Chris Randall: Musician, Writer, User Interface Designer, Inventor, Photographer, Complainer. Not necessarily in that order.
August 9, 2005

2/3 of the way to being a rock star...

by Chris Randall

Here's a progress report on the Great Kay Refinishing Pageant. All the StupidBurst paint was easily removed, as it was a rather thin coat. Took me about 45 minutes total of sanding. I then hand-sanded the body to within an inch of its life, which took another three or four hours. After that, I stained the back and sides with a deep walnut color. Today, I sprayed the body with about 6 coats total of polyurethane.

It is actually looking like a Real Guitar now. After I wet-sand the final coat of poly, we'll see where we're sitting, but I think it is pretty much done. It's funny how good the spruce/birch/whatever plywood really popped out once I started laying poly on it. You can't tell in the picture at all, but there's so many little knurls in it, it almost looks like bird's-eye maple. In any case, this guitar looks so much better now, and all it took was a little elbow grease.

August 9, 2005

Oh, that's Creative...

by Chris Randall

Let me just point out, before getting off on a rant, that if you're even remotely interested in using a computer for making/editing music, your sound I/O should be nowhere near the computer itself. The inside of a computer is a set of monkey bars, upon which the RF demon spawn of the various parts of the computer itself will play. (Parenthetically speaking, that's a hell of a metaphor, if I do say so myself.)

So, what do we have here? Creative Labs has figured out a new way to rip off pro-sumers: the X-Fi sound-card series. Now, the first thing I notice is that this is a PCI card with jacks on it. That automatically rules it out of the race for a Reasonable Solution To Your Pro-sumer Audio Needs. (See painful metaphor above for reasoning.) Basically, you take a run-of-the-mill Soundblaster Platinum Live XT-Whee, and you make it black as midnight, and give it some shiny gold bling, and you can charge 5 times as much for it.

Well, we don't cotton to that sort of thing in these parts. They're gonna be asking US$399 for this thing down at Best Buy (and that's _without_ the stupid service plan. Shit, don't get me started...) and I don't think you need me to go in to all the _actual_ semi-pro sound I/O you could pick up for that amount of money.

Okay, I need to go to my quiet place and converse with my power animal now. Wake me when this is over.

August 8, 2005

Welcome (again)...

by Chris Randall

As you can see, we're kickin' it nu-school now. Special thanks to my lovely wife Lisa for making it much nicer than it was, and to Mark Beeson at Heluna for writing the awesome posiNET back-end in the first place.

Now, as you can see, you can comment on the entries, once you've joined up. If you want to put a link in your comment, just write out the link (including the http://) and the engine will automagically change it to the proper HTML. The comments do not allow HTML, so don't try being slick there.

You'll also note that we've used the posiNET messaging feature, so you can private-message people that have commented, or anyone that is just hanging about. This feature is network-wide, so if you visit the Amish Rake Fight, Sister Machine Gun, or Atomica websites, you can just log in to them using the account you created here, and your private messages and member page will follow you. Pretty nifty system, I think.

We will, at some point, figure out how to port all the entries off the old site so they show up here. Until that lofty event occurs, you can go here to see them. If some other site linked to a specific story, unfortunately it will be bouncing you to the front page, so you'll have to go hunt it up on the old site for now.

In any case, enjoy the new site, and let me know if you find any bugs.

August 8, 2005

Good idea? Maybe not...

by Chris Randall

So Peter over at the Create Digital Music blog came across this site, where this guy rack-mounts an NES. This, in and of itself, is kind of, well, not that cool. However, Peter made what is perhaps a mistake. He said the following:

"you should be able to do what this fellow did and cram your eBayed NES into a 1U rack mount. Then, add MIDINES, a custom cartridge for MIDI output. [...] Anyone who pulls this off, I will personally give you . . . oh, I don't know, I'll find some kind of prize. You can have my Nintendo DS or something."

Well, I don't know about the "or something," but I'll be glad to take your Nintendo DS off your hands shortly. One rack-mounted MIDI-NES coming up. Peter, I prefer USPS Priority Mail.

August 7, 2005

1/3 of the way to being a rock star...

by Chris Randall

At least, that's what you're led to believe when you don't know any better. I found this Kay acoustic at a yard sale yesterday for $10. (When I got it, it was strung up, and had a bridge, if you were curious.) It sounded all right, considering the strings had probably been on it for 20 years. No cracks that I could see, although the paint job was a little hashed. Any help with a model number or rough date would be appreciated. It has the painted-on Kay logo common to the proletariate line, and is made out of what I could only assume to be birch plywood. The number "52" is stamped on the heel block when I took the (bolt-on) neck off. I assume that's a model and not the year of manufacture, because there's no way this thing is that old. I have a Silvertone arch-top from '53, and the differences are manifold.

In any case, I've never been a fan of sunburst paintjobs, and I'm definitely not a fan of red sunburst paint-jobs. Since the guitar needs quite a bit of work anyways, I decided to re-finish it in the bargain. I'll put up progress reports as I do so. I need a new pickguard, because the Kay logo is worn off of this one. Anyone that has a thought on where to get a new (or NOS) pickguard for this bad boy please whack the "contact" button and tell me so. My l33t Google skills were of no help. The lameburst paint came right off the back with a little Mouse action, so I expect to begin the paint job tomorrow or so.


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