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Showing posts from January, 2006

Dad/Step Dad of the Year

Well...the contest at work ended today at 5:00PM. And with 9 referrals, yours truly was declared the winner. Which meant that going home with me today was an XBox 360 (core system).

Needless to say the kids were jazzed (I called Jen at her mom's to tell her).'s amazing. Yeah, there's a buttload of hype. But from the two games I've played so's well deserved. Of course I'm only saying that because I didn't have to pay for it (no way would I spend $350 on a new game system, I've NEVER bought a new game system).

We swung by Giant Eagle after the boy's B-Ball practice and rented P.J.'s King Kong and Need For Speed:Most Wanted. Holy crap. I havent' seen the movie, but it felt like I was in it. And the racing game nearly made me hurl it was so realistic. If it had a first person view, I'd be spewing right now.

Since it's the core system, there is no memory card or hard drive, so it's limited as far as what we can save.…

Why Sam Ash Sucks

You may remember that I recently got my first electric guitar back from Bob yesterday. Last night, I posted an ad on Freecycle to get a little practice guitar amp (I used to have a little fender and marshall practice amp, but I don't know what happened to either one of them).  But I figured if someone had one on Freecycle, that'd be cool. I got a hit back almost instantly. Someone had an Audio Centron H15P that they wanted out of their basement. I had thought that AC was into PA's but I was game. I picked it up today and my suspicions were confirmed-It was a 15" cabinet for a PA. But, I figured I could unload it at Sam Ash or Guitar Center (since both were on the way back to work) and trade it for a little $40 or $50 practice amp.  I lugged it to Sam Ash first (the friggin' thing is heavy).  I waited 10 minutes for someone to even acknowledge me...and when they did, the visible sneer was enough to know that my visit was going to go poorly. The pro-au…

Deeeeeeeeamn Boyeeeeee!

OK...for a long time now (years maybe?), I have wanted a reel to reel 4 track recorder. It just seemed so old school. So....right, ya know?

And thanks to Bob's moving into a new house, I have one.
An Akai, no less.

Behold (this is a stock photo of it, but you get the idea, as this is the exact model now in my possession):

It's the Akai GX-636DB, circa the 80's. From what Bob tells me, it's practically flawless. He even threw in some reels to go along with it (classic rock-it's like he knows me!!). I also have the reels from when Radio Shack was getting rid of all of their stock.

I'm pretty jazzed for this, for primarily one reason. My dad has reels from his deck when i was a kid. I'd like to transfer these over to CD before they're gone for good (or get too brittle to play anymore).

Plus, I'd like to just have at it with a 4 track, reel to reel style (even though my cassette 4 track isn't getting a whole lot of work right now)...but it's just th…

Dude. That's Sick!

A trip into the community fridge at work can prove quite frightening. Oh looks innocent enough.

But think back. When was the last time anyone at work ordered Donato's?

Well...lessee....we had the pizzas in class last week. So...could be that. No, wait a minute. Those were just pizzas. this is clearly a sub. Maybe someone brought it from home.

But...if not...the last time subs were ordered in was November.

This couldn't be that old, could it?

Well...actually, I guess it could be.
Oh...that definitely looks like a 2+month old sub. A quick peek under the bun confirms it.

In other news, a piece of my musical past came back into my life today. This lovely Sam Ash wannabe fender was my first electric guitar. Purchased for $100 +tax in the summer of 1998.

A year or so later, I sold it (gave it? maybe sold it) to a guy at work. He's had it ever since. Until today. Turns out that this weekend he moved into another house and was looking to clean house a little bit.

So the Carlo Ro…

With Apologies to Leonard

Man...I can't tell you how long I've been waiting for Fuddruckers to go redneck. And they finally have. Noting says "Kiss yer cousin, Bubba" quite like Buckets of Beer. Although to be truly authentic, they should have said Buckets O'Beer.

No buckets were ordered, but the burger was tasty.

Came home and finished cleaning out my side of the garage (now I can pull my car back in-a feat that seems not too big of a deal in 60 degree days, but is a blessing on 16 degree mornings).

I also finished placing everything in the (again) redesigned studio. (cue choirs of angels)..And now I present to you....

TwistedZen Productions 2006:

On the table you can't see (to the right of the desk) are the Sony turntable, the Yamaha 4 track (which may get a new home soon) and the 2 Casios from Christi.

To celebrate the opening of the studio I decided to record something that should have the Jazz Police beating down my door any minute.

I used the Roland EM-10, Alesis SR-16, Alesis io|2, Al…

Nick of Time and Then Some

Portions cross-posted in TZP Projects

Dudes and dudettes, What a wild night!!

Last week, you may remember, I ordered this lovely (and tad bit sexy) piece of hardware:

OK. you may not remember. I don't know if I mentioned that I sold one of the turntables and the DJ mixer to get this (but I did).

It's the Alesis io2 a nifty little piece of gear that connects to the USB port on my laptop and handles MIDI, 1/4", XLR, and sPdif.

I got it yesterday and up until about 15 minutes ago, I was about to send it back to the eBay shop I bought it from (they have a pretty liberal return policy).

I was having horrible latency issues. Not to mention playback was totally screwed and the soundcard on my laptop decided to take 5 when I used the thing.

And then tonight, I unraveled the mystery....friggin' CubaseLE! I've got a 1.8Ghz laptop with 512MB of RAM and there was a good 1-2 second latency on anything and the MIDI was just taking a huge dump. All of the stupid sync and buffer tests w…

Funny Money and a Saturday Night Smash-Up

The rodeo's in town. Or so it would seem by the dozens of people walking past 2 Nationwide Plaza as the Mrs and I finish up our yearly dinner at Morton's (courtesy of the gift card from my generous employer). We like to look at it as pretend money. Since it's on my boss, we don't flinch for a second at the $45 steak or $26 salmon. We just order. And split the $8 baked potato. It's our one time of year where we like to pretend that money doesn't matter.

As is the custom, we payed the $5 for valet parking.

What we didn't expect was the added bonus of seeing the valet back into a big red pickup truck.

Yes, you heard right.

He backed into the truck. To be fair, there was a lot of traffic. And the P does look a lot like the R on the dashboard. But dude....c'mon.

Here's the damage that the camera picked up:

Doesn't look too bad. But I'm always amazed at what something as simple as a cracked taillight assmebly and scratched (ok, gouged) bumper will actua…

Bye Bye Miss American Pie

There is a subtle sadness in the air. Media Play-the goliath that once challenged other retail outlets for entertainment media supremacy- is on life support. And they're about to pull the plug.

In three days.

Basically everything is gone. There's one shelf of PC Games, a few are even from the last year or so. A shelf of magazines that nobody will buy sits across the only copy of TRON on UMD that I've seen (or may ever see). And display books (each defective-with something wrong, the sign says) beckon to be taken home for a mere $3. The bookshelves, however are free.

At first glance, it's tough to really spot the change. But a closer look, or a mere shift to the right reveals the extent of the desolation:

Everything must go. And will. Not to my house, of course, but someone will buy one of the 45 remaining copies of Into Thin Air on DVD for a mere $6.

It makes me a little sad. I liked Media Play. It was the pre-practice (and sometimes during and post-practice) diversion befo…

Reese's Pieces and the Fall of an Empire

Alright sportsfans, I've kept you in suspense enough.

In my recent post, I laid the challenge for the following picture:

250 points if you can spot it* . Extra points if you can tell me exactly WHY it was such a disappointment.

*It, of course being the biggest turd in the entire Atari2600 catalog.

Darrin didn't chime in, so I guess I'll have to spill it.

Without further ado, here is the biggest dump Atari ever took:

That's right. A mere 5 years after it's release, the Atari2600 had just put the final nail in it's own coffin with this rush-release.

The backstory is this-
In a rush to get the title out by Christmas, Atari scrambled to secure rights to the widly popular movie about a pudgy space alien addicted to sugary sweets that had taken America by storm.

(Mistake #1 was the sheer amount of dough they forked over to get the rights).

Then, to make matters worse, they had a ridiculous timetable. 6 weeks to design the game. That's nuts. Sheer madness.

(Mistake #2-apply …


2006 is already fast becoming the year of change. MediaPlay is closing in....4 days. Thanks BestBuy for buying them and closing their doors. Of the two overpriced media outlets, BestBuy certainly wins in its mega-ness, but it's the little quirks about MediaPlay that I grew to love. And now they're about gone. But I am assured that my replay card will still be good at SamGoody and SunCoast Video should I choose to pay even more than the BestBuy prices on media. They are now at 70% off of anything left in the store. I'm eyeing some of the electric guitars....they're down to $80. Of course I still can't play it for shit. Well, ok, I can play a few things and can get off sounding like most other dudes my age who tried to use the guitar to impress the ladies in my college years. But still-it might be nice to have an electric lying about for whenever I got the urge to wail.

Speaking of is up with this Santana/Steven Tyler duet?? Seriously. Dudes. Santana doesn&…