Sunday, December 27, 2009

I'm Dreaming Of A White(-ish) Christmas

So after 3-4 days of hard rain, we woke up Christmas morning to see big snowflakes fluttering around. Very nice touch, though it didn't last long....

This is our front yard, showing our total accumulation. Close enough to a white Christmas for me (and my 9 y/o son!).

Friday, December 25, 2009

New (Old) Music!!

So, for Christmas, I got a new CD-Recorder, which allows me to dub my vinyl LPs over to CD's (which can then be transfered to mp3). The first things I recorded? A couple of college era albums from Central North Carolina bands, Suddenly by Arrogance, and an EP by The Fabulous Knobs. Both albums from 1980. I saw both bands in Raleigh / Durham / Chapel Hill nighclubs back in and around that time.

Arrogance's album was actually on Warner Brothers label, but I don't think either band got any notice outside of Research Triangle area. It has been many many years since I've listened to either.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Heroes Are Hard To Find

I’ve been seeing a lot of complaints about the Pittsburgh Steelers today. Comments like “Horrible dude. Absolutely horrible. They should be embarrassed to wear an NFL uniform.”, “they are just stinkin' up the joint”. After all they've dropped 4 in a row, including OT losses to KC and Baltimore and a last-second loss to Oakland.

Now, I’ve been a huge Steeler fan for 30+ years, and I hate to see them struggle. This has certainly been a disappointing year, and they seem to be fading as the season goes forward. But I have 3 words for you: St. Louis Rams. As in: how about a little perspective? I currently live in the St. Louis area, and am subjected to the St. Louis Rams every Sunday. We’re talking 6-34 over the past 3 years, and trending down. Down as in 3 wins in ’07, 2 wins in ’08, 1 win (so far) in ’09. Heck, the next worst teams (Detroit and KC) have won 9 games over that span. Yes, the Steelers have been pretty frustrating the past few weeks, but they are still 6-6 this year. They are 28-12 over the past 3 years (regular season) and are still the defending Super Bowl Champs. And while this season appears to be shot for the Steelers, there’s a good chance they’ll be contending again next year. Unlike the St. Louis Rams. Or quite a few other teams for that matter. Imagine how lucky Steeler fans are to be so upset over 6-6?? It could be worse, remember the Mark Malone years?

On the other hand, if they lose to Cleveland this week.......

Friday, December 04, 2009

Desktop Update

I like to rotate my desktop image occasionally, and almost always use one of my own images. The one below is one my work computer, just put up today. Nothing too dramatic, but matching my mood as we move into colder weather. This is the Channeled Scablands area of SE Washington State, something I shot during late Jan. / Early Feb. 2008, when I was working out that way. I don’t remember the exact location, but it is along Rt. 26, pretty sure just a bit west of Washtucna, WA. Just a pull-off spot along the road.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Tree Berries

I took this over a month ago, just before Halloween. Late afternoon, these berries were in bright sunlight, with deep sahde behind them... There's actually very little digital darkroom. Pretty cool, huh?

Wednesday, December 02, 2009


My son played his first (ever) basketball game this week. Over the years, he has played organized soccer and baseball, and is active in Tae Kwon Do. But he just started basketball this year, after enjoying it on the playground. As a typical parent, I’m enjoying watching him… and shooting around with him using our (recently acquired) backyard hoop. Who knows? Maybe he can get a scholarship to Duke in 2018!

Bare trees, Blue Sky, Cloud

Just a view from my office window, earlier in the week. I liked the way the sun was backlighting the clouds……

A Wordle for a Wednesday

I've been playing around a little bit with "word clouds", have a couple of interesting concepts in mind.... Anyway, I decided to do one based on President Obama's speech last night on Afgahnistan... Not related to my "concepts", but it's kind of interesting. Click on the image to jump to a bigger version:

Wordle: Obama's Speech on Afghanistan 12/1/2009

I generally try and keep politics out of this forum, and in that spirit, so I'll leave my personal political positions out of this post. But if you know me, you know where I stand.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

J-Bass Relic!

Nowadays in the music world, you can buy your guitar (or bass) relic-ed or "road worn". This means they beat it up for you, so it looks like you've had it for years. Well... we don't need to pay no stinkin' fee to make our stuff look like it has been mistreated!! Above is a brand new photo of the first bass I bought. Obtained way back in 1978 from a Pittsburgh Pawnshop. I sold it to a freind after a year or so, and after he played a few years it went into storage. He gave it back to me last weekend!

Now this baby has personality!! Not sure who did what mods when, and (what damage) when... but this one has seen some action. And too many years in a basement!

It seems to wook fairly well. The bridge pickup isn't working. That may just be a loose wire, or bad switch, though

I love the replacemnt knob....

The big decision is what to do with it.... Fix it up nicely?? Or just get the first layer of grunge off, and fix the wiring.... I'm leaning the latter.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Sad Pirates...

As the Pittsburgh Pirates close the books on their 5th straight last-place finish, saved byfrom 100 losses by an un-played rainout, I’m left to ponder. How did this franchise get so incredibly bad?? And is there any hope of them recovering?

How bad is it? 2009 is the 17th straight season that the Pirates have had a losing record. An amazing feat of futility, a record for any North American sports franchise. They’ve finished in last place 4 of the last 5 years, and it’s been a decade since they managed as high as 3rd…

But it wasn’t always that way. I lived in Pittsburgh every summer from 1971 through 1980. During those 10 years, the Pirates won the World Series twice, won their division 5 times, and never finished below 3rd place.

I grew up watching those great Pirate teams of the 70’s, and I will always be a Pirate fan at heart. A high point of my life was attending a World Series game in 1971, with my dad (when I was 11). And I still have the Pirates cap I wore as a back then. But the reality is the current Pirates stink, and they have stunk for a long time. And there is little hope that they won’t stink down the road. And while I’ll always hope that the Pirates come back, I see no reason to expect it.

Nowadays, I live in the St. Louis area. Not a bad town for baseball, and the Cardinals are usually pretty good. And I follow them, and root for them, and hope to watch them in the World Series with my son (who is almost 10). Maybe we could manage a game, like my dad and I did 38 years ago…..

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Has the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame “Jumped The Shark”?

Has the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame “Jumped The Shark”
So….. today (9/23/2009) the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame announced the nominees for the 2010 class… Criteria include "the influence and significance of the artists’ contributions to the development and perpetuation of rock and roll. "

On the list this year:


They’re kidding, right?? KISS?? The cartoon band, big on flash and showmanship, but oh so little when it actually comes to music? What a joke. On the other hand, at least Kiss isn’t as boring as every inductee from last year

OK, Time to voice opinions, if there’s anybody out there… In you opinions:

1) Who, among the current inductees, is least deserving?
2) Who. Among those not inducted, is most deserving?

Voice your opinions!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

It's a strange strange world we live in.....

I have no idea why this song popped into my head this evening... but it did. And easy to find on youtube! Meanwhile, 4 Jacks and A Jill has to be on e of the worst group names in history.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


An oldie, but I don't think its been posted before.

Darkness, Darkness, No Color, No Contrast...

Ok, so I don't know exactly where that line came from (the one in the title). I'd expect a song, that's where most of what pops into head comes from.... A quick google says it's lyrics from Joni Mitchell's "Hissing Of Summer Lawns". Possible, but odd, since that's not among the Joni Mitchell stuff in my collection.... I was thinking something from the narration of Rick Wakeman's "Journey To The Center Of The Earth". Whatever.

Before I got sidetracked, the point of this post was SUPPOSED to be that the days are getting shorter, and the mornings are getting darker. Sunrise this morning was 30 miniutes after my alarm. Makes me want to sleep in.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Guild Jetstar - Refininshing Project

Regular readers may recall that my 1967 Guild Jetstar is being refinished. Here's the latest photo, as it is almost finished!! I'm pretty eager to get it back!

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Ohio River, from Leavenworth, IN

We took a short vacation to southern Indiana back in June. I'm still WAY behind processing photos, but here's one. This was from the Overlook Restaurant, when they have one really cool overlook!! We had a great lunch before heading off to do some more sightseeing.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Monday, August 24, 2009

My First Bass

Here's a scan of the first bass guitar I bought.... way back in summer 1978. It was a Fender Jazz copy, some unremembered off-brand. One of my earlier attemps at artistic photography.

And another scan, of my first real gig, playing at the Vibrator's Corp club in McKees Rocks, PA. Late summer '78. That's my brother on guitar, photo was tken by Greg Benson.

I sold that bass to a friend, oughta see if I can buy it back. Just for old times sake.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Job Hunting 101

I know it's a tough job market out there, so here's a hint for those of you out there looking...
If you are applying for a full time position that does not have anything to do with development of wireless products and / or high speed digital systems, dont start your resume with:

- - - - - - - - -
Seeking a position related to the development of wireless products and / or high-speed digital systems. A contract position is preferred but not required.
- - - - - - - - -

Cause the hiring manager isn't going to read past that.

R.I.P. Les Paul

"Les Paul, who invented the solid-body electric guitar later wielded by a legion of rock 'n' roll greats, died Thursday of complications from pneumonia. He was 94. According to Gibson Guitar, Paul died at White Plains Hospital. His family and friends were by his side. As an inventor, Paul also helped bring about the rise of rock 'n' roll with multitrack recording, which enables artists to record different instruments at different times, sing harmony with themselves, and then carefully balance the tracks in the finished recording."

Rock on.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

What's The Buzz?

Many (many, many) moons ago, when I was in college, I had the bright idea to design a digital tuner for my bass guitar. Pretty cool stuff for the time (1981/1982), but never quite completed. I don't even remember the details, but I do remember that one of my biggest challenges was to define what the "correct " frequencies were. And it turned out to be a pretty daunting task.

Of course, nowadays, with the internet (and Google!), it's just a matter of a 0.26 secong search, and then picking from the list. THIS would've made my life so much easier back then.

And, with the strange way that my mind works, I now know that the 60Hz hum of our power grid is halfway between a "B" and a "B-flat".... And that's good to know!

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Possum Junction

We took a short vacation to southern Indiana the past couple of days. Had a real nice time. During our driving around, we stumbled across Possum Junction, in Kitterman Corners, IN, at the corner of Rt. 62 and Rt. 143. Sadly, the place seems to be out of business, or we'd've stopped for sure!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Gretsch

Yeah, I know, I've been doing more bass guitar than music lately... How about some pictures of one of my bass guitars?

This isn't even a new photo...... But go to Flickr and you can see some new ones! Two weeks ago, at Praise Band practice, I noticed that the nut had broken. Thus necessitating the quick purchase of a backup.... After a little internet research, I did the replacemebt myself. See details at the aforementioned Flickr site! At least let me know if the link works!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Hag

If you've been paying attention to my recent posts, you know that I bought a mid-60's Hagstrom HIIB bass on eBay. It finally arrived last Friday, after a few PayPal related delays.

Very pretty, very cool. Not quite in as good shape as I'd hoped, but I knew it was going to need a little TLC. I posted some photos to Flickr, they ought to be open to the public (anybody want to let me know?).... I'm actually considering starting a new blog just to document the restoration process, but it's not like I'm getting this one updated that often as it is.....

Monday, July 20, 2009

One Small Step For Man......

40 years ago today, the Apollo 11 astronauts stepped on the moon. I was 9 years old, same age amy son is now, and I remember it well. Watching it on TV at a neighbor's house, in Charleston WV.... What a great time, especially for an imaginative kid.

Baseball, Part 2

Sadly, my son's tream lost in the Championship game. A couple of bad innings, and the season ends on a bit of a down note. But it was a great experience, and a great season.

The championship was help at Leclaire Field, a really nice facility, and a whole different experince than the run-of-the-mill municipal fields they've been playing on. Real bleachers, electronic scoreboard, PA announcer.... smooth infoelds, mown outfields, etc. They introduced every player over the PA, lined both teams up along the foul lines.... Very Cool!

Next year is the first year of "kid-pitch", after 2 years of pitching machine (and 2 of Tee-Ball). My son (predictable) wants to be pitcher!

Saturday, July 18, 2009


I've been helping coach my son's Little League team this year, haven't taken a single picture at the games. Here's a couple from 2-3 years ago, when he was still in Tee-Ball

This year's team has made it to the finals of the playoffs, today at 5 will be the final game! Win or lose it has been a great season. Lots of fun and a great group of kids.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Peavey Milestone II

Just bought another new (to me) bass! Yep, another one!! I somehow managed to break the corner of the nut on my Gretsch, and my brand new Hagstrom hasn't arrived... Saw this on Craigslist, at a very good price... Along with a nice hard-shell case. Nothing fancy, Peavey Milestone II, but should be a nice back-up...

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Hagstrom HB II

Just bought a "new" bass, via eBay!! It's a way cool, very vintage, made in Sweden, Hagstrom. Pretty excited!! Now I just have to wait for it to show up, and hope it plays! Snagged it with a bid @ 2 seconds left, yee ha!

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

On Michael Jackson....

OK, RIP, all that good stuff. But enough already.

I don’t mean to be calloused, but can we have a little perspective here? Yeah he was a great performer… Thriller was huge… Love all those old Jackson-5 hits. BUT…….. The wall-to-wall coverage is insanity! The whole “Michael Jackson changed lives” thing?? Well, I just don’t get it. Then again, I didn’t get it when Elvis Presley died. I didn’t get it when John Lennon died. I guess I just don't define my life around people I don't know. Michael Jackson’s passing will leave no bigger hole in my life than the recent passing of David Carradine, Farrah Fawcett, Ed McMahon or even Billy Mays.

I was flipping channels last night, and caught a bit of Bill O’Reilly’s TV show. He had a couple of other talking heads on, discussing whether the media was overplaying Michael Jackson’s importance…. A TV program devoting itself to a discussion of whether TV programs are devoting too much attention to Michael Jackson….. does that define irony?

Oh nevermind. Think I’ll go listed to some Duke Ellington. Or maybe Ray Charles. Perhaps some Jimi Hendrix. Remind myself that MJ was NOT the first African American performer to break through the "color barrier".... Meanwhile, I'm just back from the local funeral parlor the visitation of a real person who I actually knew. Don't expect to see much national media cover that one.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Hot, Hot, Hot

No, not the song by Buster Poindexeter (aka David Johansen), but the weather. We had 100+ heat indexes yesterday, just in tome for a mid-afternoon, little league double header! Making up a few of the rainouts from the past few weeks. Nothing like being out in the sun from 1 - 4:30 on the hottest day of the year. At least we (the parents) didn't have to run around as much as the kids!! As assitant coach I tried to keep the kids as hydrated as possible, passing out ice cubes between innings and reminding the constantly to drink water.

But the kids hung tough, played well, and nobody got heat stroke. They even seemed to have fun, though they were all slowing down noticably toward the end.

They play again tonight at 6pm, their 4th game just over 48 hours. This is the closest I could find to a "HOT" photo, something from a couple of years ago. Too bad we didn't have a fountain like that at the ballpark!

Saturday, June 20, 2009


6+ miles and 37+ minutes from home, and a blowout. I was just getting into a groove. Oh well, that's what I get for riding on one of the older, unpaved, bike trails.....

Thank goodness for cell phones. And I was less than 1/2 mile from a parking lot where my wife was able to rescue me....

Thursday, June 18, 2009

More Oldies from BP...

This was shot at lunctime, I tried to get a moonlight effect...

Barn, IL

Winter day, Land Between Lakes, KY

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Well, my BetterPhoto Gallery is finally shut down, but I've still got a huge stack of images to repost here. I'll keep dribbling them out as long as you keep looking....

Cataldo Mission, ID

Cornfield, IL


Thursday, June 11, 2009

Tuesday, June 09, 2009


Random Thought For A Tuesday Early Evening....

Bluegrass harmonies make me smile….. Figured I needed to share that with y’all…. Inspired by Lonesome Standard Time, which provided the soundtrack for today’s commute. Aside: I saw these guys in a small Nashville bar a few years ago, it doesn’t get too much better than that.

Random Thought for a Tuesday Afternoon

I suppose it is better to define curiosity than to defy curiosity.... Just don't deny curiosity.
Or despise it... or decry, or deride it.

I dunno.... I can't decide


Saturday, May 30, 2009

Thursday, May 28, 2009

A Trio from the BP archives

Tomorrow is my last day as a member at BetterPhoto, it'll be interesting to see what happens to my gallery.... Here's a couple more from the still massive task of posting the archives...

North Georgia, where my in-laws used to live...

A living-history tobacco farm, in the Land Between the Lakes area of western KY...

Wading in Rend Lake, southern IL

Saturday, May 23, 2009

R.I.P. B.D.!

I found out yesterday that my favorite teacher from High School passed away last week. John (Jack) S. Thorpe, better known as Big Daddy, or simply "B.D." has moved on to greener pastures. I could go on for many pages about BD, but suffice to say that he was one of only a few teachers to make a big impact on me, and by far the biggest. From teaching math (and especially statistics) to "coaching" backpacking; BD was a great guy, and made a difference in countless kids.

This is a photo from spring of 1977, my Junior year, scanned from a faded print. Taken on a backpacking trip along the C&O Canal, BD kicking back after a bit of a walk.