Archive for the ‘@ New Jersey’ Category

Yorkville

I have big, exciting news for all you faithful readers:

Last week, the Dallas Mavericks selected Shan Foster with the 51st pick of the 2008 NBA Draft!

Ok, settle down. Here’s the real news of which I spake:

I am moving to Manhattan in August!

I’ve been thinking about making an official relocation into The City for years, but was always waiting for the perfect circumstances. Well, those finally arrived and so I started my apartment search in earnest. Ok, actually, I just continued to play online basketball and let Cassie “Super Planner” Melnikow do all the searching now that she has a lot of free time on her hands. Her lease ends at the end of July so we decided to go on a fact-finding excursion with a New York broker to get a feel for size, location, and quality of apartments that we could afford in our price range.

To my surprise I was so impressed with how great the crop we looked at were, that I started wondering if we could bump up our expected move date from August to ASAP. Two months was just too long a wait for me! After a little convincing Cassie agreed, and we went out on a couple more apartment hunts – this time for real.

By the second day of really searching, however, we were becoming a little depressed. No apartments were looking as good as the ones we had seen on the original day. Though these were nicer and newer (completely renovated kitchens and elevators in the building!), they weren’t as big or as comfortably laid out. Worse, they were all cookie-cutter apartments owned by the same management. Cassie decided to check out some on her own since my work schedule was limiting what we could see. At 4 PM on the third day I received a call from her telling me to get my ass up to the Upper East Side because she found the perfect one.

When I got there I couldn’t disagree. It was bigger than any of the apartments we had seen and was $200 cheaper than what I thought our floor asking price was. It had just come on the market while Cassie was exploring with a broker so we were the absolute first ones to see it. Better yet, the current tenant was still there so we got to ask her questions about her living experience in the place (instead of just relying on the broker’s sales pitches). I downplayed my excitement in a futile attempt to have some sort of leverage in the negotiations, but everyone involved knew this apartment was going to go quickly (average time for a New York apartment to get a renter: 1 day).

Well, we signed the lease and turned over an ass-load of money but are now happy renters of an Upper East apartment. Oops! Actually, it turns out the place doesn’t officially open until August 15th, which means a month and a half until we can move in. Since Cassie’s lease ends August 1st this means we’ll have to figure out what to do with both her and her furniture for 15 days … but it does all seem worth it to finally be in the city. Now, commute will only be half an hour at the most and I can do whatever the fuck I want whenever I want! Lastly, of course, there’s Menu Pages. Ah, Menu Pages: my lover!

The area we will be living in is known as Yorkville. Among some of its rich history includes the following hotness:

Oh, and I forgot to mention: the picture above is the apartment, itself. We will live directly above a deli (hopefully 24-hours) so I will never again live in fear of running out of beer!

X-TRA FACT: This is actually the second time I’ll be living in a Thom Yorke (lead singer of Radiohead) themed area. During the summer of 2000 I lived in the famous Shack, which was located on Yorkshire Road in Manassas, Virginia.

Street photo © 2008 Google Maps

    Site Updates:

  • Finally displaying full footer (even though I wrote it maybe a year ago …)
  • Reorder blog categories on sidebar
Add a comment ...
Comments:
  • Monday, June 30th, 2008 at 13:03 | #1

    you’ll have to let us all know what you do with “both her and her furniture for 15 days” !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Monday, June 30th, 2008 at 15:55 | #2

    I wanted to allude to the fact that having Cassie just stay at my place for the 15 days (our obvious choice) brings certain inconveniences – ones that we can’t control nor are they ones I want to mention in this blog.

    For now that’s all but trust in doh and the blog will show

  • Zepmoon
    Thursday, July 3rd, 2008 at 09:40 | #3

    Congratulations – you are truly living the Seinfeld life. I hope it has room for visiting parents to sleep ’cause we want to get up there and see you before it gets cold again.

  • Wilson
    Wednesday, July 30th, 2008 at 09:20 | #4

    you are such a nerd…but still awesome! Congrats dude!

I’m A Balla’ … Shotcalla’, Brawla!

“I really like depriving myself of things. It’s fun!”
– Cosmo Kramer [6.07] The Soup

I guess I must be a little like Kramer since that seems to accurately describe my video game situation! First, it took me over a year to figure out I wasn’t using the most detailed graphical setting on my PS3. Well, I recently decided to finally try playing my NBA 2k8 game online (this being almost 3 years since I last played online). Once again, I have no clue what I was waiting for … because I am completely addicted now!

The PS3 online system is great. Sure, it doesn’t have all the achievement points or consolidated leader boards of the XBOX 360 … but is is free. And I’ve never waited more than 15 minutes for a game to start (and I haven’t even set up my network so I can host games). I’d like to also announce that I haven’t purchased a head set (as Dirk is photoshoppingly modeling for you) as there’s no way I’m going to listen to the trash talk of the 12 year olds I’m playing as I destroy them with my superior knowledge of basketball statistics!

Finally, I’d like to announce to everyone that my AOL screenname of old, Warlock94, lives on as that is my alias online. So, if you see him in your NBA 2k lobby … run! (Sorry this is a bit of a non-blog, folks, but I had to get it out of my system to make way for some exciting news coming soon).

I couldn’t find the scene where Kramer performs the quote I used above so I had to settle for one of the funniest Seinfeld story arcs:

Add a comment ...
Comments:
  • Wednesday, June 25th, 2008 at 16:25 | #1

    Why is Daredevil one of your Stanus themes?

  • Wednesday, June 25th, 2008 at 17:55 | #2

    I’ve been going through all the Essential Daredevils (just finished #2) and I like to make new themes about current things I’m into. I highly recommend these early Daredevils, by the way. Not as silly as early Spider-Man !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

A Night Like Any Other Night …

So last night was pretty uneventful.

After work, Cassie and went to Cheeseburger in Paradise where I had a cajun burger and she had a girlie alcoholic beverage complete with a sunglasses-wearing guy made from an orange and a lime. Then we came back and I watched the Celtics come back from 25 down in the third quarter and demolish the Lakers to go up 3-1 and, pretty much, win the championship. I’m no Celtics fan, but I am a Kobe Bryant hater (and I’m no fan of the Lakers as a franchise) and it gave me a smile to see him frustrated. Then, I was so hyped up on basketball, I decided to finally give a test run of NBA 2k8‘s online capabilities. And, yes, I got pwned by two people who were probably younger than 15. But that was about it for the night.

Oh, wait. I think I forgot something. Ah, yes: there were bullets fired in my neighbors house!

You read that correctly. I was just finishing up playing my second game when we hear what sounded like firecrackers. My street is composed of nothing but older couples, so I didn’t know who would be setting it off but this was followed by women screaming and men shouting. I was frozen to my seat just trying to discern what was going on. After the shots there were tries screeching and about a minute later I ran to a window in my roommates’ room that had a better view of the scene.

Directly next door I saw several vehicles leave the driveway and a couple of guys running at full speed down the block in what I assume to be an attempt at following the shooter. After some more screaming from some younger girl and an angry guy on a phone, everyone returned back. After another five minutes or so three cop cars finally showed up to take stock of the situation. I couldn’t really hear everything, but I thought I heard someone telling the officers it was a drive by type situation. Up until that point I was under the impression it was someone actually at the house who shot while leaving.

It was all surreal and I was way more afraid of being seen by the cops watching the show than of any more firing. Also, I don’t believe anyone was actually hit since no ambulance ever showed up. But I still have no clue as to what really happened. If I hear anything from my roommates or find anything in police blotters I’ll post them here.

Highlight of the night still remains Kobe losing, though!

Add a comment ...
Comments:
  • Friday, June 13th, 2008 at 15:58 | #1

    I turned the game on briefly during the second quarter and I believe the celtics were down by 23… I kinda wish I had watched the rest of the game now.

    I hope you realize you missed your one chance in life to help a damsel in distress! You should have rushed next door with you computer in hand and threatened to blog about all of them unless they wait for the cops to arrive!

Air! AIR!!

I don’t know why but that scene from Spaceballs has stayed with me for two decades now … it’s not even a joke (I think). But it was pretty close to how I felt when I woke up yesterday.

Two days ago it was 94 degrees outside and so humid that I was sweating in my room, wearing next to nothing (!) and having two fans set on high. I had just finished eating dinner and was getting ready to watch Game 3 of the NBA Finals when suddenly a ridiculously powerful gust of wind ripped through my room. Within seconds the temperature had dropped 10 degrees (I was happy) followed by all of the electricity in my room blinking out (I was not so happy).

I thought I could fight the inevitable, as the power couldn’t seem to make up its mind about staying on or off for the next five minutes. And then, I was left in complete darkness. I fumbled around in my walk-in … closet/room and found a flashlight. After a few minutes of discussing what was going on with my roommates, I realized that I may have a long night without electricity ahead of me and I panicked. Live without the internet or computer software for a night?! NEVER!

Luckily, my laptop was fully charged so I spent an hour or so working on music in the dark (where everything just sounds more serious) and then watched Point Blank from Netflix. Now it was after midnight, my laptop was dead, and my room was still in the mid-90’s. Relief wasn’t coming anytime soon (one of my roommates gave up and slept in the cool basement while another slept in a room on the first floor) so I resigned myself to my fate of a sweaty night (and not because I had randomly run into high school classmate, Brian Street, earlier in the day!).

Around 6 in the morning I woke up to the sound of one of my fans spinning up (we had power!) but this lasted only about 10 minutes 🙁 . However, when I finally got up for real at 9 (jealous?) it was to a cool breeze wafting in through my window. The storm had finally broke the recent temperature’s fever and I arose quoting King Roland’s famous (to me) lines! Sure, electricity wouldn’t return for good until 3 PM this day, but at least I wouldn’t have to excrete a personal cooling fluid from my sweat glands waiting for it.

In fact, when I arrived home that night from work, I celebrated my returned power by turning on every god damn electrical appliance in my room. Just like any other night 🙁 . Huzzah!

Oh, I think I’ll quietly mention here at the end that I just updated a Feature about my latest conquering of an NBA 2k video game. Each year, I buy the new version, create a team consisting of me and my friends, and then win the championship. It’s super-fascinating to me (hell, I made a Feature about it), but I doubt most of you will get a kick out of it. Still, it felt necessary to do this so here it is: Ballas2k7

    Site Updates:

  • Finally styled hover state of top page links
  • Styled sidebar search
  • Added musicDB beta link to Big Sections on sidebar
  • Created Ballas2k7 feature
  • Added Ballas2k7 to Latest Features section of sidebar
Add a comment ...
What? No comments?!?!

Beta Music

I’ve been quite the busy bee! One of the projects I’ve been working on is my oft-mentioned upgrade to the musicDB. The last time I brought up the subject I mentioned I’d have something for all of you to check out in “less than a month.” Okay, so it’s been almost two months since that proclamation, but here you go:

musicDB 2 beta!!!!!

A whole bunch of things aren’t working; countless fields for each song, album and recording aren’t filled in; and I’m sure there are a few errors, but you can definitely see the progress from the original. There’s much more to see eventually, as I plan to add several other pieces of information (who wrote what song, what instruments were played on each track, where were songs recorded, etc.), but for now enjoy the beta!

Add a comment ...
What? No comments?!?!

Prophecy: Mostly Fulfilled

Last night I beat my latest video game, Indigo Prophecy, for the PS2. It was a little-known game by Atari that came out back in 2005, received glowing reviews, and slowly built up a cult following. I can’t remember how I stumbled upon it, but I’m glad I did. Many people have wished they could create a workable, interactive movie and countless games have claimed to do so, but Indigo Prophecy has come the closest, in my experience.

The game’s story revolves around a murder in a diner bathroom. After the initial investigation it starts to appear that this is the handiwork of a serial killer who’s last attack came over a decade ago. Now, normally it would seem that this arc would continue along a familiar pattern but Indigo Prophecy throws a monkey wrench into the plans. Yes, this game has the player scratching his head from the beginning as you realize you play as both the killer and the detective assigned to the case. How does one win thoroughly if half of the character pool you control must lose?

Indigo Prophecy’s gameplay is refreshingly unique as well. Sure, you move your character around with the left joystick (adventure game de rigueur) but the right joystick is used for all other actions: interacting with the environment, examining objects, even communicating with other characters. It really all comes together exceptionally well – I couldn’t put down the controller for the first couple of hours (and really only could do so the next couple of times because I realized I’d have to get some sleep sometime).

Initially, I was rating this game as high as my experience with Metal Gear Solid (my favorite game of all time and don’t you forget about it!), as it sucked me in so completely. Unfortunately, the designers just couldn’t sustain their astronomical levels of inspiration at the start and the game slowly leaks quality the further you go. By the end, in fact, I just wanted to get the thing over with as it had turned into a terrible Matrix-style climax.

VERDICT: 4 out of 5 ritualistic killer cyborgs who have traveled from another dimension just to kidnap a little girl … ??

    Site Updates:

  • Removed Band Calendar until, you know … I get a band
Add a comment ...
What? No comments?!?!

The Mayfair Triplex

I had planned to just take it easy and spend the long Memorial Day weekend bumming around with Cassie when she suddenly had to head out of town unexpectedly, taking her car with her. I was now stranded in my house alone as all of my roommates were either traveling or camping for the weekend. What was I going to do with only my stack of video games; multiple guitars; NBA playoffs basketball on tv; and nearby, giant, metropolis, New York City to keep me entertained?

I improvised and wandered around my neighborhood!

Walking 10 blocks south of my house I ran into a quaint (lo, I hate the word), rundown theater that played new movies for $5 called The Mayfair Triplex (or “Mayfai Trip” as it’s known on the front marquee). After a little research on the interweb, I discovered the Mayfair Triplex is a pre-1950’s theater that was once one giant screen but has since been remodeled into three screens. I’ve been in two of the rooms and they both are strangely shaped, nothing resembling any of the theaters I’ve been in before (one of theme even had a couple old movie organs … though I doubt they were used here). There’s even the remains of the original balcony above one of the rooms. It all comes together to make a really unique viewing atmosphere. Please don’t confuse the word unique with good, as the sound was terrible and the picture quality wasn’t great, either.

Well, since I had 48+ solid hours to kill, the location was so close, and I loved the experience so much, I actually ended up seeing two movies at the Mayfair Triplex about which I will now review!!!!!

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull – much like Spider-Man 3, this movie is really a tale of two halves. The first half is good (not great) with Chinflap Jones hitting all the regular Indy formula points: Paramount logo merging into “mountain,” mini-serial opening, Indy interacts with important historical event of the time, shot of Indy’s college, humorous gags in the middle of action sequences, Indy gets into archeology traps, etc. And then, all of a sudden, around the halfway point, the movie turns into a terrible version of The Incredibles. Indy is a regular guy – sure he can fight well, he’s lucky and he’s smart – but he can get hurt. He’s surely not a superhero and yet that’s what the second half seemed like – the superhero Family Jones summer vacation. Ugh. And don’t get me started about the aliens … ladies and gentlemen, it will soon come out that that lame aspect was George Lucas‘ idea and not Spielberg‘s.
Verdict: 2 out of 5 Anthony Stets figurines.

Iron Man – whereas I kept waiting for Indiana Jones to get good again after the half way mark, during Iron Man I was anticipating the moment it would get lame or too fanboy-ish. I was still waiting when the credits started rolling. Wow … I wasn’t really overwhelmed by this moive: it’s too superhero-by-the-numbers to be great and too solid to be terrible. I guess Iron Man lands in the barren category that is “actually good, but ultimately throwaway movie.” Other movies in this group: Blade and anything from Jean-Claude Van Damme‘s early career. I’d go into more details about the movie but who cares? It has robotic suits of death armor, taut but concise action sequences, and Robert Downey Jr. sipping cocktails. What more need you know?
Verdict: 3 out of 5 Dirk Nowitzki jersies

Add a comment ...
What? No comments?!?!

Master Planner

Congratulations to the most famous and largest nerd on the East coast as Cassie got her master’s degree in sociology from Columbia last week.

Cassie’s sister, Tori (Story), and I took off the first half of work Wednesday and made the trek up to Columbia for the event. The last time I had been there was back in 2001 when I visited Bill “The Thrill” Bert (just a week before they started filming Spider-Man there 🙁 ) so it was cool to see it again. That trip was only my second stay in New York and I was still overwhelmed by the whole city – the college seemed so crazy and closed in. Now, it was filled with people but felt so open … being comfortable in an environment really changes one’s perspective.

But where was I going with this, again? Oh, yeah: graduation. Cassie separated from us right when we got there and Tori and I spent the better part of half an hour trying to find seats. We failed miserably and eventually just sat on a bench outside of the event near the school of journalism building. About an hour into the looooong awards presentations, some seats opened up and I got to sit in the blazing sun, getting burned! Finally, Cassie’s school was called (it was the absolute last thing in the entire ceremony) and the entire mob shuffled back out into the streets to the sounds of Frank Sinatra‘s “Theme from New York, New York.”

It only took a year for her to wrap this latest step in her school career up, but I can’t believe she still managed to do it. I for one was more than happy to finally get my bachelor’s degree (or “plan b” as I like to call it) out of the way and be done with school for quite a while. She now moves on to her plans to set up a blog at casshole.com (note: I honestly have no idea what the hell that link will go to) and wed her long-time boyfriend, Jesse L. Martin – of Law & Order and Rent fame.

Add a comment ...
Comments:
  • Sunday, May 25th, 2008 at 12:11 | #1

    Unfortunately, casshole.com is already owned by someone named Chelsey Marshall who lives in Canada. She hasn’t set up the site though so I bet offers would be entertained!

    Congrats Cassie!

  • Zepmoon
    Tuesday, May 27th, 2008 at 09:29 | #2

    Please pass my congratulations on to Cassie. This is a major milestone from a major university. Note: Stanus’ grandfather graduated from Columbia with a Masters Degree in 1948.

    Great minds think alike.

Guitarted

My Les Paul turned 30 this year and, unfortunately, is showing its age in a certain spot: the glue. The adhesive keeping the washers attached to the tuning pegs is beginning to fade. This causes the washers to bounce around as I play, hitting the strings and causing so much more stress on them than the regular wear and tear of performing. My strings become brittle fast and break much quicker than normal and the washers hitting the strings causes secondary noises that I’m not fond of. The solution is a simple process of replacing the washers and re-gluing them, but it would take the guitar a few days or so to recover in a shop. What would I do without a guitar for a week??!?!?!

Obvious answer: buy another guitar! I realized that I would need a second guitar eventually (what if I break a string on stage during a gig?), so I actually started to give some credibility to this option about two weeks ago. When I started to fantasize about finally having a real Stratocaster (I’ve been seriously thinking about getting one since about summer of 1998), I couldn’t stop myself from finding one on eBay and bidding!

I’ve had incredible musical purchase delivery stories (my Vetta II amp showed up in 4 days, and my Black Beatle bass was waiting outside my door within a week), but this one actually didn’t go so hot. UPS decided I lived at 24 78th Street rather than 24 76th Street and when they realized Stan Syckes didn’t live there they took it back to their warehouse in Secaucus (which I was told by the UPS hotline would be open until 7pm). I rushed over there after work and just made it before that witching hour only to find out that this warehouse actually closes at 6pm everyday. Thanks for the incorrect information, UPS hotline!

Long story short, I left a few hours early from work last Friday and made it in time to pick up the new guitar (though I was forced to watch The Tyra Banks Show while waiting in line). That would probably conclude a normal person’s blog, but this one will be forced to continue. In fact, to keep with a theme I explored a year ago with my historical amp blog, here’s the rundown on all of my guitars I’ve ever owned.

1. Beginner’s Axe
Model: Charvel Stratocaster Wannabe (Black)
Date Acquired: 12/25/1995
Method of Acquisition: Christmas gift
Date Divested: Early 1998
Method of Divestment: Gave it back to my Dad when he moved; still in his possession (with some seriously funky-old strings on it)
Time in Use: ~2 years

Though I was always a fan of music, I didn’t get into popular music until relatively late (8th grade). I’m not sure what exactly it was as I slowly acclimated myself to the modern musical landscape, but I started to gravitate towards the guitar. Ryan Schneider, a friend of both Steve’s and mine, owned a Fender Stratocaster and must have let us jam on it at some point as we demanded and, luckily, received one for Christmas of 1995.

This thing really saw a lot of use and abuse as Steve and I fought over it every minute outside of school. I played it in my first band and at my first gig (still weird to think I had to essentially get permission to use it during band practices). Hell, this thing even survived a short-circuiting mishap when one of its guitar strings brushed up against my computer monitor immediately blowing out both monitor and amp (the monitor survived; the amp was less fortunate). I think I may have officially retired that story as I’ve told it way too many times in this blog.

The Charvel didn’t have a great sound as tolerating damage was the prime directive in its build. I don’t remember the action being all that great and there was absolutely no sustain at all. Still, whenever I’m pulled under a riptide of nostalgic waves, I’ll pick it up at my dad’s place where it still (barely) lives. And then I immediately put it back down after remembering how poorly it plays!

2. The Red Alien
Model: Epiphone Les Paul Standard (Heritage Cherry Sunburst)
Date Acquired: Early 1998
Method of Acquisition: Purchased (with my own money!) at Springfield Mars Music shop
Date Divested: None; I still have it but haven’t played it in years
Method of Divestment: N/A
Time in Use: ~7.5 years

After a couple of years with my beginner’s instrument, I realized playing the guitar wasn’t a fad and that I wanted to upgrade to an intermediate-level ax. There was a (now defunct) music store called Mars just a couple of miles away from my high school that my friends and I would haunt constantly. After playing all of the display guitars there for years, I whittled down the selection to one special model and saved up the $500 or so (an immense amount of money to me) to make it mine: an Epiphone Les Paul Standard!

Dubbed The Red Alien after an illustrated guitar strap I bought with the guitar (you can see it in the picture), my second guitar served me well through my much-heralded Bras phase. Bras was a band I started with high school friends Richard “Detective Kimble” Killiam (vocals, rhythm guitar, incessant discussion about Magic: The Gathering) and Bill “William” Bert (bass, 40 oz bottles of malt liquor). This was the guitar that accompanied me to college where I started a relationship with digital recording (before that it was all computer notated MIDI) and on which I penned the vast majority of songs I’ve written in my brief songwriting career.

The sound was warmer and more sustained than the Charvel. The neck was also a little wider so chords were harder to play but leads easier. As all Les Pauls, it was extremely bottom-heavy and just generally weighed more than my first guitar; an anchoring feeling which I grew extremely accustomed to. Unfortunately, after 5 years, I began to tire of The Red Alien’s intermediate sound and the at-first cool Heritage Cherry Burst began to look as gay as the color sounded. Worse, after almost a decade of my terrible custodianship, The Red Alien eventually just broke down. It required so many re-soldering jobs that I just left the back covering off, allowing me to manually maintain the wires from being ripped apart. Also, by the end I was down to just 2 out of the original 6 tuning pegs in working order from so many drops and spills. Even in its dilapidated state, however, The Red Alien heroically remained my #1 (and, really, my only) guitar for quite a bit longer than it probably should have.

3. Vintage Hotness
Model: 1979 Gibson Les Paul Standard (Tobacco Sunburst)
Date Acquired: 6/2/2005
Method of Acquisition: eBay
Date Divested: N/A; Still using it
Method of Divestment: N/A
Time in Use: 3 years and counting!

While I purchased my acoustic guitar online, I also made it a point to scour eBay for vintage Gibson Les Pauls. I knew I had discovered “my” type of guitar in The Red Alien, but I needed upgraded playability and craftsmanship in a professional build and I craved an authentic, vintage tone. I believe it was only a week or two after buying the acoustic (though I couldn’t track down that exact date) that I found and won an auction for this beauty! This still-unnamed, official replacement for The Red Alien turned out to have belonged to a man who had recently died. His daughter had discovered it in a closet where it had remained untouched for years.

I fantasized that a cloud of dust would fly out of the case as I opened it but when it arrived I was happily surprised to find the guitar was in amazing condition! Sure, there were a lot of scratches on the back but the front was immaculate. It smelled of pickles for the first month (maybe there were pickles in the closet? I’ve never spent much time pondering that peculiarity) and I ceremoniously jammed on the thing with the decade-old strings that were still on the guitar as a tribute to its previous owner (though they turned my hands black with all of its collected dust and grime).

The sound of the guitar is definitely a step up from The Red Alien, but the biggest upgrade is the playability. Where I used to be able to bend strings a whole step on my old guitar, I can go a full two whole steps here. And I’ve never played a guitar with longer sustain than this guy. I’ve been reading a lot of Daredevil recently, and I’m thinking about naming this guitar “Daredevil” or “Murdock.” Both he and I have red hair and I sure feel like I have some sort of crazy radar sense while playing through songs on this thing … it just seems appropriate (also I’m a superhero). Only time will tell if this name will stick (and, heaven help us, if another Dohblog drops!).

4. Unplugged
Model: Taylor 714-CE (Natural)
Date Acquired: 5/2005 6/12/2005
Method of Acquisition: eBay/obsession!
Date Divested: N/A; Still using it
Method of Divestment: N/A
Time in Use: 3 years and counting!

All through college, I would “borrow” Steve’s Sigma DM-4 acoustic guitar. Playing acoustic songs on a clean electric grew stale after a while and jamming on his real acoustic inspired a easier, more open-sounding method of songwriting. I also discovered a great way of doubling acoustic parts to make fuller, but not competing, rhythm tracks in recordings.

So, naturally when I moved back home after graduating and Steve continued on with his studies, I suddenly found myself in a world without this luxury to which I had become accustomed. This was something I couldn’t stand so as soon as I had enough money I went to the Fairfax Guitar Center and spent several hours trying every single one of their guitars in their acoustic department. The last man standing was the Taylor 714-CE, an acoustic-electric guitar with a bright but muted sound. Chords shimmered on it and single notes shot out like laser beams (sidenote: though I picked out the guitar at Guitar Center, I went home and bought it on the cheap from eBay).

UPDATE: Brandon, my old roommate, reminded me today that he actually bought this Taylor from eBay for me as I didn’t have a credit card. Looking at his records he got it on 6/12/2005, which would actually place the purchase of the acoustic after getting the 1978 Les Paul. So, I’ve switched some things around between these two entries.

5. The Black Beatle
Model: Jay Turser JTB-2B/GBK (Black)
Date Acquired: 11/6/2005
Method of Acquisition: eBay
Date Divested: N/A; Still using it
Method of Divestment: N/A
Time in Use: 2.5 years and counting, Mr. Bond!

Much like my acoustic guitar purchase, I bought this bass based on one of Steve’s that I would borrow while at college. A short-scaled sized instrument (making it easier to play for guitarists), the JTB-2B is modeled after Paul McCartney’s famous Höfner violin bass and produces a wimpy, semi-acoustic, sharp sound when played. However, when recorded directly using line-in, the bass has the best, most professional sound I’ve ever heard! Hell, I won the “Best Bass” award in my Pro Tools class thanks to one of these babies!

I just had to own the instrument that made the bottoms of my songs sound so big and fat (let’s not let our minds wander too much on that statement), so I ordered this only a few months after moving into the Pink Sock. It’s the first, only, and quite possibly the last bass I’ve ever owned.

6. “Schneider” Nostalgia
Model: 1995 Fender Stratocaster (Sunburst)
Date Acquired: 5/16/2008
Method of Acquisition: As usual, eBay
Date Divested: ???
Method of Divestment: Went to the highest bid on Dohblog!
Time in Use: 3 days thus far!

As I already mentioned, I was in “need” of a new guitar and, after thinking for a long time, I arrived at the perfect choice. My 1995 Fender Stratocaster is not only a great sounding and playing guitar, but it also brings me back full circle to my initial guitar playing days: I started to play in 1995 on a Fender Strat-clone and since part of the initial spark to play was facilitated by him I have decided to name the new guitar “Schneider.”

I’ve gotten so used to Les Pauls that when I first strapped on this guitar it felt like nothing – the weight difference was that great! Then, when I started to jam to some old favorites, I kept hitting my hand against all the Stratocaster knobs at the bottom of the guitar. I don’t know how players can really rock out so much on this model and not affect their sounds and volumes accidentally, but I guess it just takes as much practice as getting used to a Les Paul’s weight. I immediately fell in love with the whammy bar again (an attachment that is ignored on Les Pauls) and got back into the crunchy, brightness that emanates.

However, it wasn’t until the second practice session that I started to really get excited about the guitar. The sound and playing started to jog ancient memories of why I picked up guitars in the first place. I started to feel the same inspiration I felt when learning one of my favorite songs for the first time or when I mastered a new chord. Having played consistently for some time now I was already confident in my skills, but now that my inspiration levels are starting to match that level, I’m really looking forward to starting back into a band situation. Here we go!

    Site Updates:

  • Changed background color of Admin comments (now red instead of default gray) … exciting, I know!
  • Increased size of comment form to fit new blog width
Add a comment ...
Comments:
  • Monday, May 26th, 2008 at 12:39 | #1

    $500 as an incredible amount of money. it’s so true. When you’re in high school it’s like, wow.. I cannot afford that. Now I fantasize about buying a new guitar and price is no option, but i have to contend with the fact that I don’t play my electrics nearly enough to justify an upgrade. A classical guitar, then? I enjoyed your wit as it pertained to your various music instruments.

  • Zepmoon
    Tuesday, May 27th, 2008 at 09:25 | #2

    1. Just so everyone can sleep easy, the Beginner’s Axe is enshrined in the Man Cave until negotiations begin with the Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame.

    2. Question, since we all know that “he who dies with the most toys wins”, who is winning the guitar toy contest – Stanus or Stever?

Band Down

Well, here’s one of those promised stanus.butt shockers: as of yesterday I have officially quit my band.

There were several reasons that led me to realize this current musical situation just wasn’t for me. I naturally feel like I should be quiet and keep my big mouth shut: there’s no real good about coming out with my reasoning – I think it’d be best if we all just move on. However, I feel a greater loyalty to this blog and will force myself to be a little more vocal and honest than I think is probably beneficial for you, dear reader!

First, I felt stifled from making musical suggestions at times due to a micromanaging type style of a member. This was a situation that I was just as guilty as he was for allowing to occur, but I knew if we were going to recover, he had to know how it was destructive. After discussing this problem with him I wasn’t completely sure he heard everything I was saying, but I gave him the benefit of the doubt. We took a week off as the other band members had sit down discussions with him as well, and this stretch gave me a lot of time to reflect.

I realized that I was also unsatisfied with the music, as well. When we played songs they would start to all gravitate towards the same area – 120-130 bpm, hard rock, and either heavy riff- or heavy chord-oriented (and build on 4!). When I first heard their songs I immediately liked their heavy, dark style but I was beginning to be worried when I couldn’t bring them out of that ever.

Finally, I felt like a hired gun for much of the experience which was exactly what I didn’t want in a band. We were working on 9 songs … 1 of which was mine. The previous 8 were ones the other three members had worked together on before I joined. I was always under the impression we were going to move on quickly from these to work on a sound that resulted from all 4 of us, but four months in, we were still on those first 9.

These guys were great guys and a lot of fun to hang out with. I’ll be honest, there were some musical issues that I don’t feel I need to mention at all here, but for the most part they were great to jam with for our four or so months. However, I became so much more excited about starting a new band closer to my style than I was about going to practice towards the end with my old band and that sealed it’s doom. I wish them all luck in the future and now turn towards making some more music, myself.

And … wouldn’t you know it … there’s quite a few news items in that category! But I shall wait for another post to go into that! Patience, my readers!

Add a comment ...
Comments:
  • Thursday, May 15th, 2008 at 00:32 | #1

    Woah! I thought you were gnona end up getting into Avenged Sevenfold! I await the next news item with baited breath; I hope it’s an acoustic album (seriously!)

    Oh and I want in on the Doh Drop!!

  • Thursday, May 15th, 2008 at 13:32 | #2

    What’s upcoming on your Band Calendar section?