Thursday, October 10, 2013

My buddy Karl Polifka, a guy I flew with in Laos and later at the 1st Special Operations Wing in Florida, has written a book about flying as a forward air controller both in Vietnam and for the CIA in Laos.  Good stuff:  Karl is telling the truth (highly unusual for anything written about Vietnam, not to mention Laos).  Since I was there, I guess I'm qualified to say that Karl got it right.  And even if you're not a pilot or a covert ops type, I think you'll enjoy Karl's writing while learning a bit about a rather strange and scary business.  Heh.  I got the feeling about halfway through the book that I must have sort of stupid in those days.  Holy cow!  Did I really do something that dumb?   Yeah, I guess I did...

You can find Karl's book at Amazon.  Go get yourself a copy; you'll like it.  And in case you're wondering, I was Raven 47.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Cigar Box Guitar

I got a new toy, a cigar box guitar made by Tony Taylor at Ascendent Instruments.  It's a four-string with frets and a resonator, the resonator being made from a chicken watering tray (or whatever it is that chicken people call these devices).  The case, which also serves as a wall-hung box for the guitar, is part of the deal as is the strap made from 1/2 of a pair of suspenders.  And the fingerboard is an antique maple yardstick.

In addition to the hand-made pick-up you can see in the photo, there's also a microphone directly attached to the resonator.  Both the pick-up and the microphone have separate adjustments and there's also a volume control for output to an amp.  You can play without an amp, but I'm having fun with a Vox Mini 3 that has all sorts of interesting effects.

And I've got plenty to look forward to when it comes to figuring out string sizes (I've got it tuned like the top four strings on a six-string guitar right now), tunings, amp settings, use of a slide, etc., etc.  Lots of fun, and so far I haven't been driving Pam and the cats crazy.  But I haven't tried open G tuning and a slide yet...

You can check out Ascendent Instruments here, and I've also got a short piece called "Hoosier Calypso" here.  I've got lots of learning to do, so any bad bits are down to me and are not the result of Tony's excellent work.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Heartshot Wins!

I just found out today that "Heartshot" won the best short film award at the H. P. Lovecraft Film Festival in Portland, Oregon.  I had been more than happy with what the cast and crew had done with my short story, and it's great to see that other people feel the same way.  The film is going to be submitted to other festivals, and when the submissions are finished I'll put up a link so everyone who wants to view the (30 minute) film can do so on-line.  

In the meantime, we've got a very realistic, life-sized dead unicorn for sale.  If you need one of these (and who doesn't?) just let me know and I'll put you in touch with the right people. 

Friday, April 26, 2013

Changing Stations

I've changed from Soundclick to ReverbNation for audio files.  New tunes as well as the ones I had on Soundclick can now be found here. 

Friday, April 5, 2013

7500 Miles

I hit 7500 miles on the good ol' Schwinn Airdyne early this week, and it seems to be holding up real well.  It's time to adjust the chains again and fortunately someone figured out how to do this and posted it on the net.  Schwinn gives you no instructions at all on this, and the process isn't exactly intuitive even though it isn't difficult once you figure it out.

About the only complaint I have is the lower chain guard, the one by the pedals.  This should have been powder coated (or made of fiberglass, etc.) so it wouldn't rust.  Oh, and the tapered bolts that hold the pedals on:  a real pain in the neck to remove or install, and you need to remove these if you're refinishing the lower chain guard or removing the chain. 

Since we moved to Lafayette in December, I've been riding ten miles a day, five days a week.  I generally hit ten miles between 50 and 52 minutes and while I don't really know how accurate the Schwinn computer is, I figure the time is right on and the distance is fairly close to the read-out.  Now I need to find a gym for weight training and flexibility.  I miss the free use of the high school gym and weight room back in Warren County, but there must be a gym around here were a 70-year-old guy with no piercings, ink or Spandex wouldn't feel too out of place. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Llama Llaughs

There's just something likable about llamas.  And while I know this is the worst sort of anthropomorphism, they have always seemed to me to be gently amused by the world around them.  Perhaps llamas are secret Zen masters.

My friends Vickie and Scott at Dawn of Promise Farm raise llamas, and here are several in my "Llama Llaughs" series that has been inspired (if that's the right word) by their photos.  Vickie and Scott have been most kind about my attempts at humor, and I'm hoping the llamas feel the same way, too.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Original Google

Long before there was the search engine, or even the unwriteable number (ten to the tenth to the one hundredth power) there was the original Google, Barney.  Barney was the creation of cartoonist Billy DeBeck who came up with the comic strip character in 1919.  Not too longer after that, the strip was in 900 news papers in 21 countries, and was even the subject of a hit recording.

Sparkplug, Barney's horse, is always seen wearing a blanket; I don't know if Sparkplug was particularly cold-blooded or DeBeck just wasn't into horse anatomy.  And while I'm pretty old, I'm not old enough to recall the Barney Google strip but can definitely recall another DeBeck character, the moonshining, low-lander shooting hillbilly Snuffy Smith.