no matter what kind of "deal" I have, it doesn't make sense if I don't end up with a quality axe.

There are some other little things that might make a bit of a difference like an upgraded input jack and pots. Those are pretty cheap upgrades, and I hear/read that they can come in to play. I also read that those things make very little difference, if at all.

We shall see.

Squire Strat Transformation

I bought a cheap Squire Strat off of Craigslist back in June, and I'm slowly upgrading it to be a decent playing/sounding guitar. I am convinced that I can achieve this for less than buying MIM or a USA strat.

First things first is that I loved the way the guitar looks, but that's not hard to come by. All the Strats, cheap or expensive, look great to me.



Second, it needs to play good. I started with a decent playing neck. I have not tweaked it yet, but there is a slight bow, and at least one fret that needs to leveling. I'll get to that later, as it plays pretty good as it sits.

As far as looks go, I want to remove any evidence of it being a Squire. I  replaced the neck plate, as it had "Squire" stamped on it. It now says "Fender". The tuners and bridge saddles also had "Squire" on it, and the new parts will get rid of that. I also sanded the neck, including the headstock, so the old Squire decal is gone. I left the decal on the back of the headstock that has the serial number. That is a giveaway, but I'm not doing this to fool anyone, as I would disclose all this if I ever sell it. I just don't like seeing Squire. It gives me a bad vibe, and would also do the same to the audience. OK, so I guess I am trying to fool people, but not to cheat anyone.



Starting in a good place with a good looking, good playing guitar, I'm going to hit the main parts that make a guitar sound good, and play well. I ordered a new bridge, nut, and tuners. It plays pretty well already, like I said, but it needs to stay in tune of course, and new tuners really helps there. The nut and bridge really help with tone.


The upgraded bridge is thicker and is supposed to be made out of a better metal, which affects the tone, and it's says "Fender" on the saddles.

Bridge



Nut


Tuners


The next obvious thing that affects the sound is the pickups. That's a tricky one, as you can really go all out and spend some money, but I'm not even sure what sound I want.

I did order a cheap pickup from Amazon that I will put in the bridge position. It's a stacked humbucker that had some great reviews, but it's really cheap, so I'm not expecting too much.

Musiclily Dual Hot Rail Blaster Humbucker


I will also add some stain to the headstock. It's so white now, specially after sanding. It looks some worn-in color. I might add a decal of some sort .Maybe a flur-de-lis, but maybe leave it blank. I also plan on scalloping the neck.

I'm sure I'll add some other pickups, even if I end up like the Hot Rail. Maybe I'll go with all Hot Rails, but I'm thinking I might want a more traditional Strat sound in the bridge.

Right now I am $200 in. After installing the new parts, tweaking the neck/frets, if I am happy with the results, that is a great deal. If I buy a used MIM Strat for $200, it would not have the quality of parts I am adding. It definitely would still need upgraded tuners and a nut, as I have a MIM Tele that I made those upgrades to and it made a difference.

If I spent the $600 for a used USA Strat, would it be better than my modded Squire? It probably would, but that's 3X the price. The bottom line is that it has to be a good playing and sounding guitar, so no matter what kind of "deal" I have, it doesn't make sense if I don't end up with a quality axe.

There are some other little things that might make a bit of a difference like an upgraded input jack and pots. Those are pretty cheap upgrades, and I hear/read that they can come in to play. I also read that those things make very little difference, if at all.

We shall see.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

1969s rehearsal. Is there a show on the horizon? Yes!

We had a great rehearsal, and we are more than ready for a show. The 1969s will be coming at ya soon!

49th Vibration rehearsal in the park, sans Ape.

Tightening up the tunes for an upcoming show. Robbie and I took the acoustics out to the park to play for the squirrels.


Thursday, September 15, 2016

Brees had another great year and the defense had another terrible year

NFL.com says "Last season (2015) marked a downturn for him (Brees)..."

Really?

In 2015 Brees was in the top 10 of every QB stat except for interceptions, which he was #12 (min 300 attempts). The Saints led the league in offense yards, and ranked #8 in points. You can't ask for more from the guy.

He can't play defense too. The Saints defense ranked #2 in defensive yards and points given up. An offense can't overcome that very often. With a terrible defense, they still managed to win 7 games. Hell, just a few years ago the Saints set the all-time record for the most yards allowed in a season.

I don't expect much different from the Saints in 2016. We are one game in, and it looks like more of the same. They scored 34 points, but gave up 35. Brees threw for 400+ yards and 4 TDs with no interceptions. He even threw a franchise long 98 yard TD to WR Brandin Cooks.

At 37 years old, we can't expect more than a couple of more good years out of Drew. Even the all-time greats (which he is one) hit a huge wall in their late 30s. By 37, most have already hit that wall, but even ironmen like Favre and Peyton eventually can't do it anymore, and 39-40 seams to be the absolute max.

Brees will be in Canton one day and the Saints will kick themselves for wasting his last few productive years. At least that's the way it's heading, but I would love to be surprised. We'll see.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

4 miles done and pooped.

My run started out pretty warm. I think it was 91 degrees. But it's great now. cooled off and there's a breeze but I am spent.

Low Gear farewell show

9-3-16
I went out to the Curtain Club in Deep Ellum to see Low Gear's final show. I had not seen the band in over 10 years. My friends David Osbourn, Rob Wilson, and Roy Johnson got back in the band for the final show. The last few years Dave and Rob had moved on to other projects. One project being the band Driven Below, who also played that night.

It was a fun night. Both bands were awesome and it was good to talk to Rob and Roy, although I left before talking to Dave.


1969s rehearsal. New song in the works. Good jams.



The 1969s have been moving along pretty slowly these days, but we are keeping our chops up, and we have some new material in the works, so def progress. Hopefully a show will happen soon.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Ever wonder what all Google knows about you? The answer is, everything.

Keep in mind that this image is not from a GPS tracking app. I didn't have any app running to track my movements. This is what Google does all the time, every day. It's cool and scary all at the same time.


I picked a random day from a vacation we took earlier this year. You can see everywhere I went that day. It evens knows the difference between walking and driving.

If you have a Google account and are an Android user, you can go to Google Maps and the click on the menu and go to "your timeline".

That's just the start. Go to myactivity.google.com and check that out. It knows all.

Enjoy.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Cheap delay pedal - did I get what I paid for?

So I bought this cool little Donner delay pedal. It's super small, but very sturdy. It was also very cheap, around $35. I wanted a no-frills small pedal and the YouTube videos made it sound good, and the reviews were mostly good. The only knock was that a couple of people wrote reviews saying the "click" sound was very loud. Others specifically said that the pedal they purchased was not particularly loud when you stepped on it. So, I took the plunge.



Well, sure enough, that sucker is loud. When you step on it and click, the sound is way louder than my other pedals which look to have the same standard on/off switch. I don't know what it is about this one, but it's annoyingly loud.

It's so loud that I think with softer parts of some of my songs, and the small clubs we play, that the audience will hear the click from the stage. It's that loud.

I guess I'm going to return it. I wish I could just replace the switch. I kind of looked into that, and I can buy a switch for a couple of bucks, but I'm not so sure about my soldering skill.

I have another cheap Behringer delay pedal that was about the same price, and although the click is not loud, the thing is made out of plastic and it just seems like it's made like crap. The Bonner is really sturdy with a metal case.


Thursday, January 14, 2016

Birthday at White Rock lake

Tue 1-12-16

I took the day off and spent it at White Rock Lake. The lake is always busy, but it's relatively calm on Tuesday. The weather was a bit cool, but not too bad at all.



For my 50th birthday I had set a goal for a 5.0 mile run, 50 push ups, and a 50 mile bike ride.

I went for a nice 5 miles run. I felt good and the temp was perfect for running.

I knocked out the 50 push ups.

The Ride
I haven't rode for any significant distant in a long time. It's probably been 3 years since I've gone over 10-15 miles. I ride my mountain bike from time to time, but those are usually short distances. I do ride a few miles on the stationary bike at the gym, but that is usually only 5 miles at a time. So this will be interesting.



It's right about 10 miles around White Rock Lake. On my first lap and was about 7-8 miles in and I came to the split in the trail where you can take the Santa Fe Trail to Deep Ellum. So I jumped on the Sante Fe Trail and made my way towards downtown. It was very cool. It took you through a few sketchy neighborhoods, but it was a nice trail with some interesting scenery.



The trail hits a "T" so I took a left. This trail ended very soon, so I turned around and took the other trail which ended at Elm Street and Exposition, right across from Sons of Herman Hall. I took the sidewalk down towards Trees, Da Da, etc. I was so cool that I could get down there that quickly. I looked around a bit, and turned around and headed back to White Rock.












I got back on the trail around the lake and made it back to my car at around 20 miles in. At this point
my back, butt, neck, feet, etc. were starting to yell at me. I was about to throw up the white flag. I rested a few minutes and then decided to go for one more lap.

I made it another lap, but that's all I had in me. So 30 miles is where it ended. It was a good ride, but 50 wasn't going to happen.

All in all it was a good day at the lake and I felt good about it all. I will be sore, but not too bad for being a half a century old.

Saturday, January 2, 2016