Saturday, January 5, 2008

Possibly my last post

on this blog.

I took some time to check out Wordpress at the prompting of Vince (albeit several months ago). I was a little frustrated with the limitations of blogspot, but the biggest thing to me is that now people can post comments without having a google account.

So all of you that have just been dying to post ultra insightful and intelligent comments, or just wanted to say hello, head on over and do so now!

Thursday, January 3, 2008


No, not the bicycle kind. The guitar kind....

I am the kind of person that loves building or improving things. I can almost never leave my cars alone, and prepping our race car is always fun. I have also built a high efficiency bass cabinet to go with my puny David Eden head as well as a sub to augment it.

So needless to say as I continue into the electric guitar realm I had to build my own pedal. I guess the word build may be a little stong here. Assemble is probably a better choice. I bought a kit from and started assembly yesterday.

The kit I got was the Marshall blues breaker. I chose it because I wanted a simple circuit to start with and I can always use another overdrive tone. It is a reproduction of the original pedal plus the added benefit of true bypass switching. The kit comes with everything you need except tools. The schematics and layout are on the web. I actually soldered everything up, put it together and it worked on the first try! I was not expecting that.

One of these days I'll pull it back apart and paint the enclosure, but before that I am already planning a few little modifications for it. The cool thing about researching and assembling the pedal yourself is that in the process you learn a little bit about what is really going on in that circuit. So if you hear something you don't like you can work at fixing that instead of just heading for a new pedal.

I'm sure this won't be my last pedal, it was a blast! My goal is to work on more and more difficult pedals and ultimately build my own small tube amp. So if anyone is up for having a pedal built, let me know. I'll work for chinese sweat shop wages....

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Jan 1, 2008 - 6:30 am......

With anticipation I pull up to my Dad's house. It was cold this AM. I had made sure and put on my long underwear, beanie, sweatshirt, etc. He was already waiting so we hopped in his Jeep and headed out. What would the day hold? Would we find what we were looking for? This journey may be a prediction of our general successes for the rest of the year.

We were pretty sure we know where we were going, but we had not been there in almost a year. So as we turned off the freeway and made a couple of turns we began scanning the horizon for our destination.

The sun was till low in the sky so we had to squint to see as we drove along. My Dad spotted it first, "Turn in there!"

Following his direction I ended up in a parking lot with very few cars..... We had beat the crowd. A big plus for us. We got out of the jeep into the crisp cold of the morning. The back hatch was lifted and we pulled out our gear. Everything got locked up and we headed for the main gate.

We signed in, got our hands stamped and proceeded through the turnstyle.

Here is were the real journey began. Hundreds if not thousands of cars in front of us waiting to be the donor of some needed and necessary part..... Yes we were at the Junkyard....

If you are a gearhead, keep reading. If you are not....

We came to find a big part for his jeep. Now skip to the end....... :-)

The goal for the day was to find a rear axle for his Jeep. Not just any old axle, and actually not even a jeep axle, but a ford 8.8 out of a 95 or newer ford explorer. And today was not any old day at the junkyard either. Today was 1/2 off day!

Rear axles in most Jeep cherokees are usually a dana 35 or a chrystler 8.25. Neither of these axle are very strong and even if upgraded have flaws that cannot be worked around. When building a 4x4 capable vehicle with bigger tires you need axle strength, both in the axles themselves as well as the ring and pinion and the housing. The ford 8.8 out of a newer explorer provides much bigger axles (31 spline) a bigger ring gear and a much more stout housing.

Along with these advantages it has the same bolt pattern for the wheels, it is the right width for the cherokee and comes with disk brakes instead of drums.

We did not go up unprepared. We had sent a scout ahead of time to see if we had a chance to find one of these elusive beasts..... (actually we just knew a guy that had gone up a couple of days before and asked him to look for us). We thought our chances were good. He had seen at least 2 of the newer explorers with the rear ends in tact.

The yard is organized by section so all our look would be confined to a smaller area than the whole yard. On our initial scan we found at least 5 or so potential cars. We checked for completeness and then picked the one with the lowest mileage.

With tools in hand we began the extraction process. In no time at all we had everything loose and it was ready to pull out. We made sure that we had all the little accessory bolts, brake lines, calipers etc and then hauled it out to the road about 30 feet away. This junkyard has a big forklift that drives around and pickes stuff up for you. So he came by and picked up the axle to take up to the front for us.

Once it was paid for, we put it in the back of the jeep and headed for home. Now there is still quite a bit of fab work to do to get it ready for the jeep, but it well definitely provide a good building block for his jeep build up.

I know we may be the black sheep, but for this part of the Lumsden clan, it was a great start to the new year.

And for those of you who read this whole commentary and are sitting there thinking, "I can't beleive I just read this whole thing about going to a stupid junkyard." well.... hahahaha :-)

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Personality Test - ENTJ

I went and took this test after seeing vince and alex's sites. I am a fan of taking these kinds of tests. While they usually do not tell you anything new, they will give you some insight on areas that you are weak, or could cause potential problems. Also, just fun to look at....

ENTJs are strategic, organized and possess natural leadership qualities. They are master coordinators that can effectively give direction to groups. They are able to understand complicated organizational situations and quick to develop intelligent solutions. ENTJs are outspoken and will not hesitate to speak of their plans for improvement. They are decisive and value knowledge, efficiency and competence.

Click to view my Personality Profile page

Other Famous ENTJ's -

Beatrix Kiddo (The Bride) - Kill Bill Vol.1 - maybe this is why I liked this movie and could never explain why?

Franklin D. Roosevelt - American President

Harrison Ford - actor (Indiana Jones)

Monday, December 17, 2007

4 generations at home for christmas

This chrismas I have 4 generations at my house... of Shoes. While not the most important post, it will give you a little look into the systematic, oddball, slightly obsessive person that Traci has to put up with...

Its become an annual ritual for me to get a traditional pair of black vans shoes each year for my birthday or christmas. When I find a good thing, I stick with it.

This year I have 4 pairs at my house, each with a purpose. I may have had more but my wife decided that my last pair needed to die with dignity and she did the honors..... No need to worry though, I know they originated from the evils of skateboarding, but I converted them before their demise.... so they are in shoe heaven.

#1 - The oldest pair - well broken in, have seen everything from desert sands to snow. Been doused in water, oil, peed on by someone's dog while I was at the dog park (yes the shoe was on my foot), and who knows what else. These are in retirement mode now. they are relegated to mowing the lawn, slipping on to run out and get the mail, or to be the sacrifice if I am going to be doing something godawful greasy, muddy, or dirty.

#2 - 2nd to oldest pair - these are probably the most comfortable. The rubber and material has been sufficiently worn so that it is soft and formed to my foot. These shoes see the most use. Any time I can get away with wearing this pair I will. They are a little faded, with a few spots, but can still slip by most people's 'ugly shoe' radar.

#3 - Next to newest pair - This pair has been my standard good shoe for the last year. They are just starting to show some wear and at the same time just starting to get comfortable like the above pair. These are my go to church, go out to eat, wear with my good clothes shoes. But soon they will move 'up' a category as my newest pair have arrived.

#4 - The newest pair - have not been worn yet. Good for weddings and funerals. Well maybe thats an exaggeration. They will appear with the good clothes and when I know there will not be dirt around.

Still here? Scared? Just pray for Traci!

Monday, November 26, 2007

The pedalboard

I just thought I would share my most recent little project. Now that I am becoming an 'official' electric guitar player I have a few pedals that I run in front of my amp. At this point I only have 3, but it is still cumbersome to transport them in my backpack without getting all scratched up.

I decided it was time to make a pedalboard. For those of you who are not familiar with guitar pedalboards, they are just mechanisms to keep guitar pedals secure and organized.

Traci and I were out on a saturday morning hitting the yard sales and I found an older suitcase that I thought would be a cool platform to build from. I brought it home and realized that for my whopping 3 pedals, it was just too big right now.

I was talking to my mom and dad about the project and they said they had an old suitcase I could use. Turns out it was my great grandma Marie's. I would guess it is from the 50's. This was a much smaller suitcase and would work great for my project.

I set up the suitcase, now guitar pedal board, so that the lid is the bottom. I built a platform to raise the pedals up above the edge of the lid and covered it in carpet. I use velcro on the bottom of my pedals to hold them in place on the carpet.

In the other half of the suitcase I knew I was going to have a little extra room so I built a hinged door with a gate latch that I can open and close. This provides a great place to store cords, music, etc. I then attached foam to the door so that when the two pieces are together, the foam gently holds the pedal down on the carpet.

On the outside I had to cut and remove the pins that hinged the two pieces together. I then added two more latches to that side that are similar to the originals. With judicious use of the wire wheel along with brown and black spray paint I was able to get a pretty good vintage/rusty look to match the other hardware on the case. (In this picture it is actually upside down, feet sticking up.)

So now I have a good pedal board that will allow for a little bit of expansion (maybe 3 or so more pedals with the right wiring) and is different than anyone elses.....

Friday, November 2, 2007


I'm just pusing this info along. I think it's great. It's been tossed around in different forms at the blogs of my buddies.

I love turning traditional ideas on their head.... when it makes sense.

The second most important christian holiday
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