Loop Switch Pedal Build, Phase 2

Loop Switch Pedal Build, Phase 2

So I actually finished this project, for which I documented Phase 1 a few months ago. Good news is that I was able to finish the project in one evening (preparing and affixing the waterslide decal) and an afternoon of soldering. It turned out pretty great. Yeah, the decal dried sort of wonky, but it was my first try. I’ll take it. The pedal has performed just as I hoped, too. The only issue I’ve had was the right LED flickering randomly. Upon opening the pedal up and inspecting, I realized the nut on the bottom that was holding the LED in place had come loose and was shorting it out. Easy fix, right? Not so much. At least not when one breaks the LED-to-resistor connection while trying to tighten the nut. Le sigh. So I res0ldered it, successfully...

New Project: Loop Switch Pedal Build, Phase 1

New Project: Loop Switch Pedal Build, Phase 1

So while the Bianchi project is on hiatus while I wait for the frame to be re-painted (long, crow-eating post to follow with more details on that one), I’ve been immersing myself in music again. When I found myself with some Christmas money burning a hole in my pocket recently, I decided to spend it on something that would also allow me to learn a little something about electronics. After really thinking about what I wanted out of my pedalboard—and studying the pedalboard of The Joy Formidable‘s guitarist, Ritzy Bryan), I realized the key to being able to switch on and off an entire bank of pedals at once is a loop switcher. What is a loop switcher, you ask? It’s a pedal that simply has one or more effects loops built into it. The guitar...

This is the stuff that keeps me going.

Superchunk played on Fallon tonight. I had a big, stupid grin on my face the entire time. Totally can’t wait for their Portland show now. Here’s a track they didn’t broadcast, Precision Auto....

Introducing: Frankenbike. My (not so) new Surly Cross Check build

Introducing: Frankenbike. My (not so) new Surly Cross Check build

For those of you who have been playing along (which I’m thinking is less than 1), you may remember that I was working on building up a Surly Cross Check frame during the late Summer. I thought that I had posted some completed bike photos, however, as I looked through my articles today, I now see I somehow neglected to do so. So what’s a guy to do? I’ll tell you. No, really. Today I pulled the bike outside during a dry spell and snapped some photos (see below). First thing you’ll notice is the bar tape. It’s orange (copper, actually) and shiny. If you’re like me, shiny things distract you easily. This makes riding the bike a challenge. Next thing you might notice, if you know anything about bikes, is that this bike is running a...

Bianchi Update: Preparing to soak the frame

Bianchi Update: Preparing to soak the frame

I admit it, I’ve been feeling guilty. That poor, poor Bianchi has been hanging in the garage, neglected in favor of my Surly Cross Check, which has been bringing me much enjoyment. That’s going to change this weekend, however, as I’ve finally got a day with no other major commitments, which means it’s time to soak the frame in an oxalic acid solution. Oxalic acid is essentially deck cleaner. One can purchase it off the shelf at their local paint store. The solution is a fairly diluted one of oxalic acid and water. From what I’ve read, I can expect it to soak for a day or two, with some scrubbing at the rusty spots here and there. Once it’s done soaking (i.e., rust is gone), I’ll drop in a box of baking soda to neutralize...

Jawbox reunited, even if temporary, is better than 90% of modern music

Tonight, one of my all-time favorite bands reunited for a one-off performance on the Jimmy Fallon show. Not only did this performance allow me to forget I was wide awake at 2 in the morning with an antagonizing cold, but it reminded me of what music used to be like. Back in the old days. There. I said it: back in the old days. I suppose this makes me an official old dude, but truth be told, seeing Jawbox live at La Luna in Portland some 12 years ago still remains one of the top five live shows I’ve ever seen. Seeing them on Fallon tonight simply reminded me of just how amazing a live band can be when it has a unique energy, purpose and passion. Jawbox had all three in spades. I’d by lying if I said that this doesn’t make me want to start a band...

Cross Crusade #7 and SSCXWC: A new cross racer is born

Cross Crusade #7 and SSCXWC: A new cross racer is born

Somehow, and I’m not quite sure how, my eight-year-old son, Dylan, decided he wanted to ride in a Kiddie Kross race. I tried not to pressure him, just suggested it. Really. I made sure he was aware of the risks, the trials and tribulations of cross racing, the veritable behemoth of obstacles that lie ahead of him. He still wanted to ride. Then, I pulled out the big guns. I told him to do it for him, not for me. I told him I wouldn’t be disappointed if he decided not to ride. He still wanted to. I’d be lying if I told you there wasn’t a small tear of pride forming in my left eye, so I won’t pretend that there wasn’t. At any rate, last Sunday we got his bike ready, dressed him up in some bike/rain/mud friendly attire and ventured...