Wednesday, March 25, 2009

ha no.

So I went running with Bob this morning. It was a good run/jog/walk/limp for me. I'll be honest: I thought I was going to die. I felt like that one guy on The Temple of Doom after he had his heart ripped out and was staring face down at his inevitable death in the swirling lava. My legs feel tired- but we'll see where this goes. I haven't ran or run anything in about... 4 years? Seriously?

People like to run, I get it. My dad gets a kick out of it. But I don't think that running has ever appealed to me. Why would anyone like to run, unless they were being chased by a bear or something? I'm open to it though. We're going to run three days a week, and in time I'm sure I'll be ready for a 2k or a 3k race.

I'm not sure what else is going on.

To do list:
  1. Finish Final Draft of Senior Thesis.
  2. Finish Obsidian Archeology paper
  3. Finish Palestinian Refugee paper
  4. Finish Book Review of John Hershey's Hiroshima
  5. Start Iranian Revolution or Persian Gulf War? paper (topic is subject to change)

I've got enough on my plate right now.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Bass update #8

Bass Update #8

New tuners came in the mail today (pictured above in fuzzy cellphone photo). I was 99.9% sure they would fit the old tuner holes in the headstock... but I was wrong. I should have measured the diameter beforehand. eh. I'll have to widen the tuning peg holes by 1/8-1/16th an inch. No big deal, but it just goes to show how every step of the process can present unforeseen challenges. Sweet black tuners though. They match the ones on my 5 string bass, and they turn nice and slow... which is way better than the older tuners.

I wet sanded and shaped the epoxy on the neck which had cured. I probably could have left it as is, but I saw a few uneven spots around fret 18 or 19 along the edges. So I gave it a third and final thin coat... I'm wondering how thick this is getting. I'm going to have to shim the nut for sure.... and wait another 3 days for the epoxy to cure. Looks great though, clear as glass and the fretboard itself looks awesome underneath. I complained about the fretline color, but after applying the epoxy the color seems to match the maple just fine. 

I haven't done anything to the body yet. It's just sitting there. I'm going to sand it down or strip off the terrible stain. This thing could be playable by next week! 

Final Checklist:

  1. Refinish the body
  2. Reattach the neck
  3. Install the bridge and remaining hardware
  4. Rewire the electronics
  5. Install strings

Saturday, March 21, 2009


I ate a banana and a poptart for breakfast.

Bass Update #7

Bass Update #7

So I gave the neck another coat of epoxy. The second coat went on perfect, and there were little to no bubbles or marks along the entire fingerboard. I checked back this morning and saw two spots that will need some sanding- but it looks awesome. I just have to wait for the epoxy to cure after 72 hours.

So... I attempted to stain the body and made a mess. The yellow color of the bass body did not mix well with the dark stain. After trying a few things I eventually coated the thing, and it looked really good on the back side... but the front side did not look good at all. And then I accidentally spilled paint thinner all over it. So... I'm going to resand it, and then paint it a solid color.

I think that's all I'll be able to do for a long time. I'm putting this project on the shelf for a while.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Bass Update #6

Bass Update #6

So applying epoxy isn't as easy as I thought. The 2 part crystal clear epoxy will harden to a glass like finish- which is awesome on a fretless fingerboard. It prevents string wear, and adds its own tone to the mix. Jaco Pastorious, according to legend, pried the frets off his bass and coated the neck in epoxy. Without the thick layer of epoxy, the roundwound strings would eat through the fingerboard and cause all sorts of problems later on. I join the ranks of 500 bored teenagers that have taken apart their guitars in the name of science.

Problems can mess it all up though. I combined the two parts and mixed it too much... causing microscopic bubbles to develop. I then brushed it on too thin... and didn't blow out the bubbles like I was supposed to. The result was a glassy surface that looked like the craters of the moon. I had to sand it off and start all over again.

This time I mixed it better, there were only a few bubbles. I then poured it on thick and smoothed it out with a sponge brush. The epoxy evened itself out and there were few bubbles to be seen. I checked the surface with light and saw that there were a few tiny dust particles that show up here and there on the neck. When the epoxy hardens in a couple days, I'll wet sand some of the rough spots and give it another coat. I think two coats will do the job.

Sticky stuff. I'm not sure how the professionals do it. HG Thor Guitar Lab specializes in fretless neck epoxy coatings. They create a crystal clear job that looks awesome from the pictures I've seen. I'm not aiming for a super professional job, I just want something that looks neat and sounds awesome. The cure time is 72 hours... so I'm going to wait and then sand and recoat. Then wait another 72 hours, and then sand and buff.

It doesn't look like staining will work... so I'm thinking of a solid color.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Bass Update #5

Bass Update #5:

There isn't much left to do before I repaint this thing. I had to take care of some screw holes in the body though.

I filled in the pickguard screw holes and tuner screw holes with toothpicks and wood glue.

After the glue dried I cut the toothpicks flush to the rest of the body and headstock and sanded it down. No more holes. There's some more final sanding I need to do to the body before I try to color the wood. I hate sanding. The reshaped headstock gives the old neck a new look. The neck will be coated with an epoxy to protect the fingerboard.

this just in:

Water droplets on the Mars Rover?!
NASA is unsure what those little blobs were on the limb of the Mars Rover Phoenix. On thing is certain that as Phoenix moved around the blobs changed shape and eventually disappeared later in the mission.
you decide.

Monday, March 16, 2009


Everyone subscribe to NOTTBLOCK on iTunes!

I was lucky enough to submit some original music for this project by the Nott Brothers & Co. I think they're hilarious, and they've put an incredible amount of effort into this (I think).

Even though my part was minimal at best, take some time out of your busy day to watch it.

you can also watch the series on youtube:

Friday, March 13, 2009

Bass Update #4

I am not an expert with electronics. I tend to burn myself with the soldering iron. I need a new volume pot.... or not (I think I have one laying around somewhere). This bass has one of the simplest wiring configuration of any instrument, and yet I am confused. All I really have to do is reconnect the volume pot and the output, but even that has me scratching my head.

I wanted new pickups, but I'm going to see how the old ones sound. They were seriously only used for like 5 years before sitting in the closet for an equal amount of time. They should sound great.

Yes. This is boring. I don't give a crap.

Bass Update #3

Bass Update#3

Haven't really done much on the bass body. I've sanded it down to a reasonable level, but I'm still not satisfied with some of the curves, and I'm too afraid to make a drastic decision right now. I still need to round it out some more.

I did end up defretting the neck (but forgot to take pictures). Defretting can be difficult business. Tearing out the fret wire can chew up the neck, and cause lots of wood pullout. Standard procedure for a defret is to heat up the fret with a soldering iron and gently wedge the end of a knife or some pliers under the wire itself. I used a soldering iron for the first few frets, but found that they weren't entirely snug in their slots to begin with. I slipped the edge of the blade under the wire and carefully wiggled them free. I had a few chips from pullout, but I quickly super glued them down. I was finished in about half an hour because the frets came out really easy.

Normally you would then clean out and fill the empty fret slots with thin wood veneer, gluing them in place. I opted for the quicker wood filler method. You have to fill the slots with a filler that won't shrink or expand in heat or humidity. It isn't as clean as the other method, but I didn't really care anyway. After the wood filler dried overnight, I sanded everything flush with different grades of sandpaper. I wanted to match the color of the Maple, but when it dried it looked a slight shade lighter. The lines look good. The next step is to coat the fingerboard with clear epoxy to prevent string wear and provide a hardened surface. I don't know when I'll get around to that step.

It was easy.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

me vs. garit's IM #2

me: dude. Sent at 1:38 PM on Wednesday

me: dude?


Sent at 1:52 PM on Wednesday

me: dude.
d u d e
Sent at 1:54 PM on Wednesday

me: dude


duuuuude Sent at 1:58 PM on Wednesday

me: dude?


dude.... dude!
Sent at 2:00 PM on Wednesday




Sent at 2:13 PM on Wednesday

if you write a word over and over it seems to lose its meaning completely.
The Slowburger: A half pound beef patty, gruyere, onion rings, butter lettuce and pickle relish.

I would totally eat that.

I'm really tired. I was up late last night working on stuff. I can't remember the last time I really had a good night's sleep. I kept thinking about all this stuff, and had nightmares about missing tests and whatnot.

I'm stressed out... I just want to sleep.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Monday, March 9, 2009

me vs. garit's IM

me: wallflowers pwn magneto. Sent at 2:36 PM on Monday

me: seriously? i thought that would get you for sure.
how about a fat hammock fish sandwich on your face? Sent at 2:40 PM on Monday

me: nothing.
mono AM radio is better than HD anything!!black and white TV kills 1080p!!

me: you wore old man socks.


you have 0 lumens. lol Sent at 3:05 PM on Monday

me: ZERO LUMENS!!!!!!

HGUGHGYUGUGHGUG Sent at 3:09 PM on Monday

me: That was the sound of my brain exploding.



Jakob Dylan....

6th Avenue Heartache...

One Headlight.


I applied to grad school.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

ha is a freaking tabloid.

Is any of it real news?

Friday, March 6, 2009

Late Night

I've been recording Late Night with Jimmy Fallon to see what his show is all about. I'm ok with it. I'm not going to rave about it, because I know it's a new show- and let's be honest, most talk shows kind of suck until they find their groove. There have been many many talk shows that have fallen away because of poor ratings or whatever, but I'd like to see Mr. Fallon succeed.

Fallon at first seemed like a weird choice to head up a late night talk type format show. Though his SNL credibility makes him an obvious funny man (if he could stay in character dangit!) I wondered what it will be like when its just him, some random folks and the cameras. His appearances on Conan O'brien made me believe that his show would be him shouting at people in weird accents or impressions... Kinda like Robin Williams' standup routine from the 70's. That scared me a bit, but then I thought, what other talk show host can do so many impersonations? None. After watching a few episodes I've come to a few conclusions:

The Roots is an awesome house band. I've never listened to the Roots before, and that's probably because I'm not into an R&B, hip hop type of anything. They have huge catalog to draw from and they can play. Other house bands I can think of (other than... Joe Firstman? I never watch Last Call with Carson Daly) are more like Letterman's CBS Orchestra, with a group of folks that can play very well, but seem kind of lifeless off camera. The Roots don't have that problem.

Fallon's timing with his monologue and throughout the show reminds me of his stint on Weekend Update. I'm not sure if there's some miscommunication with the cue card guy, or if he's throwing in pauses for comedic effect, but it seems a little awkward. Which is because the show is new. But Fallon has been on tv for a long time, and has lots of experience... so I don't know what else to blame it on other than jitters. He also doesn't know how to react to the audience, O'Brien will make fun of himself or his writers, Leno will brush it off with more lame jokes, but Fallon just stands there methodically waiting for the next cue card.

I like the audience interaction I've seen thus far. Bringing up strangers on camera can be a good or a bad thing, but Fallon seems to know what he's doing. Some of the gag interaction with writers placed in the audience has been... eh. Fallon's wandering eye contact makes me wonder who he's looking at.

The celebrity guest list has some big names- to get people to watch and it shows that NBC wants Fallon to do well. Lorne Michaels is producing it so he can definitely pull some strings around the network if he has to.

The critics will rip the show apart for a couple of years, and Fallon will sail through ok. NBC did the same thing with O'Brien, so I'm not surprised there.

I'm in a Late show transition period now that Conan is off the air. I don't know which show to follow. I used to watch Letterman a lot. Leno's monologue is good, but I don't care much for the rest of the show after that. I tried watching Jimmy Kimmel, but... He is a good interviewer though. Carson Daly is a smuggy wastard, and his guests are second rate at best.

I'm going to watch every show for a week and find out which one I will follow this year.

Bass update#3

Warning to Nat: You should probably just ignore my blog for awhile.

This is really boring.

After using a wood rasp and endless amounts of sanding, I've shaped both horns of the body down to something smaller, and rounded. I'm going to give the entire body a more rounded contour, instead of the blocky board shape it once was.

The upper horn needs some more work, but I've been working on the overall contours of the entire body for now. Sucking down sawdust is not my favorite thing in the world.

This picture looks kinda weird. The diembodied hand is on the newsprint. I'm still not satisfied with the entire shape... and these pictures don't really show what I'm talking about. I'll probably have to saw off some wood to make the upper curve just right, but for now its ok.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

bass update #2

Warning to Nat: just skip this post.

Way too boring.

Bass Guitar Update #2

After a few more passes with the electric sander... I have discovered that the body is made of plywood! Yes.. cheap old plywood. Which is ok, and now that I think about it, about right for a cheap bass guitar made in Indonesia. After a quick search it seems that most of Ibanez's guitars come from that part of the globe anyway. I'll have to check where my other bass was made (Japan? probably not). The 19 or 20 different layers give it a weird rainbow effect... which will work to my advantage once I saw down and reshape the body.

Right now I've just started working on the reshape of the lower horn (not pictured). I'm giving the body a more rounded shape, something similar to a Warwick design. I'm not sure what to do with the upper horn just yet, or how much I really want to remove from the entire body itself. I just don't want a typical p-bass design, you know? Careful sanding and rasping should give me a good idea in the week. After that, I'll go with the wood staining and once all the parts are collected, see if it fits and hook it all up together. If the staining idea doesn't fly, I will probably mask the sides with a dark color that fades into a "burst-like" stain, or other color.

The weather has been nice the past few days. Makes me want to finish working on the Peugeot bike frame I got last year.