Friday, October 25, 2013

What Are The Odds?

I WAS having a good morning....

Plumbing repair the night before was a success.
Lawns were mowed and looked better than they had in years.
Weather couldn't have been better.
Gunstock refinishing was turning out better than expected.

Then it happened, and fast.

My PC slowed to a crawl, then went down. Some critical Windows files are corrupted, so the hard drive is failing.
Within the hour a spill in the kitchen took out my laptop.
It's hard drive is toast, but I'm hoping I can recover files from the PC.
My tech taught me a neat trick involving a big downloaded file on a CD that'll boot the PC into a Linux environment so I can copy folders to my external drive. Gonna tackle that tomorrow.

When I texted Buz, he said that out of the blue he was getting "slaughtered" by all the calls from his customers who've got stuff crashing. My original theory was the big solar flares, but they happened later in the day. Or something to do with ObamaCare. More likely is that my PC's drive was used when I got it a few years ago, and they ALL fail eventually. The laptop was my own damn fault.

In the meantime, I'm glad I keep my old PC tower next to my desk--it's saved my ass kept me connected more than a few times.

Oh, and here's that Mauser stock after 2 coats of TruOil®:
Can't decide if I want to end up glossy or matte.
Applied the third coat tonight.
TruOil® (by Birchwood Casey) is a fantastic product. It's made by a gun product company, but turns out it's popular for fine furniture and guitars, too.
Going to have to write a review for Matthew's website after I try it on something else.
My shotgun's stock looks kinda crappy...

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Sony, Stop Teasing Me

On Thursday I started my morning as usual by pouring a big glass full of caffienated soda and checking out The Online Photographer.
Scrolling down to a previous post about Sony's newest camera with the latest and greatest possible features: a flat compact body with 24 or 36 megapickles for full-frame lenses? WTF?
I started to recall the good old days when my very first digital camera WAS the state-of-the-art, and made by Sony.
Only 5 pickles but a sweet Zeiss lens, and I learned how to make crap and an occasional decent photo with it.
(Back-story is that nobody respected Sony at ALL back then, and for some reason they still don't...)

So, I'm reminded that I ought to check the battery level on cam #1 and see if it's still okay as spare power for another one in my stable despite the fact that the camera itself stopped working over 5 years ago.

Flicked the 'On' lever and got a good power-up, then spent two minutes setting the date/time. Got a reading in the high-90% range for the battery. Can someone tell me why I took the lens cap off at this point?

When a camera decides to suddenly work again after 5+ years, you hit the shutter button as fast as you can!

As I made my way through layers of home security to our backyard, I noted how quickly my fingers remembered all the buttons and settings to get a decent macro photo, since that is where the F717 truly excelled for me.
On auto-pilot I shoved that delightful lens up against one of my hanging plants and hit the shutter once more, and got a lucky 2nd picture before the camera gave up and stopped playing nice again:

That's the look and quality I remember!
My eyes rolled back 72 degrees for a few seconds, then I started gathering tools and organizational stuff to try and fix my old jacked camera.

Got about 30% of the way in and cleaned/reinserted the ribbon cables.
Also poked at stuff with my finger.
Didn't fix it, but also didn't make it any worse--all functions still work and no parts left over after reassembly.
A good practice run for going deeper in a few days.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Project Overload

Been pretty busy these last couple of weeks.

Finished building Sylvia's pine and 2x4 bench, then we picked the lightest possible stain.
Functional, looks good enough, cheap, replaceable.

Spent an evening drinking beer with my friend Rick while we put new speakers in his bass cabinet.
Sounds better!
We cleaned is up a bit, too. Vacuumed the carpeting, painted the grill.

Stripped 50 years of yuck (plus the original finish) from my dad's rifle.
Used Krud Kutter's original cleaner degreaser concentrate based on the advice in some YouTube videos.
Unlike other advised products, this worked more gently and could be used indoors.

As I was finishing the first application I realized that "Before" pics are always a good idea, so I grabbed one that shows how dark the wood was before I started.
Seriously, you couldn't see woodgrain except in direct sunlight. Indoors it looked black.

Well well well, what do we have here?
Mmmmm, tasty walnut!

Decided to stop, meaning no steaming-out the dents, or sanding.
It's in great shape for it's age and came by it's scars through honest hard hunting by 3 members of my family.
Just have to decide what kind of finish it'll get.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Metal And Movies

The previous post featured a quick and dirty video for one of our songs made by our singer.
Pretty much just an excuse to get the final mix of that song some exposure on YouTube.
I thought it was pretty cool considering how it was made for nothing. Then there's the upcoming computer animated video she's having made by a recent film school grad we know for another song--the bits and pieces I've seen so far look great.

Just when you think you're own band is kinda cool, Metallica has to go and spend $30+ million and change the entire landscape of concert movies.
We've had our tickets for months. The movie opened last Thursday night but we chose Friday afternoon so as not to endure a packed-house of ultra-fans and douchebags. The plan was good.

Starting with the content, it's a Metallica concert that's got an added storyline based on some kid who isn't even a roadie--more of a gopher--who gets into some deep shit on the city streets near the venue. Dark stuff, but it really helped break up the sonic assault of their music, if only to replace it with visual and mental assault. Still, it added balance, overall.
No surprises on the setlist--casual fans will find plenty of familiar material.
Their playing is top-notch, with only a few overdubbed "fixes" noticed by my trained ears.

The main difference between this concert video and everyone else's is the 3D and IMAX photography.
We all know that before going to see 'TED' in 2012 I hadn't been to a movie theater since 'Purple Rain' in 1984, but my companions were normal people and they agreed that it was way beyond anything done before with live music.
You were onstage mere inches away.
Total immersion.
Best concert movie ever.

When we saw Metallica here is San Antonio a few years ago, the presentation was similar in that the stage was essentially a big oval just like the room. (Great sound/lights is a given).
The staging and show are bigger and more refined now, with a LOT of extra gags.

What I like best about what they are doing is the lack of video screens, both behind the band and floating around overhead--a stale look that is too busy and cluttered.
The stage floor has coarse video content now, but that's about it.
Clean, pure, nothing behind the band but fans and/or darkness, and everyone is a lot closer to the performers.

Whenever my new industry insider sound/lights magazines arrive with pictures from the latest tours by big names I'm always shocked my the narcissism and lack of respect for the audience. Sell more seats, put up a bunch of TVs with extreme close-ups, make political statements...

Metallica delivers, for their fans.