Tag Archives: D.I.Y.

Reflective Retrospective Recollective


AiXeLsyD 🎸 Gasoline Dion 🎸 Ernie and the BertsSo, recently turning 40 has me reflecting on life in general (which is pretty damn great) & on my accomplishments as a “musician” even though I’m not actively gigging right now.

I’m pretty self-deprecating of my musical talents, but I am proud of the major part of the aural art that I helped create.  I compiled and uploaded a few of my favorites after using Audacity to clip out some silence and mp3Gain to try to get all the volume levels somewhat similar.

If you’ll indulge me I’d like to give my thoughts & memories on each of these songs that I was proud to be a part of with AiXeLsyD, Gasoline Dion, & Ernie and the Berts.  If I have any of the stories, names, etc. wrong, please correct me in the comments.  Being that these are punk rock(ish) bands, you may find the content explicit and/or objectionable.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

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  1. Gasoline Dion – “Shameless Plug”

    [SoundCloud/YouTube] | Tommy came up with this cool shuffling progression and I played a super easy solo over it.  I believe we kept the first take of the solo even though at the time I thought I could do better.  It’s not perfect, but it’s fun.  It was cool to open shows with this then rip into something completely different. It was called “Tommy’s Jam” until an inside joke on a local message board inspired the new name.

  2. AiXeLsyD – “Wait”

    [SoundCloud/YouTube] | Probably the first song that I wrote that I liked, and probably the first original that we worked on in the band.  We dug on this & recorded it a million times.  It morphed a bit, but was basically the same simple jam.  Ben doubling the vocals an octave lower and the guitar part at the end really fills it out.

  3. Gasoline Dion – “Pickle Farm”

    [SoundCloud/YouTube] | Tommy had recorded this song solo, and it contributed to the itch that I needed to scratch when we formed Gasoline Dion.  I really liked the melody.  I think he stole the lyrics from Space Ghost or Brak.  This song to me is about not being a square peg that’s forced into a round hole.  I liked singing background vocals & playing guitar.

  4. Ernie and the Berts – “Toybox”

    [SoundCloud/YouTube] | Erin wanted to start a band to play rocked-out Willy Wonka covers.  That never happened.  This did.  It was the first original that stuck, and an early recording became the soundtrack to a friend’s video project.  Dave learned to play drums in/for this band.  This is a nice simple driving groove and is the perfect vehicle for the introduction of Erin’s gnarly gravelly voice.

  5. AiXeLsyD – “Hopeless & Heartless”

    [SoundCloud/YouTube] | I wrote this on the outside of seeing someone with a broken heart.  I thought it was pretty catchy.  The “whoa-oh’s” are overkill but oddly necessary in my humble opinion. I think An-Die, Ben, & I are all singing on multiple tracks here.

  6. Gasoline Dion – “Cold”

    [SoundCloud/YouTube] | This riff was a leftover AiXeLsyD riff that almost became part of two songs but never really went anywhere.  Mike had some leftover Who’s.Keeping.Score? lyrics that Dave & I re-arranged.  Dave & I work really well on arranging musical parts & lyrics. I really really dig Tommy & I singing together on this one.

  7. Ernie and the Berts – “Fred Rogers”

    [SoundCloud/YouTube] | Erin supposed that a local hero may not really be a hero on this one.  Maybe he read that weird urban legend.  I really like the guitar part here, although it’s missing some kind of effect in my head.  Wah?  Phaser?  Not sure.  Erin let me just go goofy with background vocals here.  I felt like Danzig or that Not-Danzig guy in the Cult.  I love how this song builds into chaos.

  8. AiXeLsyD – “Stand Up”

    [SoundCloud/YouTube] | This is where it all pulled together, and it was the last proper thing we recorded.  Ha ha. An-Die wrote the riff & lyrics, I arranged them.  Ben came up with the guitar noodling& octaves riff. I think I came up with the stupid  guitar part for the verse. I really dig my guitar solo here,even though I went too long.  (Oddly, this sounds a lot like “Anything, Anything (I’ll Give You)” by Dramarama as played by Buckcherry.)

  9. Gasoline Dion – “Political Songs (With Deep Meaning)”

    [SoundCloud/YouTube] | I was listening to a lot of the Unseen, I think.  I don’t really write political stuff that often.  This was taking the piss out of that genre.  Dave sounded better on it with vocals.  I scream “feet” in the background and give the creepy laugh at the end.  We lost the original lyrics, so Dave used what he remembered and made the rest up on the fly.  I don’t really think any one ever tried to intemperate a deeper meaning. If they did, they didn’t tell us.

  10. Ernie and the Berts – “Don’t Fuck With Ernie”

    [SoundCloud/YouTube] | It was hard to tell if Erin was serious or joking a lot of the time. He had a deadpan delivery, and it was hilarious. To deliver this ridiculousness so seriously is hilarious to me.  I think I sort of came up with this riff over top of his bass line.

  11. AiXeLsyD – “Dave Ugly’s Girlfriend”

    [SoundCloud/YouTube] | It’s “Dave Ugly’s Girlfriend”, not “Dave’s Ugly Girlfriend.”  People always seemed to get that wrong.  Dave Ugly played bass & sang for one of our favorite local bands, Useless Torment.  I don’t tell the story as well as An-Die, but Dave was apparently saying he loved him, and An-Die was playing the “even if…” game, and arrived at this.  I remember being “mad” when Sum 41 came out as a punk band rapping.  I think Boner played guitar on this one and Ben played Drums?

  12. Gasoline Dion – “Bitch Pants Opera”

    [SoundCloud/YouTube] | I don’t know if we could do this one today.  People seem so easily offended.  It’s just a joke.  We don’t really care if you wear girl pants.  We’re not insinuating or implying anything.  We look ridiculous too.  Another Dave vocals song, I am screaming the high parts.  All of us are in the beginning. I think the breakdown was inspired by hardcore /screamo kids in skinny jeans doing the windmill and Peelander-Z’s “S.T.E.A.K.”

  13. Ernie and the Berts – “Ikea”

    [SoundCloud/YouTube] | Dave suggested I try a little more dynamics with space and clean.  Dave is usually right.  You can do a lot with the same 3 chords over & over. This was a slice of Erin’s life, full of his observations.  We almost got permission to go in & shoot a video there.  Somebody must have really listened to the lyrics.  He had “nicer” ones prepared just in case we needed to sell out.

  14. AiXeLsyD – “Love, Hopes, Dreams, & Smiles”

    [SoundCloud/YouTube] |I think An-Die hated this one.  I liked the noodling& the melody.  The lyrics are super dumb & trite.  The song was made infinitely cooler when Ben put in that volume swell in the final mix.  That was never there, then we started doing it live after he did that to the recording.  This could probably be punched-up a little bit more.

  15. Gasoline Dion – “Two of a Kind”

    [SoundCloud/YouTube] | Tommy sings like an angel.  I have no idea what in the hell he’s talking about here.  I think Dave & Mike made this honky-tonk-ish.  I played a little solo under Tommy’s vocals at the end because nobody ever told me not to.  The end sounds like the Misfits’ “NY Ranger.”

  16. Ernie and the Berts – “I Don’t Wanna”

    [SoundCloud/YouTube] | Erin stole this one from a band called Suck-Your-Brains-A-Go-Go.  I don’t know if they ever recorded it.  I should ask the man who wrote it some time.  We made it ours. I think Bengt punched-up some of the guitar & added a bit of harmonies during the recording process.

  17. Gasoline Dion – “Shameless Plug (Reprise)”

    [SoundCloud/YouTube] | Same thing as the first track, second solo take by me with a wah pedal this time. Dave is also on guitar making crazy noises and soloing in between all of my notes.  Ha ha.  If you don’t “get” the speaking part, watch the Josie and the Pussycats movie some time.

I’d love to know what you think, or to read/see/hear your own memories about these bands or in any bands or projects in which you have participated.   Did I miss a song or two that you may have remembered or liked?  Comments (or likes or whatever is deemed social-media-appropriate) on the songs on SoundCloud or YouTube would be awesome and greatly appreciated, too.

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Check out the playlist on SoundCloud:

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Check out the playlist on YouTube:

Can you Dig it?

I think you should be able to download a zip of the collection on Google Drive or SendSpace if you’re so inclined.  If you can’t get it there, let me know and I can email it to you.

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The AiXeLsyD stuff:

The Gasoline Dion stuff:

The Ernie and the Berts Stuff:

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Check out some related posts:

NOTE:  Edited to correct links to YouTube videos, made new ones for some slideshows that were too short.  Also, check the comments!

So, in the spring I want to build an outdoor Matchbox car race track… 🚗


How cool is this?

Since the bean house was a bit of a bust, maybe this will be a hit.  It looks like it can get as complicated or remain as simple as you’d like.  I have pinned a bunch of ideas.  I’d like to include an area for construction vehicles… maybe tiny pebbles, not sand.  I hate sand.  I like the use of the tire in the one… and the dirt road, and tunnels.

 

 

 

 

 

I hope to snag a bunch of ideas online, specifically Pinterest I guess. Looks super fun for both kids, and me!

Have you done anything like this?

Getting the itch to set up a place to rock.


So, as you may know, I have a few guitars.  Once upon a time we had an extra room that was going to be adorned with said guitars.  Things changed, and that room serves a much more awesome purpose as my son’s room.

We do, however, have a garage that we don’t use at all.  We have talked about closing it in to make more room.  It might be a bit of a project getting the garage door turned into a wall & man door, and will take a bit of interior TLC like more electrical outlets and some type of climate control.  It should keep the aforementioned son’s room a little warmer if it’s an “inside” room.

I’d like to put my guitars in there, and have them ready to play at any give moment when inspiration strikes.

AiXeLsyD13's Guitars - Oct. 2015

AiXeLsyD13’s Guitars – Oct. 2015

I’ve been drooling over different types of guitar storage for a while now, and stowing ideas away on pinterest.

I’d really like to use the house’s old storm windows that we no longer need to build a permanent version of these cool cabinets:

I have the drive, and I can learn the know-how, but I may need the intervention of someone that actually knows what they’re doing at some point.

Anyone else have a DIY rock n’ roll room setup? I’d like to house my CD’s, records, etc. too instead of them suffocating in storage bins. Maybe some recording gear and/or a PC could find a home there? There are so many options. Like a true punk rock musician I’d like to work close to a nonexistent budget.

Hit me up with your experience and ideas in the comments!

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Changing Pickups – How-to’s I found interesting and helpful:


Tone Fiend (Joe Gore) rules.

I need to get back to work on my NY Pro.

So, now what? (Customizing my New York Pro, finally.)


So, this past weekend, I finally got a chance to work on customizing my New York Pro, I thought I’d get a bunch of it done all at one time.  Well, I hit a roadblock or two as I was taking it all apart.  (Of course.)

I already got some great advice via Facebook, but thought I’d try & chronicle everything here.

It doesn't fit...

It doesn’t fit…

Once I got my work bench set up on the basement, taking everything apart was quite easy.  I just took out all the hardware, and when I went to line up the new pickguard, it didn’t fit. It’s really close, but it doesn’t fit.  I’m going to have to file or cut or sand or Dremel or some combination of all of the above.

It's not the same...

It’s not the same…

The holes in the pickguard aren’t going to lineup with the screws, either.  I’m going to have to maybe 2-sided tape it in place to mark all the holes once I get it cut right.  I have no experience taking apart guitars, but it’s odd that the neck doesn’t fit “perfectly” into the body.  There’s a weird gap there.  It’s also easy to tell (now) that the old pickguard has been cut.  There are some other spots where it doesn’t quite line up.  I hope I don’t have to route anything out where the pickups go.  I got them all from the same place, so I hope not.

Also, I thought I was taking the neck plate off… but it wasn’t having it:

That's supposed to come off when you take the screws out...

That’s supposed to come off when you take the screws out…

Help?

Help?

It’s stuck.  I feel like it’s glued on or was put on before the stain dried?  I bought all black hardware, including a neck plate.  Should I try to get this one off, or just let it go?  I even tried to pop it off using  a screwdriver through the 5th larger hole… all to no avail.

Any advice on that one?

If you’re interested in checking out my progress, take a look at the Photobucket album that’s my attempt to chronicle the whole thing.  (Or, sit through this slideshow…)

Dr. James Logan: Food Allergy Mad Scientist


Ancylostoma caninum, a type of hookworm, attac...

Ancylostoma caninum, a type of hookworm, attached to the intestinal mucosa. Source:CDC's Public Health Image Library Image #5205 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This cat is nuts, but the good kind of nuts.  I’ve blogged about these scary possibly-food-allergy-curtailing bugs before… but this guy has sprung into action by swallowing the damn things along with a tiny camera to see just exactly how they work.  Screw animal testing and clinical trials… this dude is D.I.Y. all the way.

Check out this article: Hookworms And Allergies – Doctor Infects Himself For Experiment

Here’s an excerpt:

In using his own body in the service of science, Logan joins self-experimenters like Sir Isaac Newton, who in the 17th century nearly went blind after staring too long at the sun in a mirror in order to study the after-images on his retinas.

Quite apart from the ethical implications of putting a person’s health at risk, such self-experimentation is much less common nowadays, with trials tending to be on a much larger scale in order to get enough statistical power for reliable results, but, as in Logan’s case, it occasionally happens, under carefully controlled conditions.

Logan was interested in the experiment because research suggests, a hookworm infection can cure or alleviate symptoms of allergies like bowel disease and food allergies. It is thought the worms release compounds that reduce the over-reactions in the immune system that cause the allergies.

He allowed himself to be infected because he himself suffers from a long-standing food allergy that means he cannot eat bread without feeling very ill.

He also wanted to demonstrate, using new state of the art imaging for the first time ever, how the worms get into the body.

CRAZY.

Then again, if an herbal supplement works, why not try that first?  Maybe this guy just likes creepy little bugs so much, he wanted to eat them.  I’d rather eat herbs than bugs, but to each his own.

Then again, you or I might already be infected with a hookworm & not even know it.  The article states “According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 576-740 million people in the world are infected with hookworm. The infection usually has no symptoms, although some people, especially those infected for the first time, have gastrointestinal symptoms.”  Ew!

There’s a video (& a transcript) about Dr. James Long here: Dr. James Logan’s Hookworm Experiment

Vodpod videos no longer available.

A video highlight, and the meat of the experiment…

Eosinophil blood cells are an important part of the body’s immune system which is the mechanism within us that fights infection. Eosinophils are associated with fighting parasites like hookworm. Normally they make about 1% of our blood. But people like Dr James who are infected with hookworms usually start producing more of these cells.

He’s going to need a lab coat an some hair like Christopher Lloyd in Back to the Future if he’s going to gain any respect as a mad scientist.  But any way you look at it, this guy is pretty badass.

No, no, no, no, no, this sucker's electrical, but I need a nuclear reaction to generate the 1.21 gigawatts of electricity I need.

No, no, no, no, no, this sucker's electrical, but I need a nuclear reaction to generate the 1.21 gigawatts of electricity I need.

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.

Goofy Little 9V Amplifier Project…


I have a Fender Mini Twin MT-10 9V amp that I recently dug out of a box in the basement. Obviously I don’t use it much. It’s the one in a plastic enclosure, and it sounds like… it’s in a plastic enclosure. The battery compartment cover has decided to move on to better things.  My little Smokey Amp kicks its butt where 9V rocking is concerned, and it drives a cabinet if you wanna get really crazy.

Fender Mini-Twin '57 & MT-10

I have the boring MT-10 on the right in the incredibly awesome sounding high-quality black plastic enclosure.

Artistic Amplification | Duck Guitar Amp ($125.00)

If it looks like a duck, and sounds like a cat getting its tail pulled, it must be a... guitar amplifier?

One of the clamps inside that was supposed to hold the speaker busted off of the plastic enclosure anyway, so it was all in there rattling around.

I have been a fan of the stuff that the dude from Artistic Amplification is doing for a while.  The other day I got the brainstorm to turn my Mini-Twin into something like that dude does.  He uses the Ruby circuit from Runoof Groove, but I already have guts to a perfectly good amp.

9-Volt Battery Connector

9V me!

All I need is one of those 9V battery connector things (the amp has a stupid box w/ prongs), a fun shell, maybe some longer wires, a drill, some time and I’m good to go.  Even my level of poor soldering skills should work for this venture.

I was thinking something neat and goofy like a skull model or a Darth Vader helmet would be cool…

Vader Mask / Skull Model

These would certainly make badass little novelty amps.

I could possibly route out the eyes of the skull for the Twin Speaker placement.  Was thinking the same with with Darth Vader’s eyes, or even mount them in the mouth-piece.  Somehow I could maybe even work in that control panel…  If the speaker was in the mouth, I could make the eyeballs light up or something even crazier.  I can even use the integrated AC adapter, but I have read online that sometimes they produce an additional unwanted hum.

Then again, I thought trolling an antique store or two for an old box or transistor radio or crazy piece of kitsch would be kind of fun.  I might come across something that hits me as the perfect vessel for the Frankentwin.  (And a wooden box or old leather-covered transistor might sound better than yet another plastic enclosure.)

Fender Mini-Twin MT-10

HELP ME!

I pulled the amp apart with ease… I’m sort of stuck with the knobs.  They’re not coming off with a gentle pull, and while other goofy replacements might be fun, I don’t really want to bust these (or the circuit board inside) yet.  I guess I’m going to have to try to get something thin in behind them to pull them off.

The world of cigar-box guitar & amp building & case-mod type hacks is neat.  There are a ton of mini/travel amps out there, why not make one that’s all mine?  (Check out this coffin-shaped mini amp, this one from a mint container & this cracker-box amp!)

I’m asking you the reader if you have any tips, tricks, advice, suggestions, etc.  Have you done this before?  Have you seen anything similar?  Have you ever had the urge to build your own amp?  Would you buy one if I learned how to make a circuit & started making/selling weird stuff?  (Provided it sounded cool?)

Crazy weekend.


It’s been a great weekend, thanks to Batman Movie Night on Saturday, & the Food Allergy Walk today.  I hope to eventually blog about both… but I’m kind of up for just some relaxation tonight.  I just wanted to say right now that I have an awesome wife, fantastic friends, & a great family.  Thanks for helping me have fun whirlwind of a weekend!

Thanks to everyone who donated for the walk today… I’ll be shipping the special edition Ernie and the Berts King Krab Orange T-shirts from Erin “Ernie” Payne this week for those who qualify!

Anyone have a car jack I can borrow?  I think the thermostat needs replaced on my Subaru… looks easy enough to do, if I can get to it.  The car stayed at work over the weekend.

Man stuff.


I have pretty much no mechanical ability.  I know this.  There are certainly things that I can do… like change the oil, but where we’re at now with on-street parking  it’s not worth the minimal difference in price for the convenience.  That’s about the extent of my ability though.  I can change batteries, air filters, maybe an oil filter, and am now confident I could install an alternator… but that’s about it.  I won’t do brakes.

Shouldn't there be a belt there?

Shouldn't there be a belt there?

This morning, on my way to work, I ‘m going down a side street in Mt. Lebanon and the battery light & Brake warning light both come on at the same time.  I know this usually isn’t good.  Two lights generally = “oh shit”.  My power steering was gone.  I checked that level, and the brake fluid level… both were in the good range.  I had pulled over in front of a nice large house on a side street in Mt. Lebanon.

I called my wife to come get me, took her to work, & commandeered her car for the day… so I could figure out what was going on.  In having no mechanical knowledge… I have “a guy” that I trust with all my auto repairs.  Only problem being the auto place is where I grew up, not where I currently live.  I called the guy to ask what the meaning of the battery charge & brake warning light combo could be.  (My wife Googled it on her phone, but I wanted to confirm.)  He was thinking alternator too…  I thought I was going to have to learn to replace an alternator today.  Towing the car to where I grew up and paying a professional to install an alternator weren’t in the budget this week.

After getting prices from several local auto places (& after posting on Facebook/Twitter and maybe Google+ asking for advice, and looking around online on how to install an alternator), I decided to go check my car out again before buying an alternator.  Luckily… I noticed something was missing: a belt.  I have no idea what it’s called… but it connects the alternator & power steering.  (Which I found out after a 2nd call to my “guy” to confirm that all the symptoms would be the same.)

So, a belt seemed easier & cheaper than the alternator.  Sadly, I have no idea where the first belt went.  I traced my route several times… no belt on the road, or on the side of the road.  Someone must have grabbed it minutes after I dropped it.  I had to go on the advice of the helpful guys at Advanced Auto.  I’ve had good experiences with them in the past… their pro-rated battery warranty is killer.

No fit good.

No fit good.

I go to Advanced Auto location one… and get the belt that’s recomended for my car.  I never questioned if it was the belt I needed… I mean, their database wouldn’t be wrong, would it?

An interesting aside, that I will chuckle about until the end of time…  The guy at Advanced Auto location1 tried to sell me a belt that was $18.99, but even thought the computer said there were 2 in stock… he couldn’t find them.  So, he said there was one for $11.99.  I asked if I should be worried about the difference in price… if it meant a great deal of difference in quality.  He said “Well, yeah… but this is all we have.  Basically, the cheap one is made overseas and the expensive one is made here.”  That made me feel better.  It’s a Subaru.  I don’t care where the parts came from.  They’re all probably from Japan or Mexico even though it was all assembled in Indiana.  When I got the cheaper belt… and went to install it, it said “MADE IN U.S.A.” in big white letters.  I literally laughed out loud.  Can we get over this “other countries are inferior to us in making stuff” thing?  It’s 2011.  Advanced Auto ought to put a bullshit meter on that guy.

Well, the physical removal of the bolts, the belt cover, and loosening of the alternator was ridiculously simple.  The belt wouldn’t quite go on.  No biggie, I thought.  There’s got to be something else I can loosen… or maybe I’m not thinking of something else.  I called by uncle who’s a tinkerer and who has shown me how to replace a starter for some advice.  I figured there’s some magic shoehorn kind of move where I can slip the belt on, no problem.  After a chat, we assumed that I had done everything… I just needed a bigger belt.  He even looked up the part number for me online.  Armed with knowledge and confidence, I headed back to Advance Auto location one.  I described my new dilemma, asked for & received the larger belt, and headed back to my ghetto Subaru broken down in a fancy neighborhood.

The new longer belt went on with little effort, and then… wouldn’t pull taught even when the alternator was lifted the while way up.  My patience was being tested today.  I called Advanced Auto… and asked… if there was a size in between the two sizes I had.  I was told that there was, but that I probably didn’t want it.  The guy told me to un-bolt the pulley from the power steering, and move it to make the smaller belt fit.  I could tell that even if I got the smaller belt to fit, there wouldn’t be enough slack to lift the alternator off of the close by A/C belt.  (I learned some new terms today.)

I went to Advanced Auto location #2, also thankfully close by… and asked for the in-between belt.  I was again told that I probably wanted the smaller one again if the bigger one didn’t fit.  I went through my explanation of why I wanted the middle size… and was advised to buy both the smaller and middle size (that all said made in the USA and were the cheaper brand by the way), and to really try to make the smaller one fit “because that’s what the computer says belongs on the car”.  Good logic, but we’re past that.

For poops n’ giggles, I tried the smaller one… again… and ran into the same problem… again.  I used the in-between size, and it fit perfectly.  There’s enough room to loosen it if I need to, and there’s enough room to tighten it if I need to.  It’d Goldilocks’ proverbial “just right”.  Thanks to Advanced Auto’s awesome return policy, I was able to return/exchange all the belts I didn’t use.  I returned the last one again to Advanced Auto location 2.

(Odd aside #2 – the longer belt was $1.07 cheaper than the shorter belt – but also “MADE IN U.S.A.”.)

That’s 4 trips to 2 different Advanced Autos to buy 3 different sized belts to find the 1 that fit.

So, what should have taken me about 5 minutes took all day. and probably half a tank of gas.  At any rate, it’s done.  $11-ish for a belt is cheaper than $129-ish for an alternator and me doing it = more savings.

If you have a 1998 Subaru Legacy Outback and need to replace the belt that goes from the Alternator to the Power Steering… and the prescribed 345K5 doesn’t fit.  Try the 350K5 before you try the 355K5.  I’m not arguing with Advanced Auto’s HAL 9000 or “made in ‘Merica” employees.  I’m just sayin’.

Thanks to everyone who helped today… with comments, advice, and moral support… whether it was by phone or social networking.  I really appreciate it and am glad I had so many people willing to help out!  If you ever need auto advice, don’t call me.  You can call me for cooking or PC advice… maybe even general electronic gadgetry.