Monday, March 30, 2009

Strat Hot Rodding Ideas

Ok, for those of you who could care less about this, tell your RSS reader to filter out anything labeled Guitar Tech. If you could care less about this and come to the site directly (thank you!) or just don't want to go through the hassle, then just move along to the next post because this will bore you.

So now that nobody's left, I'm just putting this down for posterity.

I have a MiM Strat, stock. My bride gave it to me as a wedding present! She knew I was really wanting a blue Strat for years, so she made it happen. Rox on.

So anyway, it's a Fender guitar. They aren't exactly known for their active ground loop avoidance. Double for MiM. Also the shielding is virtually nonexistant. Add in the fact that it's SSS (3 single coil pickups) and 60 cycle hum is definitely an issue.

I've shielded my pick guard and it helped a bit, but I didn't really do anything about the ground loops.

So here's the gameplan. Total cost should be less than $100 if I play my cards right.

Let's start with the pickups. I'm going to dump the bridge single coil and bring in a humbucker. I know, I know, you're a "single coil guy." But I bet the first thing you did was change out your bridge single coil. So yeah, go on with your bad self you single coil guy.

With all credit due to Alexplorer's Axe Hacks, I'll be putting in a good sealed ON-ON-ON DPDT switch as a series/tapped/parallel switch for the humbucker. I'm thinking this part in particular. I really like the small size and have had some experience with this switch. Since this switch will be rarely used, it'll be good to have it small and out of the way.

Sticking with Alexplorer's advice, I think I may as well put in a phase switch for the humbucker. I tentatively have my eye on this guy. Again, not really cheap, but I'm only buying 1 of them, and really $5 isn't a whole lot. Remember my target is $100 or less.

Now here's where I will diverge from normal. Dweezil came up with a great idea. If you're a Strat person you know how unfortunate the positioning of the volume knob is. He removed his and put in a push button switch. Volume is either on or off. I never play with partial volume on the guitar, I adjust that on the amp. How friggin genius!

I'll diverge a bit from Dweeze and go with a good ol' fashion SPST ON-OFF toggle switch. I'll use the same style of switch as the STP switch for the humbucker. But I'll put it way out of the way.

Tone. Jeez. There's something that sux. Really, I know some of you Strat-heads are big on your tone control, but I'm not. Again, I turn mine all the way "up" and let the amp do the rest. I'm thinking I may either leave it completely out of the picture, or maybe add a DPDT ON-OFF-ON switch as a "Bright / Flat / Punch" kinda switch? I'm open to suggestions here.

I'm not going to play games with the 5-way. The 5-way is the 5-way, it's perfect as-is. Likewise, I'm not going to mess with my singles.

Before any of this goes in, I'm going to shield the cavity. I'll attach some kind of metal at which point I will ground everything. The pickguard will also be shielded, so I'll need a creative way to avoid a ground loop there yet still maintain the shielding on the pick guard.

Speaking of pick guards, I'm going to see if I can find a pick guard that has appropriate cutouts for the HSS design (no I don't want a stacked hum), but I'd like that to be it. No holes drilled. I'm assuming I can find this on teh intarwebs. Who knows, maybe I can find a cool custom one or something.

Wiring: 20AWG shielded!

So there we go. I'm gonna hot rod my Strat.

STLToday: St. Clare opens in Fenton while St. Joseph in Kirkwood closes

"FENTON -- One hospital opened and another closed today in the long-awaited transformation of SSM St. Joseph Hospital of Kirkwood to SSM St. Clare Health Center in Fenton."

Click for full story.

Friday, March 27, 2009

You Can Go Your Own Way!

I had a dream last night that it was my funeral and they played Go Your Own Way by Fleetwood Mac. Dude. wtf?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Nice Catch!

A peer at work for whom I have a good deal of respect recently told me, half-jokingly, that I'm a blow-hard. It's been bothering me ever since. I didn't really realize it until this person in particular told me bluntly, joking or not, but really it's true. I've kinda turned into the guy in the workplace that I always said I wouldn't be. What I say goes, and don't question me. Wow, I'm glad I didn't get that management position a while back or I'd be one hell of a prick boss by now.

After a couple days of this eating my stomach I decided to tell Julie about this little problem. I don't know`what kind of reaction I was expecting, but she 100% agreed and gave me anecdotal evidence of this in my everyday life around the house.

I've been very introspective lately, despite my appearance on the outside. Something changed my personality at some point, and not for the better. I tried to do an inventory and I came up with this. I'm not the same person I was in 2005. As many of you know, 2006 sucked. I feel like I lost half of the people in my life in 2006. 2007 was no picnic as probably all of you know. Strangely enough 2008 was great but whatever is wrong with me continued.

So there's that. There's also the fact that by 2006, thereabouts, I had multiple children at certain key ages. They take a lot of patience, and patience isn't one of my best virtues, although Patience is one of my best friends.

A typical parental bad habit has sprung up at some point. When my kids don't listen to me, I get frustrated. The thing is I have 3 of them and they're 2, 3, and 5. So there's ALWAYS one of them who is disobeying for whatever reason. So it seems worse on a per-child basis than it actually is. The thing is, lately the frustration level has been so high that when any of the 3 doesn't listen I just go into a blind range and raise my voice and put them in the corner or send them to their room. It happens.

So enter work-life. Right now things have to go the way I say, OR ELSE! Well. At home. But wait. At work too now.

Oh shit.

Ok so here's the deal. It all comes down to patience. I need more patience at home and at work. And I think if I can get more patience at one place it will come at the other.

Kelleys aren't known for their patience. Ask any of them.

So I caught myself today. Twice. The first time was at work. I realized I was about to go into a "blind rage" and be a blow-hard. I stopped myself and talked to the person from a different perspective and in the end things worked out. At home I stopped myself from going off on all 3 kids when Joey wasn't listening, even though his actual infraction, in and of itself, wasn't really all that bad. Instead I sat down with them, got to their level, and explained in a fun way that I wanted them to play in their rooms tonight instead of downstairs. In the end it worked out.

Ok so I'm missing a key step there. I had to get heavy-handed with the kids to get them to go upstairs. But once I made them just a tad-bit afraid of dear ol' dad, they jumped.

The thing is, in both cases I didn't feel like an ass 30 minutes later. This was a good feeling!

Nice catch.

Free CAD Software?

Anyone have any suggestions? I don't need anything real special, just looking for basic but stable CAD software.

E-mail me!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Joey has lost another tooth!

If the tooth fairy doesn't receive $38B in government aid within the next 30 days, (s)he will officially be out of business. As it stands instead of the customary $0.25, Joey may only receive $0.23 this time. The sky is officially falling.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

AIG Bonus Fiasco

Ok wow. Tell ya what, lemme go pour a Schlafly Scotch Ale for this one.

Mmm that's good.

Let me preface this by stating up front that my source of information is the Wall Street Journal. I don't have any specific dates or anything, but it's just info taken from their articles, website, and podcasts over the last few days since the news broke.

So yeah, ouch. We're paying for these executive bonuses. Yeah, I feel like I've been taken advantage of as a taxpayer. It really pisses me off, as it does you. Here's the problem. AIG had a board meeting in regards to these bonuses months ago, I think in November or December, and 2 MEMBERS OF THE FEDERAL RESERVE WERE PRESENT! And my boy Geithner claims he just found out about this a week or 2 ago. No. No way. I don't buy it for a second.

President O'Bama knows that Geithner knew about this. He's downplaying the finger-pointing and rightly saying basically who cares who did it, let's fix it. At one point he even said (paraphrasing), "If you want to blame someone, blame me, I'm the President. Let's fix this." Yeah, this is the correct attitude to have, Mr. President, but I question your motives.

So yeah, Big O is right. Let's forget about the blame game and do something about it.

So at first Congress was talking about a 100% tax on these bonuses. In other words, write into law that if you received $3M in taxes from this, then you'll pay $3M in tax on it, thus returning it to the taxpayers. And yeah that sounds great. It's our money, give it back to us, let's put it somewhere better.

But here's the problem. This is America. And these were contractual obligations. Contracts are the foundation of the United States legal system. The Constitution is, in its simplest form, a contract between the US government and the citizens of the United States. Like it or not, folks, this is their money, and who the hell are we to charge them 100% tax? Sure, tax them heavy because they're bonuses and all bonuses are taxed heavily. But not 100%.

Someone made a huge mistake. Someone allowed these bonuses to be given out. Someone should have done the research and found these bonuses and made sure special provisions were written into the bill (also a contractual document btw) that would disallow these funds to be used to pay for these bonuses.

Or maybe someone was paid off hoping it was just go away quietly. Who knows.

But someone must be held accountable for allowing these bonuses to happen. And it's Geithner's show. Timmy, my boy, you have to take the bad with the good.

Fire him? I don't know. That's not my call. Let's see how the administration handles this moving forward. The way this administration handles this will certainly solidify my opinion of it for a long time to come.

And don't forget that I have been giving BHO the benefit of the doubt since the election.

BTW, Hussein, I'm a huge supporter of the new medical marijuana enforcement policy. Truly, thank you. I think you should take the next step there. (sorry, that's the civil libertarian in me)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Best St. Pat's Dinner Evar!

...and it involved neither corned beef nor cabbage.

Julie grilled some chicken. And if it were 1 degree cooler it would have been unfit to eat. It was perfect. And the taters weren't bad either.

Schlafly's Pale Ale goes down real well with spring / summer food.

So how was your St. Pat's Day?

Monday, March 16, 2009

Blame Facebook!

I just realized why I haven't been posting. I don't really feel like I have much to say because when I think of something, I just throw it out on Facebook! Dohpt!

Joey is currently on spring break. I really miss having that week off. I hated high school, true, but that spring break always seemed to hit at just the right time.

Lil miss Emma is quite the princess, and boy does she act like it. When she's happy she's the giggling-est little princess this side of the Land o' Eire. But when she's pissy, she can throw a tantrum worse than Tandy! (refer to Ogre, Ogre by Piers Anthony)

Andy's progressing very well now. Insurance has decided to no longer pay for his speech therapy, so we'll be going only every other week now to keep out-of-pocket costs under control. Andy LOVES Joey. He looks up to Joey and just thinks the world of him.

Julie's heading to the orthopedic surgeon this week to look at her ankle. All of a sudden it's about the size of a baseball and she doesn't know why.

Speaking of crap, I've now received 2 steroid injections, one in each elbow. It seems to have worked. Hopefully it will stick. Damn it is friggin painful!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

WSJ: Obama, Geithner Get Low Grades From Economists

"U.S. President Barack Obama and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner received failing grades for their efforts to revive the economy from participants in the latest Wall Street Journal forecasting survey."


I'm Back! And a Thank You!

First of all, I'm back! Sorry for the absence, I know just how important my writings are to the state of the country's economic system, and I apologize for letting the economy go to shit while I take a break from posting. :)

Seriously, you know how sometimes you sit down to do something and you just freeze up? I haven't been able to write anything at all lately. Probably because I've been exhausted. Between upgrades at work, pain wearing me out, and the puppy keeping us up all night with his screaming, I've just been plain ol' dead to the world.

So what's new. Let's see. Saint Baldrick's was a success once again! Thank you for your support. I've said it before and I'll say it again, I truly believe in what they do. I can't say that about many things, but from the bottom of my heart, I really feel that your support for Baldrick's is getting us closer to the day where we won't have to break that horrible news to parents.

The video they showed at Baldrick's was quite a tear jerker. For those of you who weren't there... well, I'm not even going to think about it again, so ask someone else.

Here's a pic from the event for those of you who care. Before, during, and after:

Gonna have to leave it at that. The work computer is FINALLY booted up, time to start this Wednesday.

Cortisone injection in my left arm this afternoon. w00t! (ouch)

Saturday, March 7, 2009

5 More Hours!

Can't wait! Will post pics soon!

Sorry for the lack of updates on anything. I've been busy. More later. :)

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Mark Your Calendar! St. Baldrick is Saturday, 3/7/2009!

That's this Saturday for those of you who are calendarly-challenged. Time to donate is running out. Don't forget, it's tax-deductible if you itemize.

For those of you who are thinking about coming, come on out! It's at Helen Fitzgerald's but it is very family-friendly and is non-smoking for the duration of the event.

The event officially kicks off at noon. Patience and I will be getting shaved at 1:30pm, but if you'll be coming out for that you should show up a bit early as a just incase.

The whole event is noon - 8:00pm, but we probably will not stay for the duration. Last year we probably left around 3:00 or so and came back to the house for the evening.

Bring some extra money for various fund raisers as well as the silent auction!

Thank you for your continued support!