Friday, February 16, 2024

I Would Have Loved An SNES Crystalis Sequel!

Crystalis is one of my all time favorite games, and one of my favorite RPGs on the NES. From its beginning as God Slayer on the Nintendo Famicom, to it's transition to Crystalis, this game is simple yet amazing, and sometimes frustrating. My first introduction was sometime in the later half of the 90s when I finally acquired an NES. I was asking everyone I knew about NES games, and when I asked a kid who worked the local Dairy Queen, he said he would bring some games over for me to test that night. I remember he brought Dragon Warrior and Crystalis. He noted Crystalis was going to be hard to sell because it was his Mom's favorite game, and within the few minutes I played it I totally see why.

Those few moments left such a mark on me that I started checking every FuncoLand I could, since I couldn't afford that copy, waiting impatiently to get my hands on my own copy. Eventually I found a copy, which came with a printout giving an overview of the game, which I still have. I also printed out a walkthrough to help me beat it for the first time. I still have that too, and it's about the size of a book. I've since beat the game a handful of times, and I enjoy every minute of it. On my latest play through I used a guide from a channel on youtube that I'm quite fond of, UCanBeatVideoGames. Currently I use the original cartridge as my "play" cartridge, but I later found a complete in box copy that I only take out to look at, from time to time.

But what if Crystalis had an SNES sequel? For me the SNES is the home of some of the greatest RPGs of all time. That era was just rife with RPG perfection, again and again and again. I'm not sure how popular Crystalis was in its time, nor God Slayer for that matter, but what I do know is a lot of people really love this game. In modern days it isn't unheard of for a game to get a romhack and be completely reskinned, with a new story and all kinds of new elements. That could be nice, but I think Crystalis deserves a 16-bit version. A complete remake would be a bit too much, but if anyone out there is wanting to undertake such a project, I would love to see it!

As I said before, Crystalis was simple, only having 16 max levels. It was also frustrating as you would often need to change out your weapon and it's subitem multiple times in the same cave. I guess that's a part of Nintendo Hard; just something thrown in to add a few extra minutes of gameplay. An SNES sequel with a different story, some of the same gameplay mechanics, but this time caves where all he enemies require the same sword and subitem. The spells in Crystalis were adequate, but maybe a few more would be nice. I love that every weapon and subitem was a story item, so you had to quest to obtain them instead of checking each town's smith. Armor, shields and other items were obtained in each town, as per normal.

There's so much about Crystalis that could have easily transferred into an SNES sequel, and so much that could have been expanded upon. Would it have tarnished the original game's sparkle? Maybe, but maybe not. Regardless, it's highly unlikely to ever happen. I would really like to know more about the Famicom version and its development. If I'm being completely honest, I would love a CIB copy of God Slayer, and the GameBoy Color remake. Just to fill out my collection.

Thursday, February 8, 2024

Frigid First February Fabrication

Originally I had planned an SHO clone build for this month, since it's such a small build I could do it indoors whenever I wanted. The more I researched ZVex, the more I was turned on by the 59 Sound. So naturally I started looking for a layout, which was super easy to find thanks to Dirtbox Layouts. Apart from two resistors and the BS170s, I already had everything. To solve the first problem I coupled a few resistors in series to make them the right value, and I used 2N7000s instead of BS170s. I did make one mistake in packing a 10uf instead of a 1uf electrolytic capacitor, which I didn't find out until I was outside soldering.

The day came and the sun was shining bright. The weather apps were all saying today was going to be 62 degrees, so I decided to just go ahead and get it done. I setup my little workstation on the back deck and got to work. The wind was a bit of a nemesis, but the fact I was on the opposite side from where the sun was shining made things a bit worse. I powered through thinking the sun would eventually be shining down upon me, to grace this first February build. Nope. *WOMP WOMP WOMP* After all the links and resistors were installed, just before I stared installing capacitors, the sun ran away and hid behind the clouds. The temps, coupled with the wind, plummeted.

I was this far in, so I continued to power through, until that mistake I made with the electrolytic capacitor reared its ugly head. A simple mistake, but when your fingers are nearly frozen solid it makes removing the part more difficult than it should be. I should have checked the value before installing it, but I was anxious to get this build done and tested. Live and learn! Once all the components were stuck down to the board, it was time to wire up the potentiometers. Over the course of 2023 I actually learned to love this process; I still hate wiring though. When I get to this stage I'm super excited because I know I'm just a few minutes away from a completed circuit and getting to test it out.

Once the potentiometers were installed I put it in the wonky test box, which is really more of a test tin, and quickly disassembled the workstation to get back inside. Normally I wouldn't find these temps this cold, but that wind drives it right into a person, and chills to the bone! I packed all my tools away and sat down to test the circuit. It seems to work exactly as expected. Through the Noisy Cricket it made a hell of a roar, but avid readers will know a circuit isn't done until it's passed the Kali test. That will have to wait a little while though. I'm just glad it worked at all.

Not the prettiest, but my builds usually aren't.

People who are familiar with the 59 Sound might see my pattern. The official 59 Sound is both an SHO and this circuit in one box. Since I already planned to build the SHO, I figured today was warm enough to do a bigger build, thus the 59 Sound took priority and was completed. My plan is to build the SHO clone on the 29th. This way I'll have two February builds in the books, not only that but one done on Leap Day. By the end of the month I should have a complete clone of the 59 Sound. Unless I move to a warmer climate I don't foresee doing any more February builds, but never say never. What matters is this circuit works, sounds good and it is now part of my build history in a big way. My very first February build.

Update: Kali test is complete. Circuit sounds awesome!

Monday, February 5, 2024

My Minecraft Tips

I don't talk very much about Minecraft here, but I do play quite often. Whether it's perpetually sustaining my Java world from 2012 or playing Bedrock with friends, I've learned quite a few things to help me throughout my many Minecraft adventures. I figured since I've built up my own mini empire I would pass on some tips that have helped me throughout the years, in no particular order. As Minecraft is an ever-changing game some of these tips are subject to change. Hopefully not!

Tip #1: Ender Chests

I can not tell you how often an Ender chest has saved my bacon. Since Ender chests are their own contained system, you can use them as mobile storage while you're out adventuring, and not worry about losing your stuff if you die. The key is to take one with you everywhere, and always have one at your home base. I've made multiples as backups for adventures, but also placed one in every single base that I've built. This way no matter what happens while you're out adventuring, your loot will always be safe, and accessible, from the Ender chest. This also helps with transferring items. A few of the follow tips will expand upon this, one of which will also be required.

Tip #2: Tool Loadout

When it comes to my tool loadout I almost always take five tools. One shovel, axe, sword, and two pickaxes. Why two pickaxes? Because one pickaxe is silk touch, and the other is fortune three. Naturally everything has mending and unbreaking three enchantments, as well as efficiency five on everything but the sword. The silk touch pickaxe is used primarily to collect the Ender chest, otherwise it will break down into eight obsidian. There are many other reasons for a silk touch pickaxe, but it's purely up to you as to what enchantments you place on your items.

Tip #3: Shulker Boxes

Shulker boxes can be a bit tricky for the novice to obtain, but once you do you'll be opening a completely new world for yourself. Refer to tip #1, and just fill your Ender chest with shulker boxes. Voila! Each box offers 27 slots, and the Ender chest offers 27 spaces for shulker boxes. You do the maths! Tedious? Sometimes, but if you're planning on being out in the field for extended periods of time, it's very well worth it. This also allows for you to carry shulker boxes full of food, potions, tools, etc. It also allows for a shulker box filled with firework rockets, to use with the next tip. The only limit to this is your own imagination. 

Tip #4: Elytra

Elytra are your friend, and your enemy! This is another item that might be a bit tricky to acquire within the first while of gameplay, but eventually you will obtain a pair. As with everything in Minecraft, acquiring the first one is the hardest part, after that you'll be overrun with the darn things. Trust me! I enchant each pair of Elytra with unbreaking three and mending, but even so they seem to lose durability quite quickly. This is where the enemy part comes in, as if your Elytra lose all of their durability while flying three-hundred plus blocks high, you're going to fall out of the sky. You better hope you're quick with a water bucket, or you're flying over water already. If you happen to catch them before they're out of durability, provided you've enchanted them with mending, do what I do and use your pickaxe (the fortune three one) to collect coal, red stone, or any other resource that yields experience points. It might take a while, but you will eventually refuel (so to speak) your Elytra and be back in the skies. Also, try not to fly into things, as you will take health damage.

Tip #5: Automation

Automation is also your friend! My favorite automated farm is a passive sheep farm that is super simple to make, yields quite a bit of wool, and after I sell the wool off to the villagers, earns emeralds. Nothing is for free though, as you will need to sustain a good stock of iron to make the shears for this particular automated farm. However, there are tons of other ways to automate things, go AFK and come back to glorious amounts of items you'll end up needing, or you can trade for other things you'll need.

Tip #6: Nether Portals

Since each singular block traveled in the Nether equals eight blocks in the overworld, the Nether is a great place to use as a travel hub. Much of my Java world was generated throughout many older versions of the game, causing me to go out further to find new parts of the world with each update. Many online servers use the Nether as a travel hub and make things fancy, but I just build Netherrack bridges through the lava. Then I build portals, or repair broken ones, and screenshot the coords to use later. This cuts down on Elytra usage, and time spent trying to find new parts of the world. If you're a novice, bring fire potions and take your time. If you're experienced, still bring fire potions and take your time. The Nether is an unforgiving place, so I try to spend as little time in there as possible.

Tip #7: Villagers

Villagers are a great source of items you might need, such as enchanted books, or simply emeralds. They are also customizable! You want a villager that buys wool from your AFK wool farm? Find a villager and place down a loom. When they've accepted their fate, check their options. Not what you wanted? Removing and replacing the loom without performing any trades will reset the villager's career choice. Once you've found the initial trades you like from the newly hired villager, perform trades to lock them in and rake in the emeralds. I've read some trades can now only be found in certain regions, but the same trick applies. You may also want to take some time in trying to find the lowest rate on any given trade. It's all RNG when it comes to trades, so a little bit of work could pay off in the end.

Tip #8: Make Backups

This one is twofold. When you play Minecraft, expect things to go wrong. Don't let that ruin your fun, or your immersion, but always understand part of the adventure is anything can happen. I like to keep a few extra sets of armor and tools handy, in case I happen to goof and die. It's no fun trying to get back to your death pile without having the proper equipment. That is, if you can even get back to it at all. Aside from the in-game materials, back up your game saves! Yes, they can get quite large, mine being 20gb, but a good backup of your game save could potentially cut out the need for multiple sets of armor and tools. Whichever you find easiest, however I like to back up both.

Tip #9: Enchantments

I touched upon this with my tool loadout, but armor should also be enchanted. Just like my tools (and Elytra) everything has mending and unbreaking three. I understand enchantments are hard to sort out when you're first starting out, but don't rush and use what you can find. You can combine customized villagers, enchanted books from the enchantment table, and enchanted books you'll find along your adventures to have well enchanted armor in no time. With the aforementioned enchantments my helmet is respiration three, protection four, aqua affinity. My chestplate is protection four. My leggings are swift sneak three and fire protection four. My boots are protection four, feather falling four, depth strider three, and soul speed three. Protection variants are up to you, but with the ability to put one on each piece of equipment you might as well try to have one on at least something. There are a few enchantments I don't like, such as Frost Walker and Thorns, that just seem to be more of a hindrance than a benefit. Again, it's totally up to you as to how you enchant your armor.

These are just a few things I've gathered from my years of playing Minecraft that I figured I would pass along. If you don't play Minecraft, I'll get back to the guitar pedal builds here soon, don't worry. It is February, so I have to do my builds to get this month in the books. I've added a few builds to the schedule, as I tend to do. We'll see how 2024 goes!

Thursday, January 25, 2024

Death of my DS

When I was thrifting regularly it was impossible to find an original Nintendo DS in decent shape. It seems as though Nintendo made them out of hopes and dreams, because every one I saw was crushed or broken. I did eventually find one that was in ok condition and it functioned completely. Well, it did, until a few weeks ago when it took a short tumble from where I had it packed away in my closet. It had been living quite comfortably in a padded case for years. When it came tumbling out of my closet, while I was searching through my guitar pedals, I didn't think much about it. There was no noise or any other sign that would have told me something was amiss.

I've was playing Mario Kart DS on my 3DS, that unsurprisingly also with a broken hinge, when it started having trouble reading the cartridge. I decided to get a second opinion, which just so happened to be my fully functioning original Nintendo DS. As soon as I grabbed the case I could hear something rattling around inside, and my heart skipped a beat. That last part could have been a symptom of my anxiety disorder, I can't tell anymore. Regardless, when I opened the case, I saw the top screen was shifted, and many little silver pieces strewn about the case. After the initial shock I decided to go ahead and test the cartridge anyway, but SURPRISE! Nintendo designed the original DS to implode when the already brittle shell falls apart.

There is a certain resistance needed from the top screen to tell the system to turn on, without that it simply won't. In the event of a bump or tumble, the top screen breaks loose, severing the screen cable and thus renders the whole system useless. That is unless you modify it by adding a resistor to create a DS Boy Advance like I did with the previous DS I had, although I bought it with the shell already having been shattered. I actually like the DS Boy Advance, but I don't need two! I want a fully functional original DS. Sure, all the parts are there and I could buy a replacement shell, a top ribbon cable (which I actually might still have one from the one I converted to a DS Boy Advance) and get it back up and running, but that's just another Trigger's Broom scenario. Yes, I'm using that gag again.

I know the DS is twenty years old now, but no other console has been this fragile. I guess I'll just have to order the parts from over seas to fix it up. It would have been nice if they actually built a handheld console that would have lasted, but that's the way it goes. Not like they didn't have twenty years of experience with previous handhelds that were built like absolute tanks. Nintendo, do better. 

Monday, January 8, 2024

Nintendo Wii Appreciation

Many years ago I picked up a Nintendo Wii for super cheap at a Goodwill Outlet store and set to work putting it all together. When I found it the front face was missing, as well as the Gamecube controller/memory card doors. Throughout my many times hunting at the Goodwill Outlet stores I had picked up everything else I needed to get the system to work, so it didn't take long to put it all together. I even happened to find a few games, which really helped me test the system completely when I got it running.

Shortly afterward I softmodded it for emulation, mainly using it for retro consoles. When it came to Gamecube and Wii games I used the actual Gamecube and Wii discs. I knew about softmods that allowed you to play backups of Wii and Gamecube games, but I never really saw too much use in that, until more recently. I do mean more recently, as in a few days ago. I own a few Gamecube discs that are in very poor condition, Star Wars: Bounty Hunt for example is a completely lost cause it seems. To experience this game I had to try "other" means. Look, I own the disc but it's too scratched for the Wii or even a Gamecube to read, so it falls a bit into a gray area here.

Anyway, I decided if one disc was too damaged to read, I better try to minimize my losses and go full emulation, since it's available. Doing so has renewed my interest in my Nintendo Wii. Not that I ever fully stopped using my Wii, as I use it quite often for emulating retro consoles. I just hadn't had much interest in the Wii and/or Gamecube side of the console in quite some time. In 2020 I spent most of the year playing my real N64, in 2021 it was my real Super Nintendo, in 2023 I spent most of the year building pedal circuits, and it seems in 2024 I may just be spending a lot of time playing Nintendo Wii games.

Now that I'm playing much more Nintendo Wii, I'm finding that a lot of games with potential were killed by poor controls. Whether they where forced to use Wii motion controls, or just too lazy to implement compatiblity with the Gamecube controller, I'm not sure, but the Wii controls SUUUUUUUUUUCK on so many games. Many years ago I bought Excite Truck so that myself and my then girlfriend could play it together, but that never happened, sadly. Regardless, I finally got around to giving the game a try and I have to say, while I like the idea of turning the controller horizontal, the turning accuracy is junk! Even on a Wii Motion Plus controller! It's horrible.

My main focus is to save wear and tear on my discs, and make backups of them to play. However, I'm currently working with a 32gb USB drive, and that doesn't go very far when it comes to Wii games. Should I go the HDD route? Maybe, but I really don't know how far this will go. If I get super into it and want to backup every game I own, I might, but for now the select few games I've got backups for are keeping me entertained enough. If you have a Wii that's sitting in a corner or closet collecting dust, or know someone who does, I would highly suggest softmodding it. It runs emulators really well and it's a tiny little console with so much potential - for fun!

Monday, January 1, 2024

Causing a Little Fuss: Bazz Fuss 4th Anniversary Edition

Believe it or not, when I first started building pedal circuits I wasn't too concerned with keeping track of when they were built. Eventually I did decide to keep track of build dates, so I used my own social media posts to get as close as I possibly could for the ones I hadn't kept track of before. For the past few years I assumed my first build was on the second of January 2020. After doing some research I found a reddit post where I asked for help troubleshooting my first build, which turned out to be on the first of January 2020. There were quite a few Bazz Fuss builds that were never taken into account at all, most of which have since been harvested for parts to build something else. I did say most, as I've recently come across one of the last surviving Bazz Fuss builds that I forgot about and never completed.

Bass Fuzz on a US Quarter for size reference.

My very first Bazz Fuss was slapped together from parts I had laying around. It's sputtery, velcrowy and it sounds like shit in any other setting than full bore. Because it was my very first build I'm leaving it the way it is, for better or worse. My plan was to finish off this other Bazz Fuss to celebrate the fourth anniversary and make it more of a useful circuit than my very first build. This will give it an actual use, and a date of completion. Since this circuit was built previously, I can't give it a birthdate but a completion date is still important to the circuit. All I needed to do was install the volume pot, wire it into my test box, and, since it has a socket, see which transistor sounded best. 

The problem being, no matter what I do it sounds like shit, if it makes noise at all. I will assume this circuit sounded ok previously or it would have been harvest for parts long ago. I used some really nasty solder back then, but I made sure to reflow it all when I was installing the volume pot. It could be a bum volume pot, it could be a bad component on the board, although I doubt the latter, or it could be my test box's power input needs replaced. Apart from the Screaming Tree/Screaming Bird clone, the last few circuits I've tested in it sounded like shit. I'll start with giving the test box a new power input, if that doesn't work then I'll know it's the circuit itself.

Sadly I can't give this circuit a birthday, nor can I give it the completion date I was hoping for. It's a super simple circuit, so I'm confused as to why I'm getting the results I'm getting from it. I may just keep it around as a novelty. A memento, as one of the circuits I built back then and never did anything with. I would prefer it to be working though, that's the best outcome, but if I tear it down and replace everything would it be the same circuit? That would be very much a Trigger's broom scenario. Regardless, here we are in 2024! It's time to get a few circuits made, house them all up, and focus on making more music with them. I had a blast recording my first demo in 2022. Hopefully I can make more this year, or in 2025.

Saturday, December 30, 2023

Nostalgia Is a Hell of a Drug Part 7: My Terry Labonte Collection

As a kid I had my pudgy little Vienna sausage fingers in a lot of different hobbies. Obviously my longest lasting hobby is playing guitar, but just like most kids I was heavily into collecting things. Growing up in the 80s and 90s I collected sports cards, action figures, POGs, video games, a few Beanie Babies, Hot Wheels/Matchbox cars, and of course Micro Machines. I had a fairly large collection of 1:18 scale diecast model cars, as well as my normal 1:24/1:25 scale model car kits. I even collected comic books one summer; yeah one whole summer. I guess you could also say flea market hunting was one of my hobbies, but I was too young to be able to do it on any regular basis.

When it comes to my biggest collection, well that has to be my Terry Labonte collection. Growing up in Indiana I was beaten over the head with Indy 500 celebrations, the whole month of May. As an alternative to that, I started liking Nascar. The brightly colored Hendrick #5 caught my eye, and Terry Labonte quickly became the one I watched every Sunday. It wasn't just a Terry Labonte collection, Terry became my favorite Nascar driver of all time. Whether you call him Ice Man, or Iron Man, be sure to call him the 1984 and 1996 Nascar Champion as well.

What started off my Terry Labonte collection was a simple model kit. It was a Monogram Terry Labonte #5 Chevy Lumina. The kit was already yellow, so all I had to do was paint half of it red, and the decals did the rest of the paint scheme. Somewhere along the way I lost the hood, but I still have the body. From there anything I could find with that Hendrick's #5 on it, I collected. From scale diecast cars to almost anything in between. I have a full-size cardboard cutout of Terry. I have a handful of model kits that I've never touched, one of which I think is Terry's 97 Frankenstein car. An unopened pack of yellow pencils with metallic red "5 Terry Labonte" on them. I have a few Terry Labonte action figures, a small scale RC car, a little beanbag Hendrick's #5 Chevy and so much more. Sometimes I had to eat a lot of Kellogg's cereal and send away for stuff, but I've got it! I even have some of his #44 stuff from prior to his retirement. Sadly, I don't have any of his #44 Piedmont, nor his #11 stuff.

My bedroom walls were covered in 1:64 scale Terry Labonte cars still in their packaging, as if they were wallpaper. My shelves were adorned with the larger diecast cars. I even wore Terry Labonte t-shirts proudly, even though I was an alternative kid with long hair and knockoff JNCO style jeans. Remember those? When it came to playing Nascar video games, well I wouldn't use the #5. Nope, I would either use the #4 and pretend I was a team mate, or I would use an actual Hendrick car, mostly #25 when available. I spent so much time learning to bump draft with the AI, pretending I was trying to team up with Terry and finish first and second. The problem being the AI is setup in such a way that you can only bump draft them so much before they veer off wilding and crash. Sorry for all the times I accidentally crashed your virtual counterpart Terry!

For the past few years all my Terry Labonte stuff has been packed away, but I've still got it all. I just currently have nowhere to put it, or display it. Sometimes I'll pull out a box of my Terry Labonte stuff and look through it, for nostalgia's sake. Sometimes I think maybe I should sell it to finance another hobby, but there's just something deeply rooted to these things still. Even though they're not out on display, they still mean a lot to me. To most they're probably just metal, plastic and paint, but to me they're tangible pieces of my youth, and a small pieces of one of Nascar's greatest drivers. I mean, in 1996 he drove with a broken hand! A broken hand! If that doesn't say dedication and talent, I don't know what does.

Wednesday, December 27, 2023

Learning to Love The World's End

When it comes to Nick Frost and Simon Pegg, I'm almost always a fan. Spaced is an absolutely brilliant show, and it's sad it only lasted two seasons. Shaun of the Dead was where it all started for me though. I remember Comedy Central playing it over and over one year, so much so that I ended up getting it on DVD shortly thereafter. Such a great movie! Then came Hot Fuzz, which I wasn't originally sold on, but I learned to love it. I've even gone through and watched Big Train and Man Stroke Woman to see more of their talents when they're apart. The one exception to the Cornetto Trilogy has been The World's End. I love it for having familiar faces, but to me it didn't feel like it fit. Oh yeah, I even liked Paul, even though I find a lot of the American talent to be extremely annoying.

I get that all three films have their own themes, their own settings and their own characters, just with the main actors recurring as the leads, but still The World's End just felt off. What it was, I can't quite explain. Maybe it was the time between the release of the first two and The World's End? I've found myself being petty over smaller things than that, so maybe.

The reality is that our internet company can't figure their shit out, and we keep losing internet. In October our internet was out for three of the four weeks. Since then it's gone out numerous times, for brief periods of time, yet long enough to force me to dig through my digital movie collection for entertainment. In doing so, my go-to movie has become The World's End. Why? Because I don't want to burn out Shaun of the Dead or Hot Fuzz, but also in doing so I've picked up many details about The World's End that make me like it more, dare I say maybe even start to love it.

The brilliant writing of Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright is undeniable. The brilliant acting of Nick Frost and Simon Pegg is just as undeniable. So why did I not click with this movie before? I still honestly have no answer. It's not at all like most trilogies where the first movie is a smash hit, the second is kind of good and the third is a straight to DVD bin at Walmart release, just to earn the trilogy moniker. No, all three movies are great in their own rights. Oops, did I just say all three movies are great? Yeah, I did. It just took our internet company being a massive pile of shit to realize how great The World's End was. And in saying all this, I fully expect another massive outage of internet service. You wait and see!  

On a side note; I remember being at a Best Buy store in 2009, either buying Hot Fuzz or something to do with the Cornetto Trilogy. The man at the cash register asked me if I had heard a third film was coming out. I was shocked to find one of my own out in the wild, so we started talking about how good Shaun of the Dead was, how he preferred Hot Fuzz over Shaun of the Dead, and we even touched upon Spaced. I had read online that the final movie was coming soon, so I told him the final film wound be out the following year. We both rejoiced and said our goodbyes. Whoever you were, if you ever read this, I'm sorry I unintentionally lied to you.

Monday, December 25, 2023

Nostalgic Christmas Nightmare: The Time My Parents Stole My Bike

As a forty-year-old man, I have a lot of things in my life that I need a therapist to work through. One such case is when my parents stole my bike and gave it to another kid in the neighborhood, only to replace mine at Christmas with a shittier bike. At the time I was maybe thirteen or fourteen, and this was no ordinary bike. This was an awesome mountain bike that had, what I called, a lava paint job. The paint was a mixture of black and metallic red bubbles, and looked like a mistake in the factory that ended up working out really well. I loved that bike and it wasn't a bike I was ever going to outgrow, as it was a standard sized mountain bike.

The memory of the day I was accosted and my bike was stolen is burned into my brain. I was sitting on my bike, taking a short break from having been out riding, when my Dad walked up to me, followed closely by the stepdad of the kid who they ended up giving it to. My Dad repeatedly said "Get off the bike.", in a tone as if I had done something wrong. Feeling as if I was being cornered, as well as being a kid, I complied with his repeated demands. I was told that he and Mom decided to give my bike to the kid across the street. So my Dad teamed up with a man he still calls a worthless alcoholic to this day, to corner me and steal my bike to give to the kid across the street. The kid in question is currently serving a 200 plus year sentence in prison. YES! The kid who ended up with my bike is currently in prison for some seriously fucked up shit.

I still hold resentment for this moment, but sadly that bike is long gone now. I didn't have a bike for a few months, until I ended up getting the new one for Christmas. The bike that I ended up getting to replace it was a seriously shitty bike. The colors were grey and green, and it was truly fucking awful. I hated that bike. I often thought about dumping that bike in a creek or selling it off, but then I would be left without a bike again, so I decided a shitty bike is better than no bike at all. I don't think the kid across the street used my old bike that often either, but he claimed to love it, so I knew trying to trick him into trading for my new shitty bike wasn't going to happen. I don't blame the kid who ended up with my bike, at least not for this incident, he didn't have a bike at all. I blame my parents for scheming behind my back and not even asking me. That was one of the shittiest parenting moves in the history of parenting.

Saturday, December 23, 2023

Two for Two!

It was a bit fiddly, but the second December build is officially in the books! A Screaming Tree treble boost that works as well as can be expected. As with every single pedal circuit I build, I can't assure that it's anything like the real thing. I figure if it functions I can find a use for it. If you've been following my blog for a while (thank you) you'll know December 14 and 23 are extremely important days for me. You know who you are, and why they're special. I see you checking in through the views counter. Don't deny it! Anyway, I just wanted these dates to have another special meaning, as I can't celebrate those two dates the way I really want to. Plus, I'm not sure I'll be doing more winter month builds.

However, that leaves February, for which I've got an SHO clone planned. No special date for that one, just whichever comes along and feels right. Sure, I could be cheesy and do it on Valentine's Day, but that's not really necessary. I'll just wait and see which day feels the best to get it done. January 2020 was when I started and while I don't count every single Bazz Fuss I built back then, I do count the first one. I built a handful, so January is fine for builds even if I don't count them all.

In 2024, apart from February, I have a handful of circuits that I plan to build. The updated list is: the SHO for February, a Univox compressor clone, a Way Huge Overrated Special clone, Cornish SS2 and CC1 clones, a Menatone Blue Collar clone, and now a Timmy V1 clone. I've wanted to build a Timmy for a while, but which one and why was always the reason I decided against it. Instead I built a Greer Lightspeed clone, fucking loved it, and now I figure you can't have too much of a good thing. Por que no los dos!?

While testing the Screaming Tree clone I found the test box I've been using has an issue with the power input, and at first the circuit sounded like it was broken, and sputtery. I'm wondering if that's partially why the Em-Drive clone sounded a bit off. I'll have to investigate further in the future. All that really matters is they're done and in the books. So from myself here at Sam's Asylum, take care of yourselves! Enjoy your holiday(s), and I'll keep writing as long as you keep reading.