Thursday, February 28, 2013

Build #4...

Build # 4, I had to come up wityh a seiral number system is a coffee can guitar. Three strings, no electronics sounds pretty good. I am still using the tuning E, A, C# and so far it is serving me well. 

Second photo is my new head stock design. New build will be two tuners on the slanted side. As I refine my techniques I think that will eliminate the need for a string tree for this particular head shape. 

 I have easy access to these kind of cans. French Market is the drug of choice around here. 

Signed and numbered. I have another neck cut out and a special build with single coil pick up and then I might work on a large coffee can bass.    Posted by Picasa


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Redbuds in Bloom...

I looked at photos a bunch of transplanted to the north East Texans were posting on the internets this morning. They looked cold. Lots of snow up north. In a small spring celebration I went out made pictures of a blooming redbud in my yard and mowed the grass. So warm here I did not even have to wear clothes.

Just kidding about not wearing clothes.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

She Gets Calls...

...To play Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture more often than you might think. 

Kind of looks like that gun barrel is plugged in this photo but it's not. That's loaded to the rim. 

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Do I Really Have to Wear a Tie...

I mean a kid don't really get to have a childhood anymore. They slap a tie around his neck and send him out to get after it. Getting after it is one thing I am good at. Making these little fake tie onesies is something my Grandma is good at. You should see the one she made Pop-Pop. 

Speaking of Pop-Pop, Grandma is sending him and his brother up to Men's Wearhouse in Tyler to get new suits. She's letting them go by their selves. She says, "how much trouble can they get in at Men's Wearhouse?"   Posted by Picasa

Friday, February 22, 2013

Evening Elk...

 These two fine gentleman were sparring when I walked up. They stopped because in the game fence next door to me where I made these photos this evening all God's creatures know that it's a man who brings the food.

These guys found the food.

I ran back to the house and grabbed a pair of rattling antlers out of the kitchen junk drawer  and managed to ge these guys started fighting again. I have a new super zoom camera and it's hard to get an unshakey picture of a running elk fight at a zoom of 80x.
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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Grandma's Magic Coat...

When I wear Grandma's magic coat I feel good. I can do anything. I have special powers. I have a special Grandma to recognize that there are coats with special powers. 

Grandma spotted this coat hanging in a thrift store in Chicago. It must have been dropped off there by someone who knew that another person would come along and be able to see the power.  I was very little at the time and my grandma knew it would not fit but she also knew I would grow into it. The coat is leather and is made in a magic place in Italy. Grandma does not know how it got Chicago but I do know that it made it's way to Lufkin and I am now big enough to wear it.

I do know that one day I will out grow the magic coat. There will be other grand children to wear it. Warren is already patiently waiting his turn. 

There are plenty of big people around that would like to wear the magic coat. That's too bad. The coat is for little people. They need the magic the most.   Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Our Latest Picture...

 The two young lovers pose for a picture on a late winter day.

My head looks shiny. Too shiny. At first I thought maybe I am losing my hair leaving a larger expanse of forehead than normal exposed. Then I thought, that couldn't be. It's the sun. The rays are hitting me with bad light. I finely decide that's not it either. It's my brains. The shear power and size of them combined with furious activity of snapping electrons jumping the synapses on a flood of fresh neurotransmitters is causing an otherworldly glow than is often mistaken for over active oil glands.  

Funny how you can figure stuff out if you think about it long enough. Then you are back to snapping electrons and off to the circus again. 

Oh yeah. The old lady. She looks good all the time. 
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Monday, February 18, 2013

Mudcaster #3...

If you have followed my guitar making experiments you will be glad to know I have completed Mudcaster #3. It started life as a Thompson Water seal can. The contents went to treat my deck late last fall. Shame on you for thinking I poured it out in the creek just so I could get this nice can. 

Picture number 2 is a sink drain screen purchased at Lowe's. I am going to have to recut the wooded bridge. Between making a groove for the piezo pickup underneath and a slot for the bridge bolt I got the wood too thin. The sound of the pickup was better with the wood thicker. I'll work on that tomorrow. 

Picture number three says "is it electric?"

I say "hell yes." 

Looks like this will be my signature head stock design. I had high hopes of being able to cut an old Gibson mandolin "snake head" headstock. I'm not there yet. 

Volume knob is from a 1978 GMC truck AM radio. I knew I was saving that thing for something, I just did know know what. Funny how the reason you do things gets clearer as you get older. 

Back cover plate seals the electronics and unfinished neck work. Aren't you glad I put my clothes on before making this picture? 

So total cost was about $20 bucks for electronics, about $6 for the wood which is poplar and can have another neck or two made from it, #5 for drain, can of paint $5 bucks with plenty left, $5 bucks here and there for assorted boxes of screws and washers, and $12 bucks for the sheet of tin for the back plate with plenty of that left for other projects. I figure I can easily say I came in under $35 for the average cost. Did not count the water seal can. I would have been thrown away if not reused. 

I have some other items saved for my next build. I'll have to buy tuners as I have used my spare parts I had laying around. I start my work shift midweek so I'll use that time for gathering stuff up and maybe make another on my next off days.  Posted by Picasa

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Sunday, February 17, 2013

Rodney Crowell at The Barn...

Great show by Rodney Crowell at The Barn in Nacogdoches last night. The Barn has been having some great Texas Music. This was our first visit as other shows we were interested in have always been when were working or out of town. Great venue, good food and friendly staff with lots of blog characters in attendance made for a happy evening. 

The Zack Walthers band opened. They were good with really great voices. In addition to original material they covered Dr. Hook's "Cover of the Rolling Stone." Not a classic rock cover you hear everyday. I liked the drummers stand up kit. Before the show me and him chatted a bit in the bathroom line. At the time I did not know he was in the band so it was just two dudes talking and he admired my western string tie. An interesting coincidence  as I saw Rodney last summer at Gruene Hall and a guy in that opening band admired my shirt. Either I know how to dress or my wife is right when she's says these guys are fishing.  

Really strong band backing Rodney. He gave the lead guitarist a chance to do a couple of songs.  

Rodney has some Nacogdoches roots. He went to Stephen F, lived in the dorms and later lived in a house on Durst Street. I think everyone who went to SFA lived on Durst St. at one time or another. Posted by Picasa


Friday, February 15, 2013

Warren Sings...

 "99 botles of beer on the wall 99 bottles of beer take one down pass it around 98 bottles of beer on the wall..."

I don't know where he heard that.
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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Announcing My Retirement...

 Not from work, Lord no. The last kid graduates from college this spring so that area of my life will begin to look more like self employment. I am retiring from Taekwondo. It's been at least six months since I worked out at the school and with my membership in the national organization is up for renewal. I have decided to not renew.

While thinking on this I visited the trophy grave yard which is taking up a corner of the tin barn. This is not nearly all the trophies in the decade plus of competitions won by me, Cathy, Morgan and Mary in the years we participated starting in 1999 for Cathy and Mary and the year 2000 for me and Morgan. I had to junk them out here because there were so many in the house. Many have already found their way to the landfill, some have been recycled into craft projects and some still hang on walls and are tucked into storage spaces here in there.

Cathy actually quit some years ago. Morgan has wound down his career with the changes graduation and new jobs bring to your life. Mary still teaches at the Master Olford's Black Belt Academy and looks like other interest have carried me away. 

It was a pretty good run. All of us competed for world champ in our respected age classes at least once with the kids competing several times. I made State Champ in 2008 and 2009 in forms. I am proud of that. It's hard for a big old guy to be graceful. I will forever remember the things I learned at Master Olford's school, The work ethic, the attention to detail and the integrity as served me well as life has changed for me over the last years beginning with a new career after a job layoff. I will hate that the technical stuff will grow hazy in my mind. I also note that my cardiac endurance is slightly lower. The hour walks I take several times a week schedule permitting these days don't bring the same benefit as several weekly sessions in the sparring ring. 

Here's a photo from Las Vegas Nationals 2008. That's me with foot in the air. I guess you could say I was in my prime as far as competition went. I focused more on teaching in the few years after that and let some of these skills slip. 

It's certainly a lot of work going to tournaments to compete. I am glad not to do it but at the same time I will miss somethings. Maybe life will change again. It always does. It sometimes even swings back. You know at age 60 I will be in a new age class...
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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

All on a Mardi Gras Day...

"All you could hear the people say was Oh bah Lay all on a Mardi Gras Day." At least that's what it sounds like Dr. John the Night Tripper said on the song of the same name as this essay. Another one one of my favorites is from the Mardi Gras Indian song "Keep the Boys on the Battle Front" sounds something like "mitey coo de fio all on a Mardi Gras day." I guess you can say anything you want on a Mardi Gras Day as long as it sounds cool.

As I write this Pete Fountain is getting ready to kick off his yearly "Half Fast Walking Parade" through the French Quarter  That starts at 7:15 AM. I always wondered if Pete stayed up all night or just got up early to lead this. He's still playing but he's old. Lots of fall risk situations on Bourbon St. I hope he's careful. Any way in case you are wondering we are not in the French Quater this morning. This is just the old famous picture of us on the corner of Bourbon and Toulouse. It dates from Mardi Gras 1988.

I think this one was taken on the ferry crossing the river. Unsure who took these photos, maybe Darwin. I still have that shirt. It was at least 10 years old when this picture was made. I also still have the girl and I think she still has that coat. Mardi Gras has been good to me.    Posted by Picasa

Monday, February 11, 2013

Barbarians at the Gate...

 Grandma lets Coraline out of the fence. Nothing to baby sitting when you have a 16 foot tall fence.

  "Grandma, Pop Pop is letting the 
cows out."

Please put me back in the fence! 

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Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Cook is in The Kitchen...

 The pilot is at the controls. The captain at he tiller. The preacher is at the pulpit. The shaman is in the sweat lodge. You can select your own metaphor. The pot I am stirring, the fire I am dancing around right in the middle of the floor there is the Digitech Looper/phrase sampler. 

Step on a button, play a riff step on the button again. It will remember it. Do this till you have layer up a full band. Lots of fun. 

I think it's going to be alright if you leave me at home by myself. 
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Thursday, February 07, 2013

It's an Upside Down World...

 One of us is upside down. We can't tell which one it is. 

We like each other and this seems to be the best way to transport him.

I know there's a handle here some where. 

Before all start all start tweeting about cruelty to animals no animals or children were harmed on this play date. Jon Spenser, the cat enjoys Coraline as much as she enjoys him and they both get a snack after hard play.  

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Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Good Hippie Day...

 I spent a day being a good hippie. That's as in I did a bunch of recycling. Most people that see me in my professional capacity do not automatically think hippie. I do try to save the world whenever the chance presents it's self and yesterday was one of those. 

It was spring cleaning time and here is a bunch of stuff I took to metal recycle. The items include the hot water heater I replaced last week and the old riding lawnmower that seemed such a good idea to hang on to 10 years ago. That swing set remains are all that is left from a Christmas morning of 25 degrees many years ago. I remember the temp because I stood outdoors and put it together for the kids. All this was sold as scrap by weight. I made $97.

I also took 5 to 10 gallons of used motor oil, cooking oil and anti freeze to the city recycle. Thanks to The City of Lufkin for recently beginning to take anti freeze and cooking oil. The anti freeze I had on hand had been stored for years. The cooking oil will become bio diesel. Good things come for those who wait and save stuff they don't know what to do with.

All this has some side benefits. The place is a lot neater, I got some pocket cash and my heirs won't wonder why I saved all these odds and ends. I also got to pretend I was a hippie for a day. 

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"...I know I've seen that face before," Big Jim was thinking to himself "Maybe down in Mexico or a picture up on somebody's shelf..."Bob Dylan from "Lilly Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts
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