Fight Fire With Fire


This is how I have been responding to spam lately.

The original:

From: Onain onainreddy@aol.com
Date: 2/5/21 7:27 AM (GMT-05:00)
To: world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com
Subject: Why Not Host your Web Site With Us!

Hi world,

“You can get a premium look on your website with a minimum effort.”

If you are looking for the new website design, then please share your requirements or a reference website if possible so that we could discuss your requirements further.

Looking forward to hearing your valuable response.

Thanks!

Onain

My Reply:

From: “world.and.lunar.domination” world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com
Date: 2/5/21 4:09 PM (GMT-05:00)
To: Onain onainreddy@aol.com
Subject: RE: Why Not Host your Web Site With Us!

Hello Onain!

Do you like coffee or tea? You definitely need an A-Maze Mug! It really goes well with any warm beverage like hot chocolate or apple cider.

https://ci3apparel.bigcartel.com/product/a-maze-mug

Please, buy one or two today!

Cheers,

– @AiXeLsyD13

PS – My phone tried to autocorrect you to Onion and Orion. Onain the Orion Onion would make a great children’s book. Perhaps being an author would be more profitable that writing spam emails?

Would you like to buy an A-Maze Mug?

Get an A-Maze Mug! c[_]


Hey, we talked about it before… No one, not two, but three times.

It’s finally here! Get an A-Maze Mug from Ci3! How cool is that? Each mug comes with a dry-erase marker so you can solve the maze, both in a nifty box covered in mazes!

A-MAZE MUG by Ci3 & AiXeLsyD13
A-MAZE MUG by Ci3 & AiXeLsyD13

More cool maze-related merch coming soon. What else would you like to see? Socks? Masks? T-shirts? Books? Puzzles? Mirrors? Tiles?

I haven’t ever done anything to make my mazes available for any kind of sale, so this is exciting to me. What do you think?

I am eternally grateful to Mike Copen for the nudge and the opportunity. It’s so cool for artists, designers, entrepreneurs, & creative types to support each other.

Of course, I think they’d make great gifts for friends, family, teachers, co-workers, or even anyone that may be hard to buy for. Who doesn’t like a nice warm beverage? Solving the maze with the dry erase marker is a good opportunity to kind of zone out in a zen-like state, to help you regain focus to start the day or even decompress at the end of a long day! I know that’s the drive behind drawing them.

These would be great for coffee, tea, hot cocoa, warm apple cider, ramen, or one of my soup recipes.

Please, share the link if you’re so inclined. I’d like to see how far these can go. Thanks in advance if you plan on making a purchase!

Neat Maze Solution [✏ Can you do it? (Another Maze)] and (I think) fan mail!


I recently received an email containing a solution to one of my mazes, along with a what I’ll interpret as a fan-letter and some constructive criticism.  Check out the incredibly detailed solution & the message below:

✏ Can you do it? (Another Maze) SOLUTION

✏ Can you do it? (Another Maze) SOLUTION

And the accompanying email:

From: Rick Jaspers
Date: Mon, Jun 25, 2012
Subject:
To: world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com

Hi, I saw a post in which you asked people to solve a maze, and send the solution to you, but I just can’t seem to find the post now. Oh well, here is my solution.

It was a great maze! Your style of utilizing tight squiggly paths and many dead ends made it a real challenge to solve. I enjoyed the complexity and design of this wonderful maze.

I did find a couple issues that I should bring to your attention. I hesitate to say anything because I fear it could be taken in the wrong spirit. But I assure you that even though we don’t know each other, I wish you every success with your mazes. The things I found are very minor, and things I have done many times myself, and not caught until much later. Furthermore none of these issues keep this from being a very good maze.

With that said, this is what I found (refer to the attachment for a visual):

The areas marked in red are closed off from the rest of the maze so the solver is not able to get into them from the starting line. This is an easy fix, open up an end in each of these areas, and you have created additional dead end to frustrate the solver.

The second thing is the three loops marked with green dotted lines. Some maze designers use loops, others do not. Personally, I don’t like using loops except in certain specialized mazes. As the designer, you get to chose the rules you apply to your designs. Since you only have a small amount of loops, I am thinking that they were not intentional. Again, if you did not mean to include loops, they are easy to fix. Closing off one end makes yet more dead ends. Having loops along the solution route adds a further complication of having alternate paths which lead to the end, and these other ways to get to the finish must be shown when you provide solutions.

If you can bare one more suggestion, here it is. As you make the last turn for the finish line, the trail forks off into three paths. When solvers are so close to the finish, they can see which path is the right one. I would recommend closing off the two false paths at this point, and finding another place to open them up, so you create two more dead ends right at the finish.

These are all minor things, but I hope they help. I don’t see myself as an expert maze designer. Many of my mazes are poorly designed. I lack a mathematical sense, which can be very helpful in designing mazes. Also I have a really horrible sense of direction, seriously. I am constantly getting lost when I go places. But I enjoy making mazes, so I do it.

I sincerely hope you can find a way for more people to enjoy your fine mazes.

Rick Jaspers

So, I wrote back…

From: Waldo Lunar <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, Jun 26, 2012
Subject: Re:
To: Rick Jaspers

Wow Rick!

Thanks for taking the time to complete the maze & for all the pointers!  How did you find me?

I should be able to look through them to find the one that this matches without a problem.

I don’t know if I really “design” mazes, I kind of just draw them.  I do appreciate your advice though… it would be easier to complete without the loops, and more challenging without the areas that are closed off.

Do you have any of your mazes up online anywhere?

Would you mind if I posted your email in a blog along with your solution?

Thanks for writing!
-Eric
aixelsyd13.wordpress.com

Permission granted:

From: Rick Jaspers
Date: Wed, Jun 27, 2012
Subject: RE: Maze Solution
To: world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com

Hey Eric,

I enjoyed doing your maze, so no problem. Much more challenging than any of mine.

Originally, I found your site when I did a WordPress Topics Search for “Mazes”, and was able to get a hold of you because your e-mail was listed on your About page.

I do not have any mazes on-line. I no longer own the rights to the 33 in the published book. All of the other mazes I have done are part of unpublished or unfinished books. I guess I don’t like the idea of putting mazes on-line that I am trying to get into print.

You are welcome to do whatever you wish with the solution I made, and if you want to include my e-mail, that is fine also.

Rick

That’s pretty cool!  Rick had to take some serious time solving the maze & doing his photo-editing work in the solution.  This encourages me that there are more people out there who dig mazes, & we all may benefit from me getting a book published.  Maybe I can put more though into my mazes, instead of just doodling.  I certainly could use more money to buy goofy guitars.

Everything Changes but Guitars? I disagree.


I saw this graphic online through Guitar Fail the other day, & again through Guitar Squid:

Stratocaster Evolution / Everything Changes but Guitars (I wish I knew the original source.)

Stratocaster Evolution / Everything Changes but Guitars (I wish I knew the original source.)

At first, it made me laugh and think “humph, yeah…” in agreement.  The more I thought about it though… it’s wrong. How is it wrong?

Well as far as concept cars go, it’s a whole different world from everyday-use practical cars.  Nothing has gone all that far from 4 wheels, 2 headlights, gasoline powered.  (Yes, there are hybrids and flex-fuel all over the market… but arguably people don’t like them unless they look like “normal” cars.)  But, this blog isn’t about cars.  I’m sure you knew I was going to talk guitars, because that’s what I do.

There are a ridiculous amounts of varying styles of guitars & guitar innovations out there.  Some of them may not be “reinventing the wheel” exactly, but there is always some great stuff happening, and there has been since the inception of the stringed instrument.  How do you think we got so many varieties?

Krank Amplification | Evolution Of The Electric Guitar

Krank Amplification | Evolution Of The Electric Guitar

I agree that too many axe-slingers fall into the Stratocaster or Les Paul shape trap.  For years I held a disdain for both shapes… but I come back to them.  Why?  Perhaps they’re good designs.  Perhaps they’re iconic.  Perhaps they sound incredible.  Perhaps they work.  There are many other options out there.  If you find yourself chuckling to and agreeing with this graphic, I challenge you to help me to add to my list of innovative guitars.

Any fans of the Guitarz Blog, Tone Fiend, Guitar WTF?, or gUitarREN should be into this.  (Any cool guitar blogs I’m missing?)

Let’s talk about how the guitar is ever-evolving… Shape, materials, string count, innovation, & general insanity.

Indy Custom - Flycaster (Tele-V) Telecaster Flying V Hybrid

Indy Custom Flycaster (or Tele-V?)

There are lots of shapes out there past the Stratocaster or Les Paul, whether it’s somewhat normal or custom insanity.  There’s the SG, the Telecaster, V’s (Flying, Jackson & more), hollowbodies like the Artcore or Gretsch models, the Explorer, the Ravelle, all the crazy B.C. Rich shapes, the Airline, even the Flycaster.  Are there really not enough guitar design shapes out there to satisfy you?  The Stratocaster doesn’t need to change shape, because there are plenty of other options out there!  I’m barely hitting the tip of the iceberg here.  I didn’t even touch on my B.B. Stone, FlipOut, or Batman axes.  How many distinct guitar shapes can you name in the comments?  (Actual produced shapes, not one-offs!)  Bonus for posting or linking to photos.

There’s also material.  Certainly guitars are mostly made of all types of wood, but there’s also plastic, graphite, Res-O-Glass (fiberglass), the Lucite / plexiglass / acrylic transparent guitars, aluminum necks, and so much more.

Once we get past the plethora of guitar makes, models, & shapes available… there are so many other innovations.  Some are great, some not-so great.  Just off the top of my head I can think of:  Synthesizer & MIDI Guitars, Fretlights, 7/8/12 strings, double neck guitars, the chord buddy, the Coral Sitar, built-in-wireless, the robot guitar, 3D printed guitars, Evertune… but none of them have really busted the mold (yet).  They’re all niche stuff.  This doesn’t even get into the many styles of bridges, tuners, tremolos, locks, and other parts that have been refined… or wiring.  You can get CRAZY with wiring.

World's Largest Playable Guitar being set up at the Carnegie Science Center (Pittsburgh, PA)

World’s Largest Playable Guitar being set up at the Carnegie Science Center – Pittsburgh, PA (Photo Credit: Kara / @ohidontthinkso)

The traveling guitar exhibit is at the Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh right now.  I can’t wait to check it out.  It’s got the world’s largest playable guitar.  I was lucky enough to get a preview the other day via Twitter.  Tell me that’s not an innovation?  It will no doubt inspire many to pick up the guitar, or dust off the one they already have.  The entire exhibit displays guitars, how they work, their history, & all kinds of fun interaction.

So, next time you think that the guitar has become stagnant, I ask you to go get your hands one one of the many non Strat options above… or even a non-standard Strat option… like a Fat Strat, hot-rodded wiring, or a backwards one.  There are plenty of different, innovative, and goofy guitars out there.  Rock out on something original!

Fun with virtual guitar builders…


This is why I don't design guitars.

This is why I don’t design guitars.

Screenshot of the 1986 IBM PC versionThis is my new Tetris (Thankfully I’ve never had a phone cool enough to play Angry Birds.)  Online guitar builders are popping up like mad, and now there’s a contest for making the ugliest one over at Joe Gore’s Tone Fiend blog:

Go try your luck at making the worst!  There is some serious competition over there.  Sadly, I like some of the “bad” color schemes.  I guess I do like goofy guitars after all.  (You may remember the mutant beauty pageant.)

I even used one of the guitar builders to help plan out my Turner’s Iced Tea guitar idea.

Poorly Thrown Together Iced Tea Guitars

Poorly Thrown Together Iced Tea Guitars

Matt at Guitar WTF has also posted a great list of virtual guitar builders in the past.  Some are great, some are not so great.  They all seem to have some bugs as well as some great qualities.

I’ll list the ones I know about:

Are there any glaring omissions?

I’m fully expecting one of these to pop upon the Guitarz blog one day.  None are as crazy as the Tom Bingham stuff or Bertram’s, though.

NES Guitar 15

I still haven’t seen a virtual guitar builder that can do this though. I did a Google image search for ‘Tetris Guitar’ and came up short. This was the next best thing. It would be cool if it still worked to play video games.  Really though, $190 is a very reasonable price.  If I had $200 to spare, I’d get one of these.

☠ FAMILY REUNION ☠ (T-shirt idea…)


Someone that can draw well needs to make this into a T-shirt design so we can sell it.

Skull Heads Family Reunion

Skull Heads Family Reunion

I lost my drawing skills a while ago.  I posted this on Facebook the other day, but thought I’d put it here too… maybe Tweet & pin it too.

Vic RattleheadGhost RiderSkeletor
General KaelCrimson GhostRed Skull

Wash Your Hands Frequently. Also, don’t forget to breathe.


GOOD HYGIENE

(Sort of) Good Hygiene

I saw this sign over the weekend in the restroom of a retail store. It was beside the standard “employees must wash hands before returning to work” sign.  This was just a print out, placed in a 3-ring binder type page protector, then taped to the wall.  I don’t mean to poke fun at the store, or the person who placed the sign on the wall… but I do see a few problems with this sign, and similar signs in general.  (OK, maybe I do mean to poke fun – you can read an old rant on public restrooms here.)

My first issue with this specific sign was step #3.  For you the reader to appreciate this, I should have perhaps taken a few more photos of my surroundings.  The knobs on the sink were the little kind.  One would have to be quite flexible and creative to turn them off with their arms.  Also, this restroom lacked paper towels.  There was a hand dryer on the wall though.  I could have used some toilet paper to turn off the faucet, but have you ever gotten TP wet?  And, if I waited until my hands were dried by the air dryer… I would have wasted a large amount of water.  I can see that someone took the time to print & post the sign carefully.  Perhaps they could have altered the steps to ones that pertain to their setup?

I guess that’s my only big issue with this sign, other than other sings have told me 30 seconds, or even to sing a song in my head, like “Old McDonald” or “Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star”… but I’m sure hand-washing time is a subject of hot debate in the hand-washing and general good hygiene sign community.

I wonder what frequently means?  I would think that if one needed hand-washing explained, and they could read the word frequently… one may wonder exactly how often one should wash.  One may think a few times a day is frequent.  One may think that since you’re in the bathroom, it’s talking about your time within.  Should you wash your hands 2 or 3 times for each restroom trip?  I would bet that clarification is definitely needed for the people that need these signs.  I find myself confused, and I already know how to wash my hands.  (Also, I’m sure that some medical professionals would remind you that frequent hand-washing is a sign of OCD.)

I wonder who needs these sings, and at the same time… why there aren’t more of them, educating the uninformed masses of more good hygiene policies.  There could certainly be a bunch more in public restrooms like “don’t pee on the seat”, “no boogers on the wall please”, & “proper nest-building for public toilets”.

I almost want to make a “how to wipe your behind” sign to hang up as a joke to post in restrooms around the area… but sadly I fear that we may see them for real some day.  Maybe they do already exist somewhere.  I would definitely include a “flush at [X] number of sheets per [X] ounces of fecal matter, to prevent clogging” line.

Perhaps a sign above the trash can that says “please do not place soiled underwear in trash can” would also be in good order.  Seems I know quite a few people who have worked places with public restrooms where this sort of thing has apparently happened.  Maybe in with this, signs warning against urinating or defecating in the sink would be appropriate.  This, I have unfortunately seen with my own eyes at the O.  Many many years ago, I was trapped by a hopefully drunk street-urchin looking fellow once who tried to share my urinal… when I balked, he relieved himself in the sink which was unfortunately on my way out the door.  That time, I skipped washing my hands.  Perhaps a footnote is in order on the hand-washing sign.  “*If you have just witnessed someone urinating in the sink, you may skip hand-washing.”  I’m betting the same people that need hand-washing reminders/instructions would also need to be told not to touch others’ urine.

So, I now task you the reader with helping me think of other signs that may need to be hung up in public restrooms and beyond.  What do people need told?  What obvious things maybe aren’t so obvious to all of us need to be publicly addressed?

What about “Please don’t eat the food on the floor by the trash can” at your favorite fast food restaurant? What about “how to pick up dog poop” instructions at the park, right by the useless “No Dogs In Park” signs?  What about some signs on buggies (shopping carts to you non-Yinzers) that say “We have cart returns, please put this in one when you’re done, not pushed to a random nearby corner”?

If you’re super-creative, send me a sign and I’ll post it.  You can either link to the url or image wherever it lives using html in the comments, or email it to world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com.

Please, wash your hands before emailing me though.

I want a Turner’s guitar…


Turner's Premium Iced Tea

So many delicious options.

I grew up loving Turner’s tea.  It was the thing that I bought nearly every time I went to the general store by my house.  In fact, I can probably say every time, without the “nearly”.  There was always Turner’s in the ‘fridge when I was growing up.  It’s still the drink of choice at family get-togethers.  The other night, we had a pizza delivered from A’Pizza Badamo, and I had them bring a gallon of Turner’s with the pizza & sub.

I have blogged about Turner’s before. I even wrote to them when I was much younger, asking what the “secret ingredient” was in their tea that made it so addictive.  They wrote back.  I didn’t get an answer but I did get a sweet Turner’s T-shirt (Tea-Shirt?), and a label from one of the little jugs to stick on my guitar case.  I’ve written to Giant Eagle and Market District multiple times asking them to carry Turner’s products.  I get the Moos-letter.

Turner's Tattoo

Turner

I’m not quite as hardcore as the guy who got a Turner’s tattoo, I guess.  But, I think we have successfully established that I enjoy Turner’s quite a bit.

So, do you think I can get Turner’s to endorse an Iced Tea themed guitar?  Honestly, I was just thinking to myself that I’d like a guitar that’s painted like a Turner’s iced tea carton.  It looks cool on that guy’s arm, and looks really cool on the Tea-Bird, makes a rockin’ T-shirt… so why not on a guitar?

The TeaBird is just awesome.

The Turner's Tea-Bird

The Turner's Tea-Bird

I voiced my opinion via Twitter…

http://twitter.com/#!/ErnieAndTheBert/status/108569045674110977

And on Facebook…

Seeing a Turner's Guitar Would Make Me Thirsty for Turner's!

Yhe people have spoken: Seeing a Turner's guitar would make them thirsty for Turner's!

(I had cut up a half gallon carton a long time ago to scan, render sort-of blank, and make a show flyer.  More evidence of my affinity for Turner’s?)

And got this reply on Twitter…

http://twitter.com/#!/TurnersPremiumT/status/108624210741575680

Hmm.  Possible encouragement?  Perhaps.  Who wouldn’t like one that had a tank to a backpack… like a camelbak that shot iced tea at the crowd.  Or, I could just get a beer helmet & drink Turner’s myself while on stage.

At any rate, I used KISEKAE Virtual Image Modeling System (one of the most fun online toys ever) to hastily throw together some designs:

Poorly Thrown Together Iced Tea Guitars

Poorly Thrown Together Iced Tea Guitars

Yes.  They’re ugly.  But, the colors are awesome.  Why the Les Paul shape?  Well, I have a perfectly good Epiphone that I hardly ever play… and it’s got a big chip out of the paint anyway.  It needs repainted… why not stripped & done up like this?

Well, sort of like that.  I’d like to take apart the different elements & move them around…  Maybe even get a scan of a gallon jug label or little jug label.  A tea-colored guitar with that little label in the corner might be cool.  If money were no object… I’d go for a jug or carton shaped guitar… or maybe even a Telecaster-type kit guitar that could be called the (wait for it…) Tea-Caster.  Well if money were really no object, I might even try out an Evertune bridge.

People get sponsored all the time, right?  Why not me?  Can’t hurt to ask, right?  I figured I’d present my case here, then fire off an email to Turner’s, hit them up  on Facebook, Twitter (beware the imposter!), or wherever else I can… and ask if they’d be interested in helping me fund a Turner’s guitar.  Maybe I can just cover my LP in some Turner’s stickers then throw a clear-coat over it?  Ha ha.  That’s a lot of stickers…

The next step is to find someone that does this type of work around here.  Is there a guitar “body shop” anywhere that would tackle a custom paint job like this (& do a good job)?  Any business or artist that may know what they’re doing?

Then, it’s time to get serious with design.  Any ideas?  Suggestions?  Please, submit some pictures of ideas!  At the very least, describe ’em!  What do you think?  Would a Turner’s guitar be fun?  I need something goofy to match the square guitar & the backwards guitar, right?