Not the most auspicious beginnings

For years I’ve watched Apple stock climb and climb from the $200s up to the $600s where it is now. I’ve always meant to buy some stock but the high share price kept putting me off. Finally a few days ago, after a particularly eager climb up to the 630s, I said OK, and sold some of the underwhelming mutual funds in my retirement account, and bought myself two little shares. Being a novice, I skipped the options like “wait until it dips to X price before buying” (How do I decide what price to wait for? What if it never gets down there and my money sits uselessly for weeks?) and just told it to buy them for whatever the market value at the time was. By the time the stocks were purchased, I ended up paying about $650/share.

The next morning, I checked the value, excited to see where it sat. Turns out, it immediately plunged down to $640, and then further on down to $610 over the next few days. My $1300 investment of just a few days ago is currently worth around $1220. Woo! Stocks! I’m not good at this. :)

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I know, though, that it’s all in the game, and these little fluctuations are normal, and what’s important is the long-term trend. I’m sure it’ll come back up eventually. But if I could have scripted my first foray into a stock purchase, I would have at least started with some kind of exciting little increase to give you that “Yay I just made ten dollars!” moment, before the inevitable dive bomb. That’s just poor plot development.

Apprenticeship

Tonight I’ve been teaching my son how to operate a metal lathe. Awesome. He’s got a healthy respect for the machine and is doing a good job of understanding how all the gears and levers work together to make the cuts you want to make. This is one of my favorite parts of being a dad.

Gavin learns CAD

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Gavin enjoyed helping me model a project in Autodesk Inventor, so he asked if we could install it on his computer. I told him Sketchup would be a better place to start, and he’s now eagerly exploring it, learning his way around by modeling an effects pedal. My son rules.

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What?! I watched you die!

Last night the power went out just as we were about to watch Breaking Bad. After sitting in the dark for an hour or so, listening to all my UPSes slowly beep themselves to death, Naomi and I started talking about the small generator we’ve had sitting in the garage for years. We’ve never used it, but at last here was its chance to shine! We’d get to watch Breaking Bad after all!

We pulled the generator out of the garage, set it up on the back deck, and ran a long extension cord up to the TV upstairs. With a little work, we got the generator running, though it was running pretty roughly. I figured it was due to the old gas that had been sitting in the tank for years, but I figured as long as it was running, it should do the job.

Continue reading

Reducing annoying Mesa channel-switching mute

Beware, this will be an overly geeky, technical post.

Mesa Express 5:50 head on Ampeg 2x12 cab

Mesa Express 5:50 head on Ampeg 2×12 cab

I recently bought a secondhand Mesa Express 5:50 head, and I absolutely love it, but I’m really annoyed by the brief mute in the signal when switching channels. I know it’s there to eliminate popping during channel switching, but the silence is almost as annoying as the pop would be. I figured the silence might not be audible in a full band setting, but after a few practices I’ve found that it’s definitely still audible and noticeable, and it ends up sounding like I’m entering each new section a tiny bit late. I could try to train myself to hit the footswitch a quarter second early, but I was wondering if I can find a way to tweak the circuit to maybe shorten the silence. Continue reading

Rewiring Fender 4×12 cab for Mono/Stereo

In my continuing quest to find the guitar sound that’s in my head, I keep experimenting with different combinations of amps and cabs. I’ve determined that I definitely prefer the fuller sound of more than one speaker playing together. I also really like running two different amps, both switching between them and playing through both at the same time. The latter really makes for an interesting, full-bodied sound.

The obvious solution would be to simply set up two amps side by side, each with at least a 2×12 cabinet, so that even when I’m playing through just one or the other, I’ve still got a nice big sound. But, with a few fun exceptions, Senryu doesn’t (yet?) play stages big enough to allow for such an expansive rig. And, more importantly, I’d really like to avoid lugging two amps and two cabs to each show. Continue reading

Safety First

You know how everyone knows that when you’re drilling through sheet metal, you’re not supposed to hold it in your hand — you should always clamp it, because the drill can catch it and spin it around and turn it into a whirling blade of death? And you know how sometimes you think, “Man, it’s such a pain to clamp it down; I’ll just hold onto it really tight?” That’s exactly as bad an idea as you think.

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(Large group of black people walks into Cici’s Pizza)

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Gavin: “Oh my gosh! Packers!!”

Naomi and I: “(Nervous laugh) Uhh, what?”

Gavin: “Packers! You know, a big group of people that packs into a restaurant!”

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