Drivers – and Sucking

Having relocated back to the SF Bay Area a little over a year ago, I have commented on how the civility and the sanity of drivers on the freeways and highways had taken a turn for the worse.

Really bad, selfish behaviors had become more prevalent and ingrained, with the trend to trying to get a little bit ahead.

I sorrowed for the past where there was some decorum, and grace to be found, if not universal.

Then I drove through Los Angeles yesterday.

Holy fucking hell

The LA basin has always had bad traffic. There is a continual effort to increase capacity, but alas, all improvements do is create a brief respite until the monster that is LA drivers come in and fill it to overflowing.

I saw first had some truly insane events.

1) As I was on I5 headed south, just past the grapevine is an exit (2 lanes exit only) for Lancaster. This ginormous SUV, with California plates (not a tourist) and a hitch rack loaded with camping gear cut in front of me with about 6″ to spare. No signal, no courtesy wave, just cut in barely missing the front of my car. Then this asshole quickly jumped two more lanes over almost causing another accident.

2) On the 605 cut over from 210 to I5 in Santa Ana, a car about 200 meters in front of me just spun out. No other cars involved, just spinning, smoking tires, and ended up pointing in the wrong direction. Fortunately, I was able to get around that quickly before it turned into a clusterfuck.

3) Back on the 210, there was some roadwork. All sorts of signs said that the speed limit was 55, and that it was enforced aggressively. People didn’t even blink and continued doing 75MPH or more. About 2 miles into this 8 mile stretch, I saw a CHP merge in, thinking “Good, he is going to nail one of the fuckers…” Nope. He quickly accelerated to 80+ and kept moving.

I made it to San Diego about 3:30 PM (left about 7:30), so not a bad time.

Vacation Time

Yep, since there is a little revenue problem at work, we have been “encouraged” to take 4 days of FTO in this fiscal quarter. With not so subtle hints that the week before the 4th of July holiday would be grand for this.

So, I am taking the week off. Woo hoo. Not a great time at work to take off, but alas, I have learnt when they recommend you take time off, there is someone counting those days taken, and you don’t want to be on that list.

Yippee.

Today I have a party to go to, a colleague is having a house warming party.

Tomorrow I will jump in Stewie and head to San Diego. My dad lives there, and as he is now in his ninth decade, there is a realization that there aren’t infinite opportunities to see him in the future (damn, I am getting old).

So, I am going to be “Jackin’ it in San Diego”

The Original Star Trek Episodes

I am probably going to piss off a lot of people with this, but I am wondering why the 1960’s version of Star Trek is a cult classic. Really painful to watch. Far more than the awful acting of the Shatner, the stories just suck.

I just began watching it again via Netflix streaming, and the first three episodes are just plain awful.

Huge plot holes, bad acting, awful story lines, it really is crap, and painful to watch.

However, it is intriguing to see how many South Park plot lines came from the series. I keep connecting the dots.  Those boys sure were fans of both Star Trek and the Twilight Zone episodes.

Lunchbox from Hell

My Lunchbox from Hell

This weekend, I picked up the electric guitar, and fired up the Gallien Krueger to do some jamming. I almost forgot how epic the tone of this kick ass little amp was.

I bought it way back in 1985 or so. I remember doing the Guitar Center/Guitar Showcase puch-pull to get it for something less than $500, probably a 20% discount from the list price.

It is a small-ish practice amp, 2 4.5″ speakers, and built in reverb and chorus. It is a true stereo amp, and if you connect it to two large speaker cabinets, the chorus is lush. However, I just play it to my self.

There are two channels, a “clean” channel, with a modest gain and some clipping that you can get a decent Fender Twin Reverb sound out of (in about 1/4 the size), but the fun is the overdriven channel. It has a very crunchy overdrive, that can deliver a very satisfying tone.

The 4 band equalizer provides a stunning range of sounds, and tones, so that you can tailor the sound to your liking.

When I bought it, I was in a heavy metal phase, and I played it balls out crunchy. Very appealing.

But as I matured, and more importantly, I bought a good Fender Super 60 amp, my first (and only) tube amp. My sound evolved, and I played more straight up rock, blues, and even some jazzy things (albeit not very well).

The GK is feeling its age. I suspect the speakers need to be replaced, and the jacks are noisy, but when I plug in, dial down the bass, and crank up the gain, I can feel the inner hair-metal guitar god come through.

A most enjoyable hour of playing.

Spinning Vinyl – How my outlook has changed

I remember my early years of listening to music. When I was gifted a modest hifi system, and began buying records (no tapes in that era), I listened to my LP’s sparingly, as I didn’t want to wear them out. As I learnt with my Sargent Pepper soundtrack (the movie, featuring Peter Frampton) you can wear out a record.

So, as soon as I could afford it on my paper route money, I bought a cassette tape recorder, and began transferring the music to tape, and wearing those out.

It was more like a mastering process, where I would covet and protect the vinyl, and then dump it down to cassettes to listen to. This also allowed me to “mix” the songs, my own early “mix tapes“.

Then, in 1983 the Compact Disc was launched, and I eagerly moved to the new format. A lot of my music was still on LP, but most (or all) of my new purchases was the never wear out, play it all you want, CD format.

Today

Fast forward to today. Once again, I have a turntable, a modest Sony belt drive that I inherited. A decent amplifier, and studio monitor speakers.

I am again buying vinyl, but instead of treating it like gold, playing it solely to record it, I play it to enjoy. Whole album sides.

I don’t worry about wearing them out. I just play them to listen to.

Latest addition: Rush’s “Hemispheres”. Great album.