Tag Archives: DIY

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?

So, the beans on our #BeanHouse are sad. 🌱


Heh.  We’ll have to try again next year.  Maybe it was the shade, maybe it was the bugs, maybe it was the timing, maybe it was a lack of Miracle Gro.  Did you see our posts about building it and hanging the sign?

This is all the growth we got:

And something ate our sunflower:

Deer (or something) destroyed this #sunflower pretty quickly, too. No luck gardening this year at all. Ha ha.

A post shared by Eric Carroll (@aixelsyd13) on

Sigh.  Ha ha.

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!

🎼🎶🎸📀🎧📼🎤🎵🎸🎶

∞ Magical Musical Split? @Dethlehem & @TheBloodySeamen should do this…


Oprah Money & Dick Cheney Power

Oprah Money & Dick Cheney Power – This could be the cover, because… Why not?

OK, so if I had Oprah money and Dick Cheney power, and could treat other human beings like my own personal play things…  I would commission two local Pittsburgh metal bands to do an epic cover split.  Do bands that aren’t punk bands do splits?  Well, they will if they’re my playthings.

I’d want Dethlehem to cover Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs” (with the original “Walpurgis” lyrics of course), and The Bloody Seamen to cover the Beastie Boys’ “Rhymin’ and Stealin'” (which music nerds know features another Sabbath riff from “Sweet Leaf”).

Why?  Why not?  I love obscure and nonsensical covers.  I like these bands.  They would probably not want any part of this.  I mean, guys in bands LOVE it when you go up to them and spew out “You know what song you guys should cover?” then ramble off dumb ideas like this.

Witches gather at black masses
Bodies burning in red ashes
On the hill the church in ruin
Is the scene of evil doings
It’s a place for all bad sinners
Watch them eating dead rats’ innards
I guess it’s the same wherever you may go
Oh Lord yeah

Carry banners which denounce the lord
See me rocking in my grave
See them anoint my head with dead rat’s blood
See them stick the stake through me
Oh

Don’t hold me back cause I’ve just gotta go
They’ve got a hold of my soul now
Lords got my brain instinct with blood obscene
Look in my eyes I’m there enough
Yeah

On the scene a priest appears
Sinners falling at his knees
Satan sends out funeral pyre
Casts the priest into the fire
It’s the place for all bad sinners
Watch them eating dead rats’ innards
I guess it’s the same wherever you may go
Oh lord yeah

Because Mutiny on the Bounty’s what we’re all about
I’m gonna board your ship and turn it on out
No soft sucker with a parrot on his shoulder
‘Cause I’m bad gettin’ bolder, cold cold gettin’ colder

Terrorizin’ suckers on the seven seas
And if you’ve got beef, you get capped in the knees
We got sixteen men on a dead man’s chest
And I shot those suckers and I’ll shoot the rest

Most illingest b-boy, I got that feelin’
‘Cause I am most ill and I’m rhymin’ and stealin’

Shh! Snatchin’ gold chains, vikin’ pieces of eight
I got your money and your honey and the fly name plate
We got wenches on the benches and bitties with titties
Housin’ all girlies from city to city

One for all and all for one
Takin’ out MC’s with a big shotgun
All for one and one for all
Because the Beastie Boys have gone A.W.O.L

Friggin’ in the riggin’, man, cuttin’ your throat
Big bitin’ suckers gettin’ thrown in the moat
We got maidens and wenches, man they’re on the ace
Captain Bligh’s gonna die when we break his face

Most illingest b-boy, I got that feelin’
I am most ill and I’m rhymin’ and stealin’

Ali Baba and the forty thieves
Ali Baba and the forty thieves
Ali Baba and the forty thieves
Ali Baba and the forty thieves

Ali Baba and the forty thieves
Ali Baba and the forty thieves
Ali Baba and the forty thieves
Ali Baba and the forty thieves

Torchin’ and crackin’ and rhymin’ and stealin’
Robbin’ and rapin’, bustin’ two in the ceilin’
I’m wheelin’, I’m dealin’, I’m drinkin’, not thinkin’
Never cower, never shower and I’m always stinkin’

Yo ho ho and a pint of Brass Monkey
And when my girlie shakes her hips she sure gets funky
Skirt chasin’, free basin’, killin’ every village
We drink and rob and rhyme and pillage

Most illingest b-boy, I got that feelin’
I am most ill and I’m rhymin’ and stealin’

I was drinkin’ my rum, a deaf son of a gun
I fought the law and I cold won
Black Beard’s weak, Moby Dick’s on the tick
‘Cause I pull out the jammy and I squeeze off six

My pistol is loaded, I shot Betty Crocker
Deliver Colonel Sanders down to Davey Jones’ locker
Rhymin’ and stealin’ in a drunken state
And I’ll be rockin’ my rhymes all the way to hell’s gate

Most illingest b-boy, I got that feelin’
I am most ill and I’m rhymin’ and stealin’
Most illingest b-boy, I got that feelin’
I am most ill and I’m rhymin’ and stealin’

Most illingest b-boy, I got that feelin’
‘Cause I am most ill and I’m rhymin’ and stealin’
Most illingest b-boy, I got that feelin’
I am most ill and I’m rhymin’ and stealin’

Most chillinest b-boy
I am most ill and I’m rhymin’ and stealin’
Most killingest b-boy
I am most ill and I’m rhymin’ and stealin’

Most dustin’ out b-boy, I’m tossin’ my dust
Most finkinest b-boy, I’m doin’ that finkin’
Most rhyminest b-boy, I’m stretchin’ my shade
Most shootinest b-boy, I think you’re shit

Most rhyminest b-boy, I’ll steal your shit homeboy
Most taxinest b-boy, I’ll tax you boy
Most illingest illingest illingest b-boy
Taxin’ all y’all squares, yeah!

Maybe change “b-boy” to “pirate” or something?  Bandit?  Looter?  Outlaw?  Maybe the line “Because the Beastie Boys have gone A.W.O.L” to “‘Cause the Bloody Seamen have gone A.W.O.L”?  I’d pee my pants if I heard you all rapping.

So what would it take, guys?  Can we get a Kickstarter going, or what?

The Bloody Seamen

The Bloody Seamen

Dethlehem

Dethlehem

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…)

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?)

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.