Monday, April 29, 2024

Taking a Break

There comes a time in everyone's life when they must prioritize things. As I've been to the ER twice this month, that time comes now. I've stopped building circuits and focused on my health, maybe a bit too much so. Since I'm not doing anything noteworthy, I figured I would take a break. Hopefully things will resume here shortly, but that depends on how things go. I would like to thank the readers who have stuck with me, or even those of you who have just recently come along. Thank you.

Now, on a very much more personal note:

Paola, if you're reading this, please reconsider. My arms have always been open, and I need you now more than ever. Just think about it.

Monday, April 15, 2024

The Plimsoul Clone

The builds of 2024 continue and the Plimsoul is the latest to be completed. Essentially, in the off season, I was searching for any circuit that could even loosely be associated to the word "blues". I've become more of a blues player as I've gotten older, and lets face it, since my body and fingers don't work the way they used to. I do find blues connects with me though, and I greatly enjoy playing blues guitar, so I figured I wanted as many guitar pedals as possible to give me multiple options for blues tones. One circuit that had been on my radar for a while was indeed the Plimsoul, but I felt it was a bit more distortion than bluesy, but tagboard effects description has the word bluesy in it twice, so that's all it took to convince me it was worth a try.

As far as the build, well, it was going fine until I remembered that it was suggested in the comments of the layout to substitute one of the three A100k pots for an A10k. I decided to go with a C10k as it was the only 10k I had on hand, which works just fine. Luckily it was an easy situation to rectify, once I found out which pot it was. It's the sustain pot by the way. I was a bit anxious about wiring the dual pot for stage two control, because I'm always anxious about wiring dual pots, but that turned out just fine. Once it was all soldered up it was time to test it.

At first the circuit didn't work properly. All I got was a stuttering sound when I played the notes on my guitar. My first tactic is always knifing the gaps, so I took my xacto knife and slit between the rows and tested it again. That did the trick, and the circuit came to life. After testing it a little bit more this circuit did surprised me as it's one that offers quite a bit of flexibility. Is it bluesy? It can be. It can also be a boost, or an overdrive all the way to a distortion. I enjoyed this circuit more than I thought I would, even though I've not really played around with it too much. I pretty much tested how much drive it offers, then engaged stage 2 and left it full tilt as a distortion. Now that the Plimsoul is done what the next build will be is up in the air, but whatever it is will be the 90th build.

Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Now the Timmy Post!

My Timmy clone was born the same day as the revitalization in my life, but that's the other post. This is all about the Timmy! I was excited to build this circuit because I had heard so many good things about it. So I put everything together and on a nice Tuesday I built it. It was a super simple build. The issue however is I can't find any 4559s, so I used a 4580 instead. I'm still debating whether it sounds anything at all like a Timmy. It's not a bad circuit, and it had plenty of options for tonality, but whether it sounds like a Timmy is still up for debate.

I'm really digging transparent overdrives and that's one of a million reasons why I wanted to build a Timmy clone. I chose the V1, which suits me as well as any other, so I'm not too concerned with what makes them all a little bit different. This is the one I built; this is the one I own, and will use. I'm still uncertain what the internal dip switches do, but it's something I'll learn about over time. There's really not much more to say.

Other than the Timmy being the 88th total build, and the fact I still have 7 more confirmed builds and a few sitting on the outer cusp of consideration I might get to the goal of 100 builds before I know it. The Plimsoul, Menatone Blue Collar, a Klon Buffer, another Naga Viper clone, two Cornish clones and an EQD Zoar are all on their way, bringing the total up to 96 once these are done. I do plan a Diaz Texas Ranger clone, as well as another Texas inspired clone both of which bring the total up to 98. The two final circuits will really need to be something important, and believe me, I bet they will be. I just don't know what they will be yet.

I Didn’t Have Ambulance Ride to the ER on My 2024 Bingo Card, Until I Did!

As some of you may know I suffer from anxiety. It's a disorder that sometimes can not be properly looked after. This year started out with some really bad symptoms to the point I filed to get medical insurance and once I did the real mental fuckery started. Symptoms started to appear that were very concerning, and knowing now I could take care of them made it impossible for me to ignore. However, covid locked me in this mental box that anxiety took control of and made it seem if I left the property I would immediately die in the worst possible way. How does one combat this? Internally, mentally, and eventually they feel like they're drowning with no way of reaching help.

So I decided to try and shake off the horrible way I woke up this morning and build the Timmy clone circuit, which went really well. Once it all was soldered up I brought it inside to test and immediately my skin began to crawl, my body was trembling and my internal alarms were on full alert. But I can't leave the property! I'll die! If I don't take care of whatever is setting off this anxiety, I'll die! Damned if I do, damned if I don't. The option was literally taken out of my control when, suddenly and without warning I simply stopped breathing. I've had anxiety and panic attacks, but this was a completely different beast. This sucked the oxygen right out of me and left me feeling the cold fingers of the Reaper upon my arms, directing me away.

911 was called, and after a brief sit outside the team came over and started taking my vitals. Obviously in a panic things weren't perfect, but things weren't alarming, or so they didn't let on anything was alarming. I was then transferred to the ambulance and awaited the horrible death anxiety had promised should I try to leave the property. As you may be guessing, because I'm writing this entry, it was all bupkis! I was loaded into the ambulance, the vitals guy kept an eye on everything and we talked the whole ride about my life, my anxiety, my hobbies, and even my lost love from Mexico. What stays with me though is how he kept looking at the EKG and saying I have a beautiful EKG, and it slowly got better as we rolled along the way to the ER.

I felt far more calm than I thought I would throughout the whole process, which was surprising, but a welcome change from what anxiety said I should feel. Transitioning from Ambulance to ER was immediate and everyone was there to greet me. My vitals were constantly checked, blood was drawn and everything was underway. I was even given some kind of drug, whose name I already forget, that quieted all the intrusive thoughts in my head. Although my numbers aren't 100% perfect, at least now I know what I need to work on with my PCP.

Listen, if you're having chest pains and shortness of breath, don't simply chalk it up to anxiety, unless you've been to the Dr or ER and you've been cleared time and time again. This isn't anything to mess with, and although mine turned out to strictly be inside my head, for someone else it might not. Do yourself a service and burst through that mental block like I did and give yourself much more life to live. Believe me it's worth living!

Saturday, April 6, 2024

The Crap Fuzz [Re]Build

Back on New Year's Day I tried to get an old Bazz Fuss circuit going again, and failed. I figured this was a fairly decent Saturday so I took the time to try again, and still failed. The board was coated with solder, and there was really no way for me to clean off enough solder to prevent bridging, so I decided the next best thing was to scrap the old board and use a new one. It took literal seconds to cut the board, cut the traces and solder everything up. Once all was said and done, it now works! Horribly! I mean, it's horrible.

I strictly stuck with using the parts I had in the original, so instead of a 2N3904 I used a BC546, with pinout adjusted, so it's not biased correctly. It's fuzzy, it's gnarly, but it's really not anything useful unless it's full blast. The circuit works and that's really all I was after. I just wanted to resurrect a very old circuit that I built many years ago, but never gave any real notation to. Now this little circuit, as horrible as it truly is, has a birthday (or more a rebirthday I guess), and it's written in my build log. This brings my total circuits built to 87 officially noted circuits. Remember, that's both pedals and a few amps, but 87 total nonetheless.

The problem now is I still have 8 builds planned for the year, bringing me to a total of 95, once those are completed. As I stated in my last entry, about building, I need that nicely rounded, even 100 total. I don't want to build a bunch of Bazz Fuss circuits, or buffers, or other simple builds just to pad it out. I want circuits that truly mean something to my building history. I'm not sure what I'll do, but I'll do my best to come up with something.

Fallout 3: Heading Back Into the Wastelands

Of all the Fallout games I've played, Fallout 3 is my favorite. That's not to say Fallout 4 or 76 aren't good games, it's just I've not been able to play them, yet. Last year a dear friend actually purchased Fallout 76 for me, but thanks to Bethesda's "What Bug?" policy, it locked me out of playing the game indefinitely. I've not been able to catch Fallout 4 on sale, so I think that's the only Fallout game I don't actually own. Throughout the past few years all off the others, with the exception of 4 and 76, have been given away by Epic Games, which is nice of them. This has given me a chance to reconnect with Fallout 3, which I originally played on the PS3.

Last year I tried a failed attempt at finally getting into Elder Scrolls Oblivion. I generally like Bethesda's open world games, but Oblivion just didn't play that well, and Morrowind's "Whoops, you didn't hit them this time, try again!", even though I smashed them in the face with my weapon, policy completely turned me off. These are all simply me problems, but Fallout 3 feels like a pretty decent game with its own bugs, but it's rare that I encounter them. The slow grind of getting started, getting established and finally getting things done was a bit of a hassle, but once I was there I started to have a pretty good time, again.

Now, here is the real meat and potatoes of this entry. When I was a child my class went to on a field trip to the Indianapolis Children's Museum. There were a lot of fun things to see and explore and learn, but one thing haunts me to this day. The fucking Woolly Mammoth! They have a life size Woolly Mammoth inside the museum, and when I went it was in a dimly lit corner. Imagine young me walking into a new room, filled with wonderment and happiness, only to be stopped in my tracks instantly when faced with a gigantic Woolly Mammoth recreation. It ruined the rest of my field trip, and like I said still haunts me to this day.

Those of you who have played Fallout 3 have already put the puzzle together and are probably laughing to themselves, while others are still wondering what I'm talking about. In Fallout 3 there is the Museum of History, and everything is fine as you enter through the lobby. Things change as soon as you move past the lobby and into the first display room where the skeletal remains of a T-Rex have come crashing to the floor, but on the other side of the room is a full size, upright Woolly Mammoth! Even in video game form it freaks me the hell out! Instantly I recall the feeling of my younger self and try to face my fear, but it still freaks me the hell out and I just leave the room.

Aside from past trauma, I can finally visit the Lincoln Memorial. This one doesn't freak me out because it's not like a 30 foot tall Abe Lincoln is going to try and make me his lunch! Well, a stuffed Woolly Mammoth wouldn't either, but I'm pretty sure my DNA is still at least 50% Neanderthal, so it makes sense to me. For some reason in my first playthrough I didn't get to this part of D.C. and I don't remember why. I explored a great deal of the wasteland, but for some reason never reached this part. Now that I'm established, roaming the wastelands freely and enjoying my time there, I think I'll go off and do some DLC stuff to mix it up. Fallout 3 is a great game, and I appreciate that Epic Games has given it away, at least a few different times, so that I could get back out there and relive the experience I enjoyed so much the first time around.