Expensive investments require expensive investments

Damnit. When I bought my guitar for a pretty penny, I thought I could compliment it with a new cheap amplifier. This isn't the case at all! The amp I got sounds like ass (a Hartke 60c or something), which probably isn't the manufacturer's fault at all. It was reboxed and even cheaper than a new one. But an amp that cheap can't sound good, that's all. It was only $160! That's really cheap for a 12" combo tube amp. It only had one tube, a preamp tube.

Now for the new amp. Fender Blues Deluxe! That's right, baby. 5 tubes. 12 inch speaker. Warm bluesy tone. I've read reviews and watched videos. And from talking with my coworker all the time, Fender tube amps are really the way to go. It's not a Twin Reverb or even a Hot Rod Deluxe, and definitely not a Blues Deville (which I've actually owned in High School), or any of those really expensive amps, but it's tweed, and it has tubes, and I couldn't turn up my 4x10 inch Blues Deville past 2.5 (it went up to 12) to enjoy it. Except for the time I played outdoors at our school concert, or in the auditorium, I turned it up to 4 I think. Ooh. I can't imagine turning it all the way up. Plus something like that is just way too big. I remember having a hell of a time carrying that thing around to gigs. It was like 60 pounds, easily.

And a Blues Deville is probably worth $900, and that was for my $400 Epiphone Casino to sound better. I didn't buy it, it was a Christmas present when I was 17 or so, and of course, my Uncle Butch worked at a guitar store (he is an amazing guitarist too), so he probably got 40% off. I ended up giving that amp to my cousin, Bill, who plays and sings at his church, and writes tons of original music. And that Epiphone Casino is a story in and of itself.

I was at the local guitar shop, Todaro's, on Lansdowne Ave one day, and they had this Casino in there. I looked at it, saw the price tag ($400??!?!), and decided to have them hold it for me, and I could pick it up that Saturday. Turns out, it was only three months old, and the previous owner just decided to quit playing. Came with the case and everything. Somehow, I had over $400 in my bank account, which was amazing since I was 16 or 17 at the time (before Christmas and the amp, obviously), and I've hardly had that much money in the bank since.

Check out the new amp here. I'm also looking to invest in some recording equipment, including a microphone, an interface for my Mac (there's actually quite a few that include inputs for mics and 1/4" standard input jacks, which connect to the Mac through FireWire, and of course, the main reason for getting it, higher quality, 24bit recording), and a "Boom" microphone stand, so I can set it up in front of the amp, or adjust it and have it in front of my face. After that purchase, look for tons of junk songs to show up on this website :)

After some looking, this is probably the audio interface that I'll get. Edirol FA66 24 Bit 96kHz. It does six tracks, but if you use only four, which I will, it records at 24 bit, 192khz. That's getting into iTunes Plus, high quality sound :P I don't know what lossless is considered... probably around 1mhz or at least 512khz. The class called "Science of Sound" in college was one that I wanted to take, but was full when I tried to sign up for it. So, ask one of the jerks who signed up for that class ahead of me, if you're that curious. Or just Wikipedia it :P

Gretsch Update

No guitar yet. When I ordered it, I was so excited and forgot to get it shipped to my work. I have been kicking myself all day. Well, ever since I ordered it even. But especially today because they tried to ship it. I called Fedex and they said I can have them hold it for me to pick it up, but the hours of operation at the warehouse that it's at tonight are only from 8 to 5. Of course, I called at like 6:30. So, as of the time of this post, I'll have it in 8 hours. I'll bring it into work, they'll appreciate it. Two other known musicians, and at that place, that's 30% musicianship. I'm going to wake up early no matter what time I get to bed, I'm excited to see this thing. So pictures tomorrow (or later today technically).

Should be da bomb. I've gotten the basic fingerpicking down so that's good, time to move onto some more advanced stuff. I will probably make a trip to the local music shop this weekend and see if I can pick up a cheap version of the amps that I've been eyeing on Samash.com.

Of course, I don't have to learn to fingerpick just to own this guitar. I don't have to learn anything. I just want to expand my horizons.

My New Guitar

That's a Gretsch G5120 in Black. I'll probably swap out the cheap pickups for some TV Jones "TV Classic" or "Power'Tron" pickups, which are standard nowadays on Gretsch guitars, but were one of the things cut when they put this guitar together to cut the price. It's a good starter Gretsch, but I can't sacrifice sound quality. Perhaps later I'll go with a Nashville, but I know I'm definitely getting one or more of their solid bodies, like the Corvette. Goddamn they can design a guitar. Beautiful.

A little history about TV Jones pickups: They went into a '59 Gretsch, whose pickups are called "Filter'Tron", fully analyzed all the electronics, and made their TV Classic after it. They seem like a sweet company, plus they have an upgrade guide made specifically for the guitar I got, the Electromatic. That's here. I'll probably keep in the original humbuckers for at least a little while though. Pictures of mine to come soon!

Bye Bye Music

I just deleted over 200 songs from my iTunes library. Like I said I was going to do a few weeks ago, in preparation for my iPod touch, I followed through and a lot of songs that weren't apart of any album (at least not that I ever owned :P ) are now gone. Getting rid of those stupid blank albums is big. Plus I found some more music. Listen to these groups:

The Beautiful Girls

Texas and Australia. Yeah, they're not anything like each other, but they fill certain voids in my life. Spoon is really good and I just bought four of their albums blindly. Listened to them on the way to Delaware. A coworker backed up my decision... I asked "Ever heard of the band called 'Spoon'", and he said "Of Course!" He has about 500 GB of music, and typically a pretty good taste (he's got an original vinyl Jimi Hendrix "Axis Bold As Love" under his desk at work, along with a ton of others. I trust his musical taste :P And The Beautiful Girls was one that iTunes recommended to me for buying G. Love and Special Sauce's "Philadelphonic". Usually, for buying a G Love album, it would recommend Jack Johnson or some Jack Johnson sound alike. Personally, I have no problem with Jack Johnson, but his music isn't as bluesy or R&B as G. Love, which is why I love G. Love. So, I was skeptical when iTunes recommended another album based on a G. Love purchase. But these guys seem to be the real deal. Surfers from Australia (I'm guessing... 10% of the population down there surfs) who sound just different enough from G. Love to like them. But the Jack Johnson sound grows old on me. Gotsta rock. Because after I listen to G. Love, I'll put on Beastie Boys to keep me going. JJ might have good melodies, but I can't sing at work. I can nod my head violently though :)

An even bigger week

So, some big weeks lately... This week:

Monday: Paid off my car on Friday and got the title on today!

Tuesday: Received second iPod Touch that I didn't order, and assumed I'm on some sort of iPod touch weekly subscription, for only $400 a week! I sent it back. (It was Amazon's fault, not Apple's :P )

The rest of the week... I will finally be buying my house! My parents sold their house and move on Halloween. They are hiring movers.

My keyboard's kinda screwed up because soda was spilled on it (not me!!). The keys were really sticky, so I pulled a bunch of them off and wiped behind them with a wet paper towel, but my "I" key will never be the same (although it works fine, it just sticks up a little more than the others), and my "0" (zero) key (and hence, my "close parentheses" key) makes some weird noise when pressed.

This month and next are big months for gamers:

Crysis Collector's Edition DVD-ROM with Bonus! PC Pre-Release
Ships 11/13/07 $59.99
Kane & Lynch: Dead Men with Bonus! PC Pre-Release
Ships 11/20/07 $49.99
Sim City Societies with Bonus! PC Pre-Release
Ships 11/13/07 $49.99
Super Mario Galaxy Wii Pre-Release
Ships 11/12/07 $49.99
Uncharted: Drake's Fortune PS3 Pre-Release
Ships 11/20/07 $59.99
Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure Wii Pre-Release
Ships 10/23/07 $39.99

That's my shopping cart at EB games.

This Friday will be the first time all of us from work head out to the bar since we hired a bunch of new people, including me! We're gonna get wasted.

I'm 3-3 in Fantasy Football this year, winning the last game by 2 points! Tony Gonzalez had a huge game, and Muhsin Muhammad has finally started scoring for me. My team stinks, though. It will be miraculous if I finish over .500. I only had 76 points, and really only got points from those two and the Eagles D. No one else contributes. This week I play my brother Scott. He'll be at the Eagles game so I'll have to call him and tell him I'm whooping his ass.

I joined Netflix finally. It's gonna be a great way to finally watch all those movies I haven't seen yet.

I'm also trying to quit smoking. It's rough, and I know drinking will make it really hard, but the trick would be to go back to quitting after a long night of drinking with a few smokes here or there. Drinking in Philly is a lot easier than in the suburbs.

This post has a little of everything.

posted from my iPod touch

This is a post from my ipod touch it has 16 GB of space and about 9 used up. The iTunes wifi music store is sweet. Enjoy your non iPod touches, suckers!!! I also got Stephen Colbert's book. Should be awesome

Time for some house cleaning

Since I am getting an iPod touch with "Cover Flow", I need to clean up all of my albums that don't have album art. It just won't be pretty. Either I'm going to delete all the songs that don't have albums (or albums that don't have cover art that can be found), or I can just suck it up.

Considering I have only 16 GB (compared to my current 20), and all the album art will be transfered (as opposed to now with my black and white screen iPod), I'll need more room for album art, and it wouldn't hurt getting more room for lots more music. I just got my order from Amazon.com. Here's the inventory:

Nirvana - In Utero
Nirvana - Nevermind
Cracker - Greenland
Cracker - Countrysides
Busta Rhymes - Anarchy
Busta Rhymes - The Big Bang
Busta Rhymes - Genesis
Busta Rhymes - It Ain't Safe No More
Busta Rhymes - When Disaster Strikes

and I have one more coming... Busta Rhymes - The Coming. Should be sweet. Yes, if you're keeping track, that's country to grunge to rock to rap. I like to keep my passengers guessing. (Oh, you like country... :( "I got that head nod shit that make you break your neck"... OH, you like gangsta rap?! "I'm so happy, cause today I found my friends, they're in my head. I'm so ugly that's OK cause so are you"... OH you like... a little of everything I guess). I love having James Taylor come on, then the Beastie Boys, then maybe Bob Marley, The Gorillaz, Frank Sinatra, Jimi Hendrix, Johnny Cash, etc, etc, etc. Something different every time.

Big Week!

Let's see. First thing is my new putter came. I'm golfing with it tomorrow. Next, I ordered a bunch of CDs from Amazon (namely some Cracker that I didn't own yet, Nirvana that I once owned about 13 years ago, and Busta Rhymes, which I've never owned), and an electric shaver. It's the Braun 360 Complete with the self cleaning thing. I'm lazy and don't like wet shaving anymore.

Another thing is I ordered an iPod touch! 16 GB. So I'll be able to have all of my music on there still, plus room for about 7GB more, and more battery power, which is the big thing for me. I've wanted a new iPod for a while, and luckily I waited long enough for this beauty. Today, I was the only one in our room at work after 2:30, and I wanted to blast Beastie Boys for the remainder of the day. I went to plug in my iPod to the speakers, and after about 3 minutes of play, it died. I'm pretty sure there's no battery capacity left. I tried to borrow a coworker's USB adapter but it wouldn't charge. I think this model only charges through Firewire, not USB. Another HUGE thing about the new iPod is the interface. Mine shows just a list of Artists or whatever I select, and I can only shuffle all of the songs. Today I wanted to shuffle all the Beastie Boys songs I have, and I couldn't. I'm not sure if I can do that on the new one, but I know you can shuffle songs in an album, so I'm just hoping you can with an artist.

One last big thing. On Wednesday, my employer offered me a full time position as a Sr. Web Developer (really, a Sr. Developer who does a bit of web development and a lot of other development, like our code generator, multithreaded apps, database stuff, etc). I was contracting there for about 10 months over the past year. It's a job I really like, so I'm thrilled.

That's what I need...

Contrary to a few posts ago, I need something. A new iPod.

It just occurred to me today as I was listening to my iPod from about 1:50 until about 2:45, after being fully charged, and having the battery run out on me. I think I'll maybe just get a second one, rather than replace this one. The current one has one of those remotes that come with it that make it really easy to use in the car. I'm not sure if the new ones have anything like that. Because on the new ones, it's just the headphone jack, not that other thing next to the headphone jack like on mine. That's wicked useful.

Serenity is awesome

I watched it for the first time a week ago, and I have to say, if anyone in the world were to get me it for Christmas, they would immediately be my best friend. Also, I can never have enough Bob Marley, even if there are duplicate songs (just not duplicate albums). I love "Concrete Jungle" and "War" lately.

But with Serenity, it's one of those movies... i.e. a movie... so you expect it to start to get stupid or boring, or looking for parts of it that you would not like to watch again, and that would make you think it sucks, plus it was based on a TV series that tanked. So you're like "Alright, when is it gonna suck... Come on, any second now.." And the credits start to roll at the end, and you're like "Wow, it didn't suck. Not even a little bit." Unlike recent blockbusters like The DaVinci Code (They just could never escape), War of the Worlds (That little girl and the insane dude in the basement of that house ruin it for me. Can't watch it again), and practically every movie.. they just have parts that make them unwatchable after the first time. There are a select few though... I have a few, like Contact. That movie never sucks. Plus it puts me to sleep like a baby when I don't plan on watching it all the way through.

People have to make better movies. Of course, I'm about the least impressed person ever. Nothing affects me. In effect, everything sucks. Not that I could do it better, but why does everything have to suck?! Alright, time to head over the parents' place for more Christmas Festivities.

Dave Concert

A Dave concert is one of those things that need no explanation. If you're going to a Dave concert, you're obviously seeing Dave Matthews. I went the other night. We got RIPPED.

The usual suspects, Mara, Billy, Jen and I. Drinking in the parking lot from around 6:30 (I forget honestly) until around 7:30 (again, no idea). We pounded a case of Molson Canadians in that time. It rained a few times. Mara and Billy were already drinking since 2pm. We go into the concert and found a nice spot on the lawn. We stood the whole damn time.

I'm honestly not a fan of Dave Matthews, but I don't hate him, and he has the best drummer ever. Basically because when I was in college, everyone was a Dave fan. It was annoying. I decided to devote my time to Sublime. And to Cracker. Not everyone were fans of these two. Strive to be different is my motto. In fact, Mara commented on how I am different everytime she sees me! Different haircut, new look, facial hair. Kate talked to Mara and asked "What does Jason's hair look like now?" So, it pays off. Right now I have short hair, long sideburns, and a goatee. Two weeks ago, I had a beard and longer hair. Last week I just had the longer hair.

I remember being in the concert, and someone had one of those glow sticks, but it was red and about 8 inches long or something, and bent fairly easily. I grabbed it and put it in my mouth! I was making smily faces at the girls behind us, and in the dark it had to look freaky! Like, all you can see is this outline of a head and a huge smile. I was having a good time.

Sublime came on at the intermission. I love Sublime.

On top of all that, it was a blast. We each drank about 5 of those 20 oz lagers they serve at the Waterfront. If you've been you know what I mean. Wax paper cups. I may not be a fan of Dave Matthews but I love concerts and would go to every one. I've never turned down an invite :) The crowd at a DMB concert is a good, fun crowd.

The day after, aka Recovery Day. Hung out with Billy since I slept over their place. We watched the food network all day. He loves the food network. I don't mind it, those people make some amazing things. The one girl, Giada de Laurentiis... she's a hottie. I'm surprised I remembered how to spell her name, and I have no idea how to say it. And the guy on Food 911 has some major skillz. He goes into peoples' houses, uses their tools, and still makes awesome stuff. Today he made steak, and I now have a few more tips to add to my arsenal of steak making (currently two items : 'Marinade', 'Grill to medium / medium rare'). Of course, watching cooking shows all day and being hung over makes you starving. So we ate hot dogs. Then I got home and ordered a stromboli and some hot wings and took a nap. I'm recovered.

The Day of Recko... err... Drinking is Upon Us

St. Patty's Day Ahh, St. Patrick's Day. On a Friday. When does that ever happen?!?

I was going to bring in my flask filled with Irish Whiskey and go to town during work, but decided against it because I'd be going to the bathroom all day :-P Honestly, I don't have a flask or Irish Whiskey, so I fibbed. But you know what I mean.

We're having an Irish dress contest in work. I wore blue jeans and a blue shirt. I was going to get a green jeff cap and an orange beard (my beard grows in orange for some reason anyway...), but I ran out of time. It won't be the first time I don't win something :)

During St. Patty's Day, I'm always reminded of the time that I had the chance to spend a month in Ireland. For work no less. I ended up not going because they wanted to bring back the other guy who was already there. Scott, a good friend of mine... the bastard. So I didn't go.

I'm bringing my camera tonight. I want the world to see what the Irish beer garden is. Holy crap I can't wait! Plus, listening to Blackthorn is always the best. It's music that you can't help but just go crazy to. I remember the first time I saw them. I was like "Ummm... yeah." But the NEXT time... hoo boy. I've seen them a ton of times; twice sober. The one time they played at a big park near us, and the other time at the high school. I don't recommend seeing them sober.

Happy St. Patrick's Day! Go Flyers!! This is gonna rock.

Doubling Guitars

I have 2 guitars. I want to get another one. An acoustic electric. However, Sam Ash makes it impossible for me to get just one more. Every week, I get an email from them saying "Get a free guitar with a purchase of $399 or more!!" They're all very attractive guitars that they're giving away. It's very hard to resist temptations of this level. But, I missed the free one I really wanted. See, every week they offer a new free acoustic. Two weeks ago, it was a 12 string acoustic. I'd love one of those. But this week, it's an equally attractive looking Carlo Robelli thin body acoustic/electric. The guitar I really want is a Fender J5 acoustic/electric. I'll get a few things with it, and throw it on my 6 months same as cash Sam Ash card, therefore convincing myself that I didn't spend any money, and get all this stuff. I hope I get the new card in the mail soon, so I don't miss out on this guitar deal. Here are the two guitars I'll get:

Fender J5
Free guitar

(Might as well throw in one of these)

Originally, I thought it was simply an acoustic, but it turns out they're giving away a free acoustic/electric?!?!!? Where the f#@%@#$@#! do I sign up?!!?

Music in Movies: It's gotta be classical

Gotta be.

Well, maybe it defines what kind of movies I like. I like the ones that have a serious mood. Drama, I guess. One of my favorite movies right now is "The Natural", and the music is incredible. The "signature" score is mainly a horn section or two, with what seems to be flutes or something in the background. If it's a good tune, it grabs at your heart, like when Roy Hobbs makes his "Wonder Boy" baseball bat out of the trunk of the tree that got destroyed by a fate filled strike of lightning. The same tree, coincidentally, under which he lost his father.

A decent classical score can bring me back to watching movies that I would normally not watch again. Case in point: Jurassic Park. It's the damn kids. I hate movies with dumb kids in them. Actually, it's not only the kids. I also hate the Paleobotanist. I don't know her name, nor would I care enough to even come up with a detailed description of her other than her occupation in the movie. I also hate the guy, the main guy, the archaeologist. Forgive my spellings on these tough words. Ian Malcolm can stay. So can the programmer... "Newman", and the dinosaurs are pretty cool (the main attraction) I pretty much hate everyone else in that movie. So, with all these strikes against it, what in the world would possess me to buy it? Am I f@#%@#$!@ing nuts?! I remember when that movie came out. I was in high school, I think a sophomore. I remember my Track 1 (the course track for smart kids ;-) ) history teacher hadn't seen the movie, but bought the soundtrack. He made a quick comment on it before we resumed writing down word for word what he said. In fact, that course was the ultimate note taking course that I probably wrote down his comments before noticing that they weren't about medieval or renaissance era France. Pretty much all I remember about that course was his short blurb on how much he thought of the music in that movie.

The problem with non-classical music is that it doesn't transcend culture or time, obviously :) But, if you make a movie about partying back in the late 70s (like Dazed and Confused), you're obviously going to put in some great late 70s music. But, a movie that was recorded in what then was considered "present day", like "The Karate Kid" (which also has some decent instrumental/classical music [the Japanese style tune]), then you get songs on your soundtrack that aren't cool anymore. However, I can still watch that movie, the music tends to fit pretty well ("You're the Best" during the Karate tournament), and Mr. Miyagi is quite the character... he's hilarious.

My mind has drawn a blank. If I think of more movies (there are definitely quite a few more) with decent classical scores then I will post more about them. If you know any, feel free to add comments (as opposed to the normal rate of $5 per comment).

Update: More movies with great classical music. The most obvious to me and probably anyone is the Imperial March. Star Wars. Orchestral is what I probably mean, moreso than classical. Classical is a period of time. Anywho. I watched Bagger Vance again today, and that's got a good score.

I hesitate to say the Indiana Jones trilogy only because, on many an occassion, I have fallen asleep watching them, only to wake up to the theme song playing on infinite repeat at the DVD menu screen. I'd hear it 20 times in my sleep, then wake up and I'm like "WHAT THE F@#%!@!@ TURN IT OFF!!"

Flyers Game and New Song

I'm going to the Flyers game tonight! I don't know if Pete (Peter Forsberg) will be playing or not, but I hope so. Pretty much everyone on that team is my favorite player though, except for Therien, I hate Therien. Beaner invited me with tickets that he got from Mom and Dad for his birthday a few days ago! Thanks Bean! Woohoo.

Also, I have a new song up that I wrote using my Mac Mini, GarageBand, and my new keyboard that I bought to greatly ease the pain when trying to add drums and piano to my songs. Without it, you either use your computer keyboard or the mouse, and I can't use either without giving up in a few minutes. Plus, the keyboard I got is really nice. It's pressure sensitive, which is awesome. Say, for instance, I am hitting the key for the hi-ride (the tall cymbal [sp?])... if I tap it, it'll be like I'm just tapping the hi-ride. If I hit it hard, it's coincide with the sound that I get from it. Same with the notes if I switch it to Grand Piano. It's great, it allows for a lot of flexibility.

So, download the new song, it's called "Piano". It should be at the bottom of that list. Listen to it a hundred times.