Yellow Lines Down the Middle

Yellow Lines in the Middle

I tried explaining to her that the yellow lines in the parking lot should be on either side of your car when you’re done parking. My efforts were in vain. Finally I decided to heed the old adage, If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.

My Guitar Tone Evolution – From Solid State to Tube and Back Again

Tubes or TransistorsI set out today to post a quick spot about my unconventional guitar amplification rig and how each time I’m setting up for a gig I get strange and incredulous looks. Then later when I’m done playing or on a break I get compliments on my tone and questions about how I get such a full sound out of something that small. Well in my attempt to convey how I got to that point, I wound up writing a short novel on the evolution of my guitar tone and the various pieces of equipment I used to get there. For the short story I meant to tell, skip to the end. For the more quizzical and/or bored readers, please do continue to read on. It was kinda cool to remember all the gear I’ve used and to revisit my uneducated beginnings as a guitar novice.

When it comes to guitars and tone, I’m a tinkerer and a tweaker. I go through phases. Way back in the beginning I thought my tone should come from a pedal, and an amplifier was just a way to get loud. As it turns out, I was wrong, but it took me a long time to see why.
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For $20k, You Can Die in Game of Thrones

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For a cool $20,000, Martin will name a character after you, let you choose that character’s station in life, and brutally murder that character in a manner befitting one of the most gruesome, blood-lustful series ever.

Yep, I had to share this article after reading that one line. Read the rest of the article here.

Walking is Good Excercise

… especially when you’re pushing a 1000 lb motorcycle.

It all started when I got caught by a train on the way into work:

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I decided to shut the bike off. When I tried to start it back up… “click click click” which lead me to this:

And then I had to figure out how to get the seat off:

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And then I tried to jump start it to no avail:

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And now I’m on my way to a dealership for a new battery!

The moral of the story is, don’t ignore signs that your battery is getting weak. Someday you may decide to shut your bike off at a rail road crossing, and you’ll end up pushing it the rest of the way to work.

I Won The Lottery!

Chicago Marathon LogoNo, I didn’t win the kind of lottery that would let me quit my job. I did, however, get selected for one of the 33,000 public lottery slots in the Chicago Marathon! Come Sunday October 12th, I’ll be running my ass off in an attempt to prove to myself that spontaneity, insanity and months upon months of physical training can be fun and painful! That reminds me, I’d better put in for a vacation day on October 13th. I think I’ll have earned a day of rest by then.

In the meantime, I have 180 days to kick my training into high gear and get ready for the most physically challenging event I’ve ever undertaken.

Heartbleed Bug

heartbleedHoly shit! So every day, you use websites encrypted using OpenSSL to order things online, do your taxes, pay your bills, etc… Well for the past 2 years, your information has been susceptible hackers by means of a vulnerability known as “The Heartbleed Bug.” The news just broke yesterday. I didn’t know anything about it until I received an email from my bank stating:

[We are] aware of the “Heartbleed” bug. We are evaluating the situation and are prepared to execute any changes, if necessary, as quickly as possible. We are committed to protecting the security and integrity of your personal information and we will continue to update you if any further action is needed.

Now I found that a little disturbing. Enough so that I decided to dig a little and find out what this Heartbleed Bug was. This is what I found published yesterday on Time Magazine’s website:

Internet security experts are scrambling to assess the extent of the breach caused by a massive bug called Heartbleed in the OpenSSL technology that runs encryption for two-thirds of the web and went unnoticed for two years until last week

Naturally, as a person who runs his own websites, I was a little disturbed to say the least. Especially when I used this site to test whether or not my servers were susceptible to the attack. Low and behold, they were. Well my Linux-loving brethren were pretty snappy about putting out a fix. I patched my server and tested again to verify that it was, indeed, fixed. Not that my web servers are host to any potentially dangerous information, but it’s the principal.

So what should you do? Chances are, you haven’t been affected. It’s not the same as someone hacking into a server to steal information. It’s more like a hacker being able to peek in occasionally, and only see a tiny snapshot of what the server was processing at that exact same moment. However, it may be prudent to protect yourself. This article has some pretty sound advice on what to do.

 

Signs of Intelligence in New Jersey

Welcome-to-New-JerseyDon’t judge a state by several morons and television producers with no moral conscious whatsoever. There are signs of intelligence in New Jersey, and remarkably enough they’re in the state legislature. Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll makes a brilliant speech regarding the lack of mental prowess required to ban “the wrong size metal box.”

This is definitely worth 6 minutes of your time to watch. I only wish more politicians actually took the time to think things through as well as this man. Thanks to my buddy Joel for sending this my way.

Ransomware Alert

MALWARE ALERT – CryptoLocker and CryptoDefense

So this is the new scam, and it’s pretty disturbing. Unless your PC is devoid of significant data or you have a spare $500 or $1000 lying around that you don’t mind parting with, you may want to give this one a read through. There is a new string of malware being released into the wild that will encrypt your data files on your computer, and then extort money from you in order decrypt them. Have a read through this newsletter that was sent to me from CyberHeist News. In particular, you’ll want to pay attention to this:

It appears that this infection initially was installed through programs that pretend to be flash updates or video players required to view an online video, and then moved on to a variety of different phishing attacks that all show an email with a zip file and ask to “open the attached document” with is supposed to have been “scanned and sent to you”.

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ESO – Initial Impressions

Elder Scrolls Online LogoEight years ago, when I first played Elder Scrolls: Oblivion, I was awestruck with the sheer size and scale of the game. One of my first thoughts was, “They need to make this a multi-player game!” I’ve been anxiously awaiting the release of Elder Scrolls Online since before it was ever announced. Well here we are 8 years later, and my wish to see this game in a multi-player format has finally been granted. Early access began this past Sunday for those who pre-purchased the game.

As an added bonus, my wife Jenn and our oldest son David were equally excited about the game launch, along with several friends and guild-mates from back in the Warcraft days. Jenn and I even set our alarms for early Sunday morning so that we could get on as soon as the game opened up and reserve our character names.

Now I had played in several of the beta test events, and I already had a taste of what I could expect from the game. Truthfully, I was a little Continue reading

ESO – Great Place to Farm

Looking for Rough Maple, Iron Ore and Raw Jute? Well here’s the place you want to be.

I was able to gather about 500x Iron Ore, 500x Raw Jute and 300x Rough Maple in about an hour last night just running in circles.

The circuit took roughly 45 – 60 seconds, and by the time I made my way back around, the gathering nodes were respawning already. There was a little competition last night, but not enough to make it discouraging. Now as word spreads, this may change. I’m fairly certain that this area is going to see a nerf to either the amount of nodes or the respawn rate fairly soon. Get it while you can!

The area I’m referring to is in a circle surrounding the Wayshrine in the south east corner of Bal Foyen, illustrated below:

Bal Foyen Farm Circuit

Plans for Next Winter

This winter has been brutal! Since 2006, I haven’t gone more than 4 – 6 weeks without riding in the winter. It’s been so long, that I actually had to buy a battery charger for the bike this year! Never before has any motorcycle of mine sat long enough to need one until now. In fact, this winter was so bad, that the clock on my bike was still set to daylight savings time from last November!

Well, enough is enough and I’ve had enough!
Winter, you’re done. It’s my turn now.
Next winter, I’m buying heated grips and snow chains!

1st ride of 2014


**UPDATE**

2014-03-10 18.42.072014-03-10 18.43.00There was a rather anticlimactic end to an otherwise pleasant ride home. The gelatin that was my yard succumbed to the thousand pound behemoth and gave way to do its best impression of the Grand Canyon. Hmmm… ever see a Harley touring bike with knobby tires? Food for thought…

Time to Think

While I’m running on a treadmill, I like to let my mind wander.

So last night at the gym, I’m chasing the end of a road that goes on to infinity (or until you turn it off), and I look up and see that I’m right in between 2 television sets. One has the Olympics on it, and the other starts airing a show called “2 Broke Girls.” Of course I have Slash and Myles Kennedy on the headphones, so I’m not listening to either. That leaves me to draw my own conclusions as to what these shows are about based solely on what I can see. One was fairly obvious, but I had trouble figuring out the one with bobsleds.

The show about the poverty stricken chicks was 30 minutes long, and you can bet I spent that entire 30 minutes trying to think of a way to take in all that I was seeing and make it funny. This image is the result of my mind’s attempt to occupy itself.

2BrokeGirlsvsBobsledding

The Year So Far

I could sum it all up in one word. Cold. But that’s not very interesting, so I’ll think of a few other words to add to it.

The year started off with a bang! Well more accurately, last year ended with a bang. Fortunately, (after a 2nd trip to the body shop) the damage has been repaired and my truck has been restored to it’s former glory. I had my truck repaired at Riverdale Body Shop in Schererville. According to their website, their repair process involves disassembling the affected area and determining if there is any “hidden damage.” Well, they didn’t do that. When I picked it up the first time, I got about 100 yards down route 41 before I noticed that the alignment was still off. Hmmm…. the impact tore out the fender liner and obviously hit the front wheel. Why on earth would they have thought to check the alignment? I called them right away, but was told that they’d have to call me back to schedule the alignment. I was disappointed to say the least that they would have missed something so obvious. At least the cosmetic work was done well.


Training for the Chicago Marathon continues Continue reading

David’s ISSMA Solo 2014

My son competed in the ISSMA solo and ensemble contest again this year. Some jackass was supposed to video the whole thing, but realized about 30 seconds in that he had instead taken a still photograph.

Its a good thing that I was — I mean that the jackass was recording the audio with another device. So without further ado, here’s David’s solo for this year. He did an excellent job, and walked away with a gold medal! Good job, kid!