Finally set up a place to rock.


I finally got a permanent place set up to rock. All my guitars, ukes, amps, pedals, and even an electric kazoo are easy to quickly access and just start rocking when inspiration hits.

AiXeLsyD13's Guitar Room
Axetopia? CBGB’s (Carroll’s Big Guitar Bunker)? The Guitarmory?

I have talked about it, or even blogged about it for years.

It still needs a name. I haven’t officially decided. I have been calling it “the music room” or “the guitar room.” Both of those seem boring. Maybe this? I find it amusing but clunky.

I may make some videos of guitar shenanigans as a creative outlet. Not sure what direction they’ll take. I’m not a particularly good or technical player, but I can demo some gear or do some fun silly stuff. I do already have a YouTube playlist started for my guitar-related videos.

The Postitive Grid Spark amp & app have really made jamming quick and fun… they have a cool in-app video feature, but it’s not much different than recording straight-up with the phone’s camera.

I have been having a blast playing along to stuff on YouTube… from stuff from my old bands, to Black Sabbath, to Snuff, to the Ramones, and my new favorite song to play along to; “Bigger than Kiss” by Teenage Bottlerocket.

More setup inspires more setup. I need a way to store my physical media (mostly CD’s) so it’s easily accessible. I have a lot. Too many probably. I need to build some shelves and the stuff I’m finding online seems painfully expensive and not quite a fit. And I’d like to dump that all on a personal media server. I have a lot of stuff not available on Amazon or Spotify.

The next itch I can already feel will need scratching is some kind of recording setup. I’d like to layer stuff I can hear in my head, without the aid of a looper. I miss the days of a Tascam 4-track with a cassette tape. Maybe I’ll delve into a nice simple digital version of that.

The kids have guitars, ukes, and a keyboard too… and now we almost need drums and a bass or too, right?

At any rate… it’s important to have a creative outlet. Live isn’t conducive to me jamming regularly with a band right now. I only seem to do mazes when the inspiration hits, and I blog pretty randomly. Music is one more option for expression, creativity, and constant learning/exploring. I hope to foster the kids’ musical expression and drive home how important it is to remain creative themselves and appreciative of art in general.

Keep watching the blog, social media, and YouTube if you’re interested in the musical stuff.

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Train your miscreants young.

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Making progress.

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Gonna need more walls.

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👽

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Green LED's! #AllMyAxes

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'MURICA. 🇺🇸🎸🤘 #SparkAmp

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So, I’ll take your suggestions in the comments!

  • What should I officially call the axe-cave?
  • Where can I get cheap media shelves for over 1500 CD’s & other assorted media?
  • What do you want to see in guitar videos?
  • What’s a good cheap recording solution?

Share your space to create in the comments too!

Parenting Tact.


I’m certainly far from a perfect parent, and I realize everyone learns on the go, but I may have found something specific to work on over the weekend.

The wife and I have always said from the time the first one was in the womb that we would strive to answer questions with real answers, no baby talk, and to not unnecessarily dumb things down.  Certainly some situations call for a simplified answer, but we feel no reason to squash an inquisitive nature with short answers.

You may know I can be a little sarcasic and opnionated.  You may know that two-and-a-half year olds are great with absorb > imitate > repeat.

So, it may have not been my best moment when I provided an answer to a perfectly innocent question that was probably tinged a little too heavily with personal opinion and social commentary.

We were sitting in unusually heavy traffic headed into the Liberty tubes when my daughter asked her 493rd question for the car ride; “What’s that… what’s that white thing hanging from that lady’s mouth?” (She’s got a pretty damn good vocabulary for a 2yo if I do say so myself.)

My answer was “That’s a cigarette, she’s white trash.”  Immidately I got the “Eric!” along with an arm smack from the wife.

I did follow it up with an “Oh, that’s not nice.  I’m sorry.  We shouldn’t call people things like that, but cigarettes are bad for you.  Daddy doesn’t like them.  People are silly for smoking, it makes them sick.”

I find it hard to temper my opinions on such things.  Look, smoking is fine if you’re an adult and make your own decisions and are curteous of where you choose to partake.  I just have my own reasons for not being a fan and I never once needed the “don’t smoke” presentations in elementary school or Jr. High health class.

I want both of my kids to eventually make their own informed decisions about things.  I get that it’s part of my deal to help inform them.  They’ll get my opinions over time, no doubt.  I don’t want my opinions to be forced on to them, or so strong that they get a case of “wow, dad’s an asshole.” 

I just need to pace myself.  Temper the quick observation and judgement.  I’m still learning.

So, I need help with my résumé.


I rarely ever blog about or post on social media about work.  My work life is work, and my personal life is personal.  I’ve never felt the need to discuss, vent about, or provide detail about my job.  I’m going to go ahead and break with that for this post.

Unfortunately, the time has come where I need to update my resume.  About a year and a half ago, the company that I was working for was sold, shut down, & liquidated.  A core group of people decided to try to move on & start a company in the same industry, and I was invited to be a part of it.  I was honored to be asked to participate, and glad to be gainfully employed.  Sadly, things didn’t pan out as planned, and the company is also in the process of shutting down.  Basically, I’m no worse off than I was a year ago.

At that time, I had an updated resume, and went on my first job interview in a long time.  I was offered employment elsewhere.  It may have worked, but the pay wasn’t where it needed to be for me to comfortably continue to pay rent and put food on the table.  I went with the group I knew & salary I needed.  I have no regrets, I’m just illustrating that I don’t have much job interview experience, but it has mostly all been positive.

Basically, I’ve been at the same job for 10 or so years.  In 2002, I started at an a/v integration company as the shipping guy.  That company was purchased in 2005 and I was hired by the new company, which closed in 2011.  Then on to the newest one where I was doing all slight variations of the same thing.  I liked my work, it was a nice mix of desk/paperwork & physical warehouse work sometimes, it was always different & challenging.  I have learned many rules, processes, & things about the equipment over the years.  I was able to adapt to many changes, and survived them all (up until now).

I need help with my resume.  I think I first updated this format in 2005, when it looked like I may have needed to search for other employment.  (Luckily, I was able to work temporarily for the new company, proved my merit, and was hired full time.)  In 2012 this format may be stale.  I’m not big on titles.  I call myself a “shipping guy” but I do much more than that.  I have more skills than a simple shipping guy needs.  I hate phrases like “team player”.  I am, but it sounds goofy.  Who reads that & doesn’t roll their eyes?  I’m generally not boastful (other than in jest), but this is one time when you need to be.  There’s a lot riding on a resume.  It gets your foot in the door.

I’m confident in my writing (thanks to this blog), but thrown into a resume it looks braggadocios, fragmented, & boring.  I love bullet points, but breaking things down into them, I feel like I lose cohesion.

I need this to grab someone’s attention, highlight what I can do & what I can offer, and get me a job.

Eric AiXeLsyD with the Batmobile

I have a lot of skills in my utility belt.

What do I want to do?  I’m certainly qualified for shipping, warehousing, and inventory jobs… entry level or supervisory.  Sadly, entry level pay may no longer be acceptable.  I could certainly do something else though.  I’m a quick learner.  I’d love to get paid for this writing / blogging / insanity thing (I mean… show/album/food reviews, photos, humor, goofy letters? I can do a bunch of stuff there).  Unfortunately I don’t have a degree.  Can you get one in shipping?  Certainly 10 years experience in shipping I would have learned anything that I could in 2 or 4 years of school?  I do have some training in graphic design & commercial art, I have experience in drafting (by hand even… does anyone remember that?), some talents that have yet to get me paid like drawing mazes and photography, and I recently completed classes in Microsoft Project… so I could even fill a “Jr. Project Manager” type role where I can learn as I go.  I’m certainly adept with computers, know old school (& also useless) html coding, and can pick things up rather quickly with any kind of program.  I can promote things like my band, the blog, and Food Allergies like mad online.  I think I’d be a good PR person, I just lack formal training or experience.  Maybe it’s time for something different.

So, I need help with my resume.  What works, what doesn’t?  1 page?  2 pages?  If  so, how do I fit it all on one or to pages (I think it kicks into an atrocious 3 now)?  What do I need to express?  Do I need a cheesy cover letter?  Do letters of recommendation help?  References right on the resume, or “provided by request”?  3 Personal/3 professional?  3 total?  Cover letter?  No cover letter?  Cover paragraph?

I’m laying it all out here and asking for your help.  Take a look at this resume and tell me what you think?

Please help me with my resume!

Click to check it out at Google Docs

Please excuse the format, it needs a new look… something anyway, and Google Docs may have messed with it a bit.  Other than that though… I ask you to be honest, brutal, constructive, and hopefully helpful.

Also… know anyone that’s hiring?  Are you hiring?  Point me in the right direction here.  I’m confident in my in-person interviews, and with anyone that already knows me or has worked with me.

Thanks in advance for your help.  I need to start hitting up InDeed, PA Career Link, etc. with my resume.  I know I have a lot of friends, family & readers that can help me out here.  It would be crazy to not use all of the resources at my disposal, right?

Should I make a maze book?


If I published a book of my mazes, would you buy it?  Know anyone who would?  Think there’s a market for it?  I’ve recently been talking to another dude online that drew mazes in the past that are mazes similar to mine (in addition to some other very cool stuff), and who’s going for it through Amazon.  The rationale is even if he only sells one or two a month, it’s still income he didn’t have.  There’s always Kickstarter or Lulu, too.

I know there are some other maze creators out there… and there are maze books.  Is it a big genre?  Are people willing to pay for that kind of stuff any more?

I’d love it if someone could make an app where you can complete one of my mazes with your finger or a stylus on an Android, iPhone, tablet PC, or E-reader.  I don’t know to what end… but it would be fun.  Any interested developers out there?

I’d have to scan, sort, arrange, and of course draw some more… maybe even figure out the solutions… but I think I could get it all put together.

What do you think?

Peculiarly Perplexing Path [Maze]

Peculiarly Perplexing Path

Have any soldering or guitar wiring advice?


I still haven’t done anything with my box of goodies from Guitar Fetish to beat up that New York Pro Strat clone.  It’s not that I’m nervous, I just haven’t had time to sit down & get it done yet.   I’m also still open to any tips/tricks/advice.

I wrote to Joe Gore of the Tone Fiend blog (if it’s not in your reader, it should be) and he gave me a cool link to videos (besides the ones on his killer DIY page)…  Installing Pickups.

I also recently came across these cool blog posts from Guitar WTF (another good follow!):

I did buy one of these from Harbor Freight…

Jumbo Helping Hands with LED Lights (item#65779 )

Think it will help?  Everyone seems to say it will. I might need a sponge too?

I’ve gotten some decent tips from Facebook, SMG, and Misfits Central.  What else do I need to consider as far as pots & capacitors?

How would you connect the dots here?  What pots & capacitors would you use?

How would you wire this?

How would you wire this?

Should I do the 7-sound thing?  What if I want the neck & the bridge both on at once?

Should I replace the pots while I’m in there?  How do I tell if they’re 250k or 500k?

I’m guessing a wiring diagram with my proposed setup doesn’t already exist out there, not even at Stew-Mac.  Looks like these cats will make one for $30, but I think I can do that myself.  (Although a very rough one.)

I need a crash course in guitar wiring, I guess.  Ha ha.

I also might try to setup a work bench/space in the basement so I don’t ruin the dining room table.

What about a push-pull pot with a poor man’s Black Ice circuit?

Should I get a book?

I know I’m over-thinking this.  There’s too many options.  Ha ha.

The itch that wouldn’t die.


Black & White Cat Scratching EarSo last Friday or Saturday, my back started itching.  It wasn’t a bug-bite itch.  It didn’t seem like a dry skin itch.  The closest thing I could equate it to is that feeling when you get a haircut and those stray clippered hairs that they couldn’t blow away with the hair-dryer or brush away with that tickling brush jab at you until you can get home & get a proper shower.  I just assumed it was dry skin, & asked my lovely wife to hook me up with some of the plethora of lotions in the house (ask me about her Bath & Bodyworks addiction some time).  She graciously applied some non-smelly Aveeno & confirmed that there wasn’t a rash or anything.

At least, that’s what we thought.

Cat getting back scratchedThrough the week it didn’t seem to subside.  I used some Benadryl one night to go to sleep, and we switched to Eucerin and then to some weird stinky pink (and ridiculously expensive) Aveeno Oatmeal lotion.  I Googled “itch without rash” to some benign and some alarming results.  It’s never good to search for afflictions online because common symptoms of everything lead to you dying of some unheard of horrible disease.

The itch had spread to my chest eventually, by again we couldn’t see any kind of rash or hives.  My skin was obviously hydrated to the touch thanks to the lotion(s), so dry skin couldn’t be the answer.  I was starting to think it might even be nerves.  It wasn’t constant, it’s just intermittent & weird.

We figured it couldn’t be too horrible as the wife didn’t “catch” anything, so it probably wasn’t some gross fungus or bugs or anything you’d see in a sci-fi movie.

Cat trying to scratch ear through coneI finally broke down & went to Med Express on Saturday.  (I hate missing work for doctor’s appointments, and Med Express was so easy to get in & out.)  The nurse-practitioner there did see a rash under her light… called it “micro-” something “dermatitis”, & the printout they gave me says “contact dermatitis“.  She gave me a steroid to take for 5 days, & said to keep using the Eucerin.  As weird as it sounds I was relieved that it was an actual rash & not all in my head or anything.  She also recommended Claritin instead of Benadryl as it apparently has less knock-you-out type side effects.

I’m still a little itchy occasionally, but I can hopefully see an end in sight.  Hope the Prednisone works!

Cat scratching another cat's back...She said I might be allergic to something, and may have to start some detective work.  If it was laundry detergent or fabric softener, it would most likely be on my thighs too… and it’s not yet.  Plus, we’re on the end of the detergent bottle & fabric softener sheet box… I would have thought it would have affected me by now.  I did try some new generic soap, but it stunk (literally & latherally) … so I stopped using it.  I don’t think that was it.  I don’t have any new shirts that I wore that I can remember.  It’s quite maddening.  I wonder if it was something I ate or a medicine… but I’ve been on my stomach stuff for a while now, & there’s nothing new.

Fat cat can't scratch his itchy ear...Has this happened to any of my other food allergy friends or their family?  I have little to no experience with allergic rashes… other than a minor itch caused by wool… but I generally stay away from wool clothing or blankets… and my (minor) allergies to wool, cats, & dogs for some reason tend to give me sniffles not a rash.  And with shellfish, I guess there’s a rash, but the whole throat-closing thing kind of eclipses that.

Any advice on how to find the culprit?  (Especially if it should return, provided it actually does clear-up.)  Any advice on home remedies or alternate things too sooth an itch that might work better than the Eucerin & Claritin?

Many thanks in advance!

I’m going to need to learn how to solder.


I’ve soldered stuff before, but it’s been a long time, I’m going to need to learn again.  I just got a box full ‘o neat stuff that I’m going to slap on to that New York Pro that I picked up at Hoke·E·Geez.  I have this urge to do as much of it as I can myself.  (I’ll still have it set up when I’m done by Aaron at Lawrence Music.)

Guitar Pimpin'

Guitar Pimpin'

I’m sure I can do it.  I might make a mess, and it might take me longer than someone who actually knows what they’re doing, but I can do it.

GFS | Lil Killer Black Humbucker Rail Pickup for Strats

GFS | Lil Killer Black Humbucker Rail Pickup for Strats

I went with a goofy pickup configuration, because I have the luxury of not knowing what I’m doing & no one to tell me “that’s not the way you do that”.

GFS | Pro-Tube Lipstick Tube Pickup- GLOSS BLACK

GFS | Pro-Tube Lipstick Tube Pickup - GLOSS BLACK

I got 2 Lil Killer humbucker rail pickups, one 15K for the neck, & one 10K for the middle.  I have no idea what the K means.  I got a Pro-Tube lipstick tube pickup for the neck position, because I thought it looked neat… and because I never use the neck position, so I thought this might be neat to try out.  I opted for the 6K version, because that’s what the pickup in the calibrated rail set comes as…  even though the GFS page suggests you use the 4.9K one at the neck position.  Will it make that big of a difference?

Galaxy Guitars | New York Pro | Star Gazer

It's gonna look (& sound) a little different by the time I'm done with it.

So, I have these pickups, & the 5-way switch that came with the guitar.  What kind of wiring do you suggest I do?  Do I need to worry about shielding tape or paint?  Do I need flux, or no flux?  Can anyone show me a diagram for a normal setup?  What about something “hot-rodded” using these components?

I have a soldering iron and some solder.  I might get one of those soldering stands with the alligator clips.

Any tips, tricks, or advice?

Separate is indeed not equal! Food allergies & bullying. |-o-|


I haven’t blogged about food allergies lately, so it’s time.  Luckily the other day, a great post popped up in Google Reader, with a striking headline:  We Have Come Too Far To Forget, Separate Is Not Equal

I happen to consider the author Thanita a Twitter friend, and a proud member of the #FoodAllergyMomArmy.  It’s got a great message.  Obviously the first thing it brings to mind is racism, but it can now be applied to any group facing discrimination.

As I’ve said before… I’d like to see any changes brought forth from a consumer side of view, not a legislative one.  When we’re dealing with schools, parents really need to get involved and not just the parents of the food-allergic children.  Legislation in this area may be the best answer as far as schools are concerned.  After all, it’s a gub’ment institution, right?  (Things like the School Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act are extremely important to protect food-allergic kids, as well as any that may have reactions to thinks like latex or bee stings.  Pennsylvania now seems like it’s on top of things.)

All in all, some earnest thinking about the whole thing will bring forth a hopefully easy decision:

When other parents tell the family of the anaphylactic child to just “home-school, it’s safer, we’re looking out for your best interest”, it’s a joke. Separate Is Not Equal.

When a child is forced to peer over a sea of smiling, laughing, socializing children, all the while sitting on a separate table alone, “for his/her safety”, it’s Separate and Not Equal.

We have to ask ourselves, how far have WE come since the 1950’s? Would we be doing this to a child with autism? To a child in a wheelchair? To a child with dark skin? If the answer is never, then do not do it to a child with an anaphylactic disability.

Think about that.  There’s a lot of buzz about bullying lately, & it certainly falls on food-allergic kids.  For an example, read this awesome article by another #FoodAllergyMomArmy member and cool Twitter friend Libby about bullying: Bullies, Food Allergies and The Force

This is heavy:

By the way, just one mistake can be fatal. Have I mentioned the shocking levels of stress in parents of children with food allergies?

So this morning I dressed my son in one of his Star Wars t-shirts and talked to him about Katie and how it’s ok to be different and not ok to tease or bully someone else. I packed an allergen free lunch, gave him hugs and kisses, told him I loved him and sent him off to school with a prayer that he would come home safely, something I never take for granted.

To the kids with food allergies and their parents, may the force be with you. You’re going to need it.

One mistake can be fatal.  Let’s all help make sure it doesn’t come to that.  These food allergy moms & dads (& brothers & sisters, etc.) are badass, I tell you.  It takes courage to muster up the confidence to put together a safe plan for your kid(s), and to be strong for them when you probably just want to break down & cry about it yourself sometimes.

Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network

Prevent Bullying

It’s up to all of you reading to inform schools, restaurants, and everyone that you’re not going to exclude yourself or your kids from society or live in fear from your food allergy.  It’s up to you to be ever-vigilant and cautious, but it’s all so up to you to not back down or let your kids be ostracized for being different.

Now, where can I get an Epi-pen case that looks like a lightsaber?

Lightsaber

The #FoodAllergyMomArmy


So, if you follow me on twitter, you may have seen me use an odd hashtag; #FoodAllergyMomArmy

“What’s a Food Allergy Mom Army“, you ask?  It’s what happens when you ask your twitter friends about air travel and Epi Pens.  I was served with an onslaught of what would later become known as nagtweets, demanding that I get a 2nd Epi Pen, and that I carry it on the plane, not in my luggage.  Most all of my replies were from moms of kids with food allergies, some with food allergies themselves.  Even though I bet we’re around the same age, I had an instant army of adopted moms looking out for my well-being.

I’ve received advice  & support on food allergies from other sources on the web, but they’ve increased exponentially since I’ve joined Twitter.  Now, I use twitter to keep in contact with other friends, and to follow fun stuff like music, Star Wars, Fringe, & local Pittsburgh stuff… but it’s definitely my go-to resource for Food Allergy support.  That’s support on many levels… whether it’s information, advice, or sympathy.

So, if you’re on Twitter, and you have food allergies, check out my allergies list, and the #FoodallergyMomArmy will eventually make themselves known.   (Maybe the’ll even comment here.)

Pick two.


The thought for the day comes from a guy I knew named Chuck.  Chuck was always full of wit & wisdom.  He said often said something to the effect of…

You can have it done right.  You can have it done quick.  You can have it done cheap.  Pick two.