Thursday, December 30, 2010

John Mayer - Live Intro to "Neon" from Where the Light is Tabulature

I heard this tune in a cabin with a wood burning stove and no electricity last week and the jazzy intro he did really clicked with me. I went googling this week to see if anyone tabbed it but found mostly well-intentioned but incorrect versions penned by the tone deaf Internet masses. Youtube was worse. There was some guy who had somehow managed to record himself playing the bass riff with the timing backwards. No one was doing the triplets, no one was doing the muted ghost notes.. So...

I went into Guitar Tabulature Obsessive Compulsive Disorder mode and bend my ear around it for a few days. I just submitted it to a John Mayer discussion group to chew on. This is a pet peeve of mine, nice people who post tabs and videos of themselves showing others how to play something totally wrong so that it propegates like a virus and then they make videos and it gets worse. That is kind of why I named my Blog Purple Monkey Dishwasher. It's like rewriting Shakespeare in Pig Latin and telling everyone that is how you perform it. Well UCKFAY ATTHAY!

Here's a link: Neon live intro from WhereThe Light Is.PDF


- In measure 1, he plays all those bass runs with thumbed downstrokes.
- In measure 4, he starts the first chord snatch with a slide in. He only does this once (neat).
- Also in measure 4, the (0) on the 4th string and all that follow from time to time on the 4th and 5th I'm pretty sure are missed muted notes, but they sound cool open like that so no worries. In fact I'm glad he missed a few because that was the clue that he was doing those "muties" on the 4th and 5th strings.
- In measure 6, the (0), x, x, is an example of how Mayer uses his thumb for these "muties" and slaps. The first (0) he misses the mute and plays the 4th string open, the next "X" is a slapped with the thumb and the second "X" is a muted ghost note. The guy is all thumbs man!
- A note on muted slaps or clicks, most people seem to slap the whole face of the guitar (A la "More than Words") or they just slap the low E. A great thing to get into is slapping the wound bass string you are going to play next. It's a great time saver (Antoine Dufour taught me that one).
- In measure 7 he frets the 3 note chords (and almost all that follow) by barring with his pinky on the 3rd and 4th strings
- In measure 8 we get the first of many OPEN 6th string thumb slaps. He slaps some and just plucks the others. Mayer has huge thumbs and this is a skill to learn. Go watch some bass vids on youtube if you don't get the sound you want. You can hit all of these first note in a measure low C's with a slap and it would sound great.
- In measure 9 we get into the triplets that I love (that everyone misses). I believe he plays these T(humb) I(ndex) T(humb) but there are many different ways to achieve this. I even tried a left hand slap but the way I've written it seemed to match the recording the best.
- Just to be sure the Triplet things are preceded by a "T" (mute with thumb on 5th string) and then "T" slap with thumb on 5th string - "I" mute with Index on 4th string - "T" Mute with thumb on 5th string).
- Halfway through measure 11 he changes the 3 note chord slightly. It may have just been a great sounding mistake. I'm keeping this in the version I play because it sounds cool.
- After measure 13, the chord snatches after the first open "C" are all slightly different. These could be simplified if you don't want to sound like a MP3 player and play every variation.
- Halfway through measure 21 he hits the open 5th string instead of the 9th fret on the 6th. You could play it either way.
- Also in measure 21 he hits some harmonic by mistake sliding down the 6th string from the 12 fret. I make it by the 6th fret.

So it's what I heard on the recording, you may not wish to reproduce all of the gory detail. I'm happy with this tab.

And if you want to see WHY I tabbed it. It's mostly because of all these videos below. Watch the real one on top for about a minute and then check out these guys. I thank them for sharing and I'm sure they were all well intentioned. The last one is not to bad. I especially l love some of the comments in their channels, both positive and negative.

(backwards guy, I just notices he plays it right the 1st time and backwards almost every time after that)

Hey, he's giving me the finger!

This guy has slowed it down to teach people his version. He seems very nice.

This guy was they closest..

They keep coming!!!!!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Gloucester Battle of the bands 1986

  My recent re-viewing of Scott Pilgrim vs the World brought back memories of Gloucester Teen Talent Battle of the bands. These are one of those rare times where you wish ill will and heaps of misfortune on your co-competitors. Something bad happens to some band during their act like some amp going down or someone breaking a guitar string and you are like "Yeah! Turn up the 'suck-o-meter'! Let's have more of that!".

I guess it's like watching Olympic figure skating and you're screaming at the non-Canadian skaters to fall on their asses or for some trailer-trash husband to come out of an alley with a lead pipe to the knee(or whatever it was in the Kerrigan affair).

The first year we did it in 1986 we had auditioned with one singer, landed a spot and then had to switch singers for the competition (long story). So we had a new singer and only one song we all knew, a cover of 'Everybody wants to rule the world' by Tears for Fears. We were up against 3 or 4 other bands but the one we thought was the best were a group called 'The Related'. Apparently most of them were all actually related somehow, cousins and so forth. We secretly believed the relations had to do with inbreeding and affectionately referred to them as "The Retarded" (political correctness being non-existant in 1986), because we hated them for no reason. We were called 'After the Fact' and they apparently had a nickname for us involving a slang for homosexuals.

Truth be told they were a better band than us. They had a horn section and everything. They also understood about image. They showed up to events (movies, rock concerts they were not playing in) as a group and were kind of all wearing the same clothes (Duran Duran suits of different pastel colors. The guitarist had a 'duster' remember those?) so they beat us handily. I'm not sure what happened to the band but their football linebacker drummer showed up at my door once sell me a vacuum cleaner. If he sold another two he was going to win a trip to Disneyland (we did not buy it). My friend Mike's mother made the guy clean half the house as part of the demo and didn't buy it either! Muhahahahahaha!

The next year we were much more polished and stood a good chance to win but our main competition was a great band called "Back to Front". They had a sampler. GAME OVER! (Ooh my god they have a sampler!). They had a great song called "I'll Wait" and they started the song with the sampler going "I"ll Wait.. I' - I' - I'll Wait!". It was pretty awesome. It looked like they were gonna beat us too, but on the second night, their sampler broke down and the guitarist blew something in his amp and the whole song had no guitar. He basically air-guitar-ed the song. HAHAHAHAHA! There's hope! We went out and nailed a great performance but WE STILL LOST!

Our drummer went out and bought a sampler the next week.

Monday, December 06, 2010

When guys kiss & the Victoria Secrets fashion show on TV

The other day at break one of the guys was discussing the Victoria Secrets Fashion show on TV. This was a TV special where all of the VS models paraded down a big runway on TV in the latest lingerie fashions accompanied by live music from various artists. I missed it because in the same time slot, Bog Sagget was on TV looking for Bigfoot (ok, I forgot Victoria Secrets was on).. This year, Katy Perry was one of the musical guests. I like Katy Perry. I really like the middle 8 section in her Teenage Dream song. Nice lines and hooks in that one (the models too). 

I asked if she did her 1st hit "I kissed a Girl and I liked it", considering the event, and the circumstances, they could have had some fun with that one, but alas.. No.. It was not to be.. At this point one of the guys chimed in with a tidbit of information gleaned from his niece in Calgary Alberta. Apparently word is that in the dance clubs, girls kiss each other to freak the guys in attendance out and garner their interest. Ok. I can see how that would work - then suddenly I was reminded of something from my childhood.

I was in a band at the time, probably 16 or 17 years old, and the drummer and the singer (both guys) were really close friends and they had this bit they would do where they would fake kiss sometimes (another funny tidbit is that their names were also girl names, Like Sandy and Leigh (Lee), but I digress). The trick involved one of them placing his thumb on the other guys eye teeth and then planting his lips on his own thumb. It looks like you are holding the other person's face and the hands hide the fact that there is no touching of the mucous membranes..

I was never comfortable when they'd do that to each other back then. Maybe if it was two Victoria secret's models I would have felt differently.. . ;-)

Eddy Van Cockroach

GROTDFAY 104 2010-11-29 Eddy Van Cockroach by Zartimus

Eddy, my friend Lisa's Madagascar Hissing cockroach (she is into bugs) died last week. She posted something to facebook and condolences poured in. Some guy said he was going to dedicate a poem to Eddy. I thought I'd dedicate a guitar riff of the day to him.

Eddy reminded me of Eddie Van Halen , whose music and guitar playing I grew up with, and so it's something in that style. Eddie has a formula of sorts. Start off with a fast shuffle double-bass drum-beat. Do a pick slide/scrape into a two-handed hammer-on lick on the bass strings, insert wacky verse riff, noodle with pentatonic box patterns low on the neck, throw in some three note per strings scales that make no musical sense but still sound good for some reason. Kick the whole thing up an octave 12 frets and do more pentatonic box licks with more bends this time,  Insert more two handed tapping and do some tremolo picking followed by random whammy-bar action. Dive-bar harmonics and artificial pig squeal harmonics go here. Lather rinse repeat.

Recorded on a Line 6 pod X3 Pro with my Kramer Pacer Deluxe 2.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

The People of Walmart

Scary SCARY site I stumbled across. These are scary frickin' people that shop at Walmart wearing clothes that should have been thrown out after Halloween or burned after the wearer was processed at the police station/shelter/mental hospital. And the bodies make the clothes in this case, not the other way around. Holy Crap! Whoever supplies the captions should be writing for David Letterman...

Check it out in all it's ghastly glory...

Here are a few of my favorites with photo and captions taken from the site. 


He is wearing… a trash bag… as a skirt. I can’t even fathom a reason why! – “Well maybe it was some sort of an emergency.” Who knows what he is going to use the Tupperware for.


Flannel Pimp

(1) Sweet hat. (2) Sweeter sideburns. (3) Yes I believe it Voodoo.


The Incredible Jorts

Let’s hope this new Incredible Hulk style of wearing your jorts doesn’t catch on….or if it does that it at least comes with less fupa.

Hairy Situation

Ughhh, it looks like you got into a fight with a stubborn octopus like 12 years ago that wouldn’t let go. Knock him off already will ya?


Animal from the Muppet Show

Now all we need is Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem for a reunion tour.


I see blue! He looks glorious!

Oh damn, Santa is workin’ it!

Acoustic Fingerstyle Guitarists I really dig!

Here's my who's who of extreme acoustic fingerstyle/body percussion/Heavy Wood guitarists who use alternate tuning.

Thomas Leeb. Discovered him quite by accident by word of mouth at a guitar seminar. Got to meet the man a year later at a Cannington guitar weekend seminar thingy. Amazing player. I love his blend of slap and tap. Wonderful sense of timing and I love the Scratch pad he has taped on the lower bought to get some of his funky sounds! I taped one on my guitar shortly afterward. Here is a vid of "Desert Pirate", one of my faves. You have to see his version of "No woman No cry" and he can get quite mellow too, check out Akaskero.

Andy Mckee. Andy is an awesome guy from Kansas who I got to know through Don Ross's yahoo group and email list. It wasn't long before people on the list began talking about Andy's playing and I soon found myself ordering his latest CD and being blown away by his cover of "Africa". So good were his compositions that pretty soon I had all of his stuff and TAB books from Taiwan. Apparently Taiwan discovered what we would all learn later. Andy ROCKS! They love him there. I also had the occasion to study with him a few times over the years (Big hair Andy and short hair Andy). It was wonderful to be able to sit down and ask him exactly how he did what he did, and to have him show us, and me video it so I could take it back to the woodshed to learn later. A fellow video game-aholic as well. My favorite tune if his has to be "Keys to the Hovercar" (below). He is famous for Drifting and be sure to check out Africa (he is definitely using all the parts of his brain on that one) and his cover of Everybody wants to rule the world.

Antoine Dufour. Antoine is the most technically gifted guitarist I have ever met and seen play up close.Every thing he does with his fingers has a purpose and fngering and fretting selection has been so well-thought out in advance that he always plays his tunes in the most efficient way possible. When I learn tunes like these, I always second-guess the fingering when indicated. EXCEPT for this guy. Just do what the master says an, and you'll be ok. He taught me to do dampened thumbslaps on the bass string you are ABOUT to play. What a good friggin idea! He plays ahead! he also made me re-think fast alternating lines, borrowing right-hand technique from banjo players because the anatomy of the hand is made such that adjacent fingers are not as fast as opposing digits. BOOYA! One of my favorite songs of his is "Song for Stephen" (below) because it is a perfect analysis of his fingering construction. Check out Spiritual Groove, his mellow Catching the Light, and my new favorite "the Drive within".

Preston Reed ( is a guitarist I found out about through Andy Mckee as he is one of his guitar heroes. Preston kind of pioneered the "Over the top" body percussion I think, although many guitarists do a form of it. Preston takes it to the next level. My favs in his roster include "Ladies Night" (below), Slap Funk, and Tribes. One my other favorite Preston reed song is Accelerator, but there's no vids of him playing it, here's a link of an awesome cover by someone else.

Erik Mongrain I only like one song from Erik, I'm not really into his other stuff, but his one song, Airtap, is such a monster awesome tune, that all you really have to do is stand back and just watch the video. I got the music to this last summer (a guitar buddy transcribed it) and I hope to play it one day. Funny story about when I I met Erik at the Canadian Guitar festival a few years ago. I help film these events and when I was between shoots I spotted him on the side stage and walked up to tell him how awesome I thought Air Tap was and his handlers started piling press-kits and CD's in my hands because I was wearing a pass and big can headphones and they thought I was someone important. Doh!

Michael Hedges is a pioneer of finger-style alternate tuning. Before his untimely death in 1997 he helped bring it into the mainstream a bit. He was kind of weird and would do yoga onstage and stuff, and his onstage presence was that of a Stephen Wrightish comedian. he also did strange covers, which was very neat. Buffalo stance by Neena Cherry. Go figure. Jitterboogie is one of my favs, along with Sofa number1 (a Frank Zappa tune) and Layover. Also, Eleven Small Roaches! He has a great bunch of dedicated fans who have tabbed all of his stuff over at

Don Ross is the big guy on my list. Way back in the early 1990's, I had just kinda quit the music scene and was starting college, I happened to encounter a late-night radio program in Ottawa called open air. The DJ, Mike Juunta played a tune by Don called First RideCD's and sent away in the mail for the 3 tabs he had at the time and holed up in a hotel room in Montreal for three days and learned it. I had not dabbled in alternate tunings at all and it really kicked my butt.Check out The First Ride, Dracula and friends, Afraid to Dance, Thin Air , Robot Monster, and Catherine.

Since hearing that tune all those years ago I've been fortunate enough to become a student. Don is Da man when it comes to this kind of guitar playing and he's still cranking out tunes!

There's many more out there, but these guys are my favorites.


Sunday, November 28, 2010

Guitar Riff a day for a year - September ones I like

I've been doing a Guitar Riff a day since mid-august at this website. I popped over 100 of them the other day so I thought I'd go back and check out the ones I liked from each given month.. This was September. As long as I don't repeat myself, I'll be happy.

I like where this one ended up.. Nice and airy..

GROTDFAY 028 2010-09-14 by Zartimus

This was a slap thing, something I'm trying out on the electric. Needs work!

GROTDFAY 032 2010-09-18 by Zartimus

A laid-back thing.

GROTDFAY 038 2010-09-24 by Zartimus

A country thang..

GROTDFAY 042 2010-09-28 by Zartimus

Fast picking. reminds me of a GooGoo dolls tunes.

GROTDFAY 044 2010-09-30 by Zartimus

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

You should buy Mark's house.

Buy Mark's house in Barrhaven Ontario, Canada, Planet Earth. It's very roomy. Free disco lessons.

Love and war: Should a married couple be allowed to sleep together in a war zone?

I was just reading an article on Canada's Brig.Gen Menard in Afghanistan facing a court martial over hanky panky with a lower ranking forces member and came across the line "Military regulations prohibits soldiers, even married military couples, from having sexual relations while on deployment".

What? Really? Man. That is harsh. Good thing I never joined the Canadian Military! I'm pretty sure I'm not supposed to have sexual relations (we talking Bill Clinton's definition?) at the workplace with my spouse, but hey,after a day's work,  when one is off the payroll, what business does anyone's employer have in trying to control that particular aspect of one's life? Who's to say that a married couple can't co-habitate when deployed to the same theater? This doesn't happen in the US or Canadian Navies apparently, they split them up, but in the army, it seems to happen and the couples are not allowed to touch each other, or acknowledge that they are even married.  I find certain military and para military organizations have way too much control over your life. It appears they can uproot you whenever they want and ship you halfway across the globe and if you don't like it you can quit. Controlling your sex life is just a whole other level. Work should have no place in your damned bedroom. I've heard military people say that it would not be fair across the board for certain members to have date nights while others are stuck far away from their spouses for months at a time but I think that is petty. I'm sure military couples have lots of drawbacks they have to deal with and they should take the good with the bad. We're not talking on a Submarine here, if it's not in your face and other people don't like it they should learn to live and let live.

To be fair, there are probably a good many reasons to split couples up in time of war. God forbid that a spouse get injured in combat in front of their partner and the other individual is not able to grieve and has to keep right on working, all the while absorbed in the loss of a loved one, but it's nothing that isn't happening all over the world as I type this, with bands of guerrilla fighters in dictatorships who are going through much worse things than we can possibly imagine.

The ancient Greeks used to have groups of soldiers who were all sexual partners (the Sacred band of Thebes). They were apparently very bad-ass and if one of them was killed the partner fought savagely to avenge that death. Interesting if you think about it. During the second World War the US appeared to group soldiers together from the same neighborhood, in the thinking that you would band together quicker with people you knew, and had a genuine like for, as opposed to Vietnam, where groups of strangers  wouldn't even bother to learn your name unless you could last at least 30 days first..

 The US military has recently lifted the no sex thing while in a combat zone in Afghanistan and Iraq. Maybe the Canadian military will follow suite. It kind of reminds me of when I was a teenager and I had a friend who worked at McDonalds and they told me of the "No Dating" rule they had there. Staff were not supposed to "hook up" and I guess they fired one or both of you in that case.

It's pretty hard to control human nature. That's millions of years of evolution they're going against..

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Jimi Hendrix Experience Tour 2010

I attended the Ottawa leg of the Jimi Hendrix Experience tour last week at the NAC. The two guitarists that got me there were Eric Johnson and Steve Vai respectively but I was pleasantly surprised with the other guys playing on the night. "Burnin" Vernor Reid was there. Remember him from "Living Color"? They had that hit "Cult of Personality" back in the 80's? I never liked him much. I found his lightning fast solos to be nothing more than him tremolo-picking 124 and 134 fingering patterns up and down all six strings in areas on the neck sort of relative to the key of the song. He doesn't really worry too much about being "in the key of anything".. Still, his bass player was great and the singer has a great voice. He reminded me of "Re-run from the TV sitcom "What's happening" though. (this is not a good thing).
 Jimi's original bass player was there. He opened the show with this pirate guitarist, one of the Isley brothers. He can still pound out a baseline and sing!

Eric Johnson came out and did some obscure Hendrix tunes. His sound was awesome as always and his clean sound on the ballad he did killed. I wonder if he drove up to Ottawa (I hear he doesn't like to fly). Eric's not as animated as the other guitarist on the ticket but he lives and breathes Hendrix and I don't think anyone else on the evening got it as right as he did.

The biggest surprise for me was Kenny Wayne Sheppard. he was the one who channeled the spirit of Hendrix that night. He was awesome. He got to do a 15 minute rendition of Voodoo Chile and really did Jimi justice. I'm going to check out some of his stuff now. Also on the bill was Johnny Lang, whom I mix up with Kenny Wayne Sheppard, so know I know the difference. (Kenny Wayne is much better!). Lang seems to play with his fingers and no pick which has always bugged me unless you're Jeff beck or that guy from Dire straights. You limit yourself in this style when you don't use plectrum.

There was a very Interesting Hawaiian guitar`lap steel player who did a great version of Purple Haze with two other guys. I forget his name but he was very cool.

By the time Steve Vai came on i was quite tired of the Pentatonic orgy that had been going on and was looking forward to someone who could play full linear scale melodies for a change and Vai did not disappoint. he was his quirky self and this is the first time I have ever seen him play without his big fan down by his pedal board blowing his hair back like some hooded cobra snake guitar god..

He did things with his guitar that night that I am still trying to figure out..

The sold-out crowd was also impressive. I could not get over how the 16 year old girl next to me knew all the words to some of the obscure Hendrix tunes I had never heard of. Go figure. Too bad that guy died young. I would have liked to have seen the further pinnacles of guitardom he would certainly have achieved.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Chicken shit mix

Hypo Luxa is the "producer" secret identity of Al Jourgensen of Ministry. In 1991 he was called in to do a re-mix of the Red Hot Chili pepper's "Give it away", the first single off Blood Sugar Sex Magik. It was not going well and depending on who you talk too, he brought a chicken into the studio to help make it right. There's a Cuban superstition where you kill a chicken and it absorbs all the bad spirits, but he kept this one very much alive and simply blew pot smoke in the chicken's face and set him down on the mixing board where it proceeded to crap all over the channels and everywhere it crapped they either erased that track, or emhasized it in the mix. Thus, it became known as the "chicken shit mix".

I love random acts of music production like that. Not only is it a great story, but I'm sure you get a 50% chance of improving the mix by taking it out of human hands in certain places.

"The chicken was put on a podium with a strobe light between two speakers, and it started going to the beat, that's when they knew the mix was done. (Al also claims to have driven motorcycles around in the studio)"

There's a small blurb about it here in a Ministry faq (search for "the chicken incident"), I first heard about it on Alan Cross's radio show.


Tuesday, October 05, 2010

120 pound journey

Great vid someone posted on Facebook. Hats off to the guy! Awesome! His vid's well done too. I had me a 60-20 pound journey once ;-). (I hope Coldplay doesn't sue him - they should pay him, he's about get one million views)

My 120 Pound Journey

Monday, October 04, 2010

New (custom) Ibanez Plexi Jem style guitar (I'm keeping my tele)

Some things are just meant to be. I've been thinking about a new guitar building project for awhile now, initially thinking about selling the natural wood custom Tele I built in 2001 (my 911 guitar, I ordered all the wood and parts online from the week before the towers fell and it was held up for weeks while the border was shut down). I was gravitating towards a solid blue color hot-rodded tele in it's place. I certainly wasn't playing it so I dragged it out of storage, fixed up a wiring problem and tweaked the neck a bit to clean it up and sell it. Then a funny thing happened. I forgot what a nice guitar it was! I can't sell this! I built it! It's like a beloved pet or kid or something!

So. I'm keeping it. I'll find a place for it!

I went online (Kijiji) to check some woods for a new build anyway and found someone right down the road from me selling some Ibanez Jem Style bodies with the monkey grip along with some 24 fret necks. THAT was interesting. I was learning a violin piece arranged for a 24 fret guitar and cursing the guy who put it in that key, because the most frets I have on any of my electrics is 22, and I had to play the thing an octave lower in one spot (why didn't he make it for a 7 string guitar while he's at it, everyone has one of those lying around! Meh!).

So, kill two birds with one stone! Get a new guitar build going, gain a 24 fret guitar, play the 5th Caprice the way it was meant to be played, it's a win win! So I emailed the guy. And heard nothing for a few days... I checked his other ads to see if he had been online recently and WHAMMO! I saw THIS!

HOLY CRAP! It's one of those See through jobbies like the one Steve Vai plays in Bad Horsie! (well not exactly as it turns out!!) It's got a blue headstock and semi transparent pickguard. man, that looks coool. I wonder how it feels? So I emailed the guy again "Hey I'm interested in those woods AND do you still have that plexi guitar! Tell me about THAT!" And I heard nothing...

So I emailed him again just in case the first two emails didn't go through, and I waited like 4 days. This was getting to be like a bad 1st date or something (should I call? is that bad? is it too soon? is he on vacation? ).  Every day the hit counter on the guy's ad would go up,
"CRAP! 500 people have looked at it! It's got to be gone by now!".
 It's always a bad idea when buying something to appear as if you really WANT it badly. No room to maneuver price-wise, but it was too late. I was thinking about this damn thing all the time now. I had to play it and see if it felt any good. Maybe it just LOOKED good and that's why the guy was offloading it. Maybe it was some flashy experiment gone wrong. The thing probably weighs a ton (it does)!

After a few more days I couldn't take it any more. All the guy had was an email address and that wasn't working so I went digging around on the net, all over the place (how many guitar builders can there be in Orleans? he must hang out on the Jem site) and I lucked out and got some possible phone numbers. I hit pay dirt on the first one and got the guy who was selling the thing. Turns out, when it comes to the Internet, he doesn't live on it like the rest of us, and hasn't checked his ads since they went up. 


I went over and played it and the thing feels phenomenal. Sound isn't as big an issue with me as feel because you can do quite a bit to change and tweak the sound but as luck would have it.. IT SOUNDS GREAT TOO! I have never had a humbucker in the front like this, always Single coil single coil humbucker, but maybe Steve Vai has something here. I quite like it!

I bought it at the asking price. I have no idea why he parted with it, other than he told me he had too many guitars and just couldn't give it the love it deserved. Well, no problem here. I love it! This quirky guitar is now my favorite electric in the bunch, and the fact that you can flick a switch and make it glow in the dark is just icing on the cake! It's looks pretty and it feels pretty and it sounds pretty. It's like a playboy Bunny kinda! But LOUDER!!

What am I going to name it?

I also picked up a body and neck so they'll be a new guitar down the road (if I can get to it before winter). It's going to be a swirl guitar!


Friday, October 01, 2010

How to figure out fast crazy guitar $hit

Most guitar tabs suck. If you've ever found yourself looking at a tab and scratching your head because there's no way in hell it's right then welcome to my world. Free Internet tabs especially suck.Transcriptions done by people who are good at it can be great, artists that help by sending video of themselves playing the tune to the transcribers help immensely. Tabulature can start you off, and save you some time, and give you some choices, but if you want to play that thing right, and you suspect it's wrong in the tab, then you gotta figure it out yourself.

1. Find some fast crazy semi-impossible guitar lick you want to play in MP3 format.
2. Get ahold of some slow-down software for the PC like Transcribe or The Amazing Slow-downer that allow you to slow music down but keep the pitch. Regular audio programs lower the pitch when they slow a waveform down, kind of like playing a 45 on the 33 LP setting of your record player(gee what's a record player?).
3. Using the slow-down software you've loaded your MP3 into, isolate and loop  a 1 to 2 second manageable lick that you can keep in your head and eventually hum to yourself. You have to be able to recreate it by hearing how it goes in your head and keep it there.
4. To help do this SLOW IT DOWN but maintain the recorded pitch. Select a section and loop it.

5. Listen to it until you can hum it to yourself. If you can't slow it down some more or shorten the length of the snippet of the lick you're listening to.
6. Identify where it's being played on the guitar neck. If it's high or low, that's easy, if it's mid range and you can do the same lick on several spots on the neck, listen for wound strings verses unwound. Check for ringing open strings. Look for areas in the minor pentatonic scales where it is easiest to play. Get a live video of the artist and watch the hand position at the part in question (music videos are not good for this, the video is often used out of sequence and shows the guitarist's hand down at the nut when he is playing some wailing note high up the neck - IDIOTS!). Identifying where the lick is played eventually becomes second nature, but it's the hardest thing when you're starting out.  Sometimes the easiest way to play it is not what is on tape (like the rhythm part for Eric Johnson's Cliffs of Dover, most misplayed thing on the planet).

Here's a bit I'm trying to learn. It's the start of the second set of solo breaks  from "Juice" by Steve Vai. It's a fiddly little bit and I want to nail it.

Here it is at 100% speed, looped 4 times.

02 Juice Lick 100 by Zartimus

Here it is at 50% speed. Now you can see where everything goes

02 Juice Lick 50 by Zartimus

If you're still stuck, check it out at 25%.

02 Juice Lick 25 by Zartimus

You can hear the pick scrapes indicating picked notes. No pick scrapes and the general direction of the notes (up or down) indicate pulls offs and hammer ons. Bends are easy to hear. Right hand tapped notes have a weird attack overtone to them and become easy to hear after awhile. Same for slides and other types of slurs. Note groupings with bends and pull offs are dead giveaways to position.

If you want to be really cool, get a free tab program and write it out, so you don't forget. plus it will give you something to upload to guitar forums and get made fun of by people!

I don't know what I'd do without slow down software! When I was a kid I remember learning Hot for Teacher (Tab Mags were just starting out i the early to mid 80's) by putting it on my turntable and adjusting the speed until I got it running an octave slower. ACK! Later on I had a fostex 4 track which could do analog pitch shifting. Thank god for computers!

Here's a vid of Steve Vai playing it. He hits it at about 2 minutes :20 seconds.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

More Funny Avatars #2

Avatar (computing), the graphical representation of a user. So, these weird websites I happen to go to that have weird forums with weird people and most of them have weird avatars. Cool little thumbnail graphics standing in for a picture of themselves. I always snag the funny ones I see, and it's been a few years since last I blogged a set of them. Here goes!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Paranormal activity in the 6 year old

Last night at 23:30 as I was climbing the stairs to bed (yeah I know, early for me!) I smelled something burning in the kitchen and went to check on it. No worries, my wife had started the auto-clean program on our oven so the house sort of smelled like the gates of hell (well, not that bad, maybe like the doggy door to hell). I put the hood fan timer on and went upstairs to check on the kiddies before retiring. The ten year old was snoozing away upside down in her bed and I threw a glance into the six year old's bedroom as I made my way to ours and saw a dark shape swaying upright in her bed and a strange chanting sound of someone saying something backwards over and over again.

All's well! G'night!! (Uhh no...) So, I did a double-take. Steeling myself for a possible ghostbusters sliming I opened the door and crept in. My kids have lava lamps they use as nightlights (I usually shut them off when they fall asleep) and this one was casting erie bulbous red shapes against the walls and the backwards chanting was very loud. My daughter was kneeling in the middle of her bed half asleep and her CD player, which had started out the night playing the "Fantastic Mr Fox" audiobook, was skipping madly over a scratch in the disc at some dialog which sounded positively satanic. . So, that explains that. I shut it off. Maybe that horrible sound, in addition to the gates of hell smell woke her up and had her semi-consciously wondering what the heck kind of sleep deprivation experiment she was being subjected to. I put her back to bed.

I threw out the disc (It was a CDR copy of her sister's disc). We don't need any more paranormal activity!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Zombie Roadkill

Man, zombies everywhere! Looks like a new interesting show starting October 4th. The teaser showed a park ranger getting mowed down by some zombie squirrel. How awesome is that!

From the Site:
"Academy-Award nominated actor Thomas Haden Church co-stars as a tough as nails Park Ranger who teams with an unsuspecting teenager, played by David Dorfman, to escape a cursed stretch of highway that resurrects roadkill in the form flesh-eating zombie animals. This new breed of terror is not just playing dead.
Zombie Roadkill centers around a group of college kids as they are driving on an unfamiliar road. Everything seems fit for a road trip to the lake, but when the group accidentally runs over an unsuspecting squirrel, they quickly realize there will be a price to pay. The cursed road brings the zombie squirrel back to life to haunt the kids. After the kids crash and everyone is injured except the younger brother, he is forced to set out on a journey to defeat the ancient curse and save his brother and friends before it is too late. Zombie Roadkill is scheduled to air spring 2010 on and the FEARnet On Demand VOD network.
The series’ claw-scratching and spine-tingling action unfolds over six, four- to five-minute episodes. David Green will be directing the series penned by Henry Gayden. Aaron Lam of Ghost House Pictures will be producing with FEARnet’s Jim Burns serving as executive producer. Frank Langley and Tom Bacho of Quantum FX (Where the Wild Things Are, Star Trek, Watchmen) have come aboard to bring all the terrifying creatures to life."

Zombie study in Ottawa

A graduate student at the University of Ottawa published a paper featuring a mathematical model of the possibility of a fictional city of 1 million surviving a zombie attack. It doesn't look good people! After 7 to 10 days, everyone was dead or undead.

Am I naive to think that everyone's read  the "Zombie Survival Guide" by Max Brooks? Doesn't everyone know what Solanum does to your brain? Get yourselves a copy before it's too late!

African rabies is no fun!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The 2nd time "Big Mike" tried to kill me in ECMS grade 7

My wife asked me tonight if I knew her new Director, because he grew up in Blackburn Hamlet, and went to EMCS (Emily Carr Middle School). Alas, I did not, but for some reason I was reminded of the 2nd time "Big Mike" tried to kill me at that school. It was 1981 or so and "Big Mike" was about 6 feet tall back then (he'd probably have been 7 feet tall if he hadn't smoked so much). He was huge, with facial hair and he always wore the same jean-jacket and blue t-shirt, which was a real help because you could see him coming from a mile away and could get the hell outta his way! I suppose he was in the eighth grade again, possibly for the 3rd time, and I was in grade seven.

It was a Friday and my fellow student and arch-nemesis Peter Huckalak and I had gotten a detention again. The way it usually went down was that he'd start something (he'd test how gravity worked by pulling my chair away as I was in the process of sitting down), and I'd retaliate (drawing a naked woman on the cover of his math notebook) and we'd both get a detention. Sounded fair to me although I'll always wonder what the hell the teacher thought I was doing on the ground with my chair in Peter's hand. It's not really my fault I sit next to a sociopath.

When detention was over, we went to our lockers. The school was pretty deserted except for the odd teacher and school custodian. At Emily Carr the lockers are located just as you exit the building slightly below ground level, that is to say, the windows in the locker room are like, 8 feet off the ground and end at the ceiling. Outside, the windows start at ground level and look out onto a grassy hill of sorts. It has a weird effect such that, if you are inside the locker room looking up out the window, and another student is outside, sitting on the hillock leaning against the window, you see their butts, backs and upper torsos. A lot of students sit against these windows and pay almost no attention to the people inside.

So, as we were getting our Adidas(tm) bags out of our lockers Peter taps me on the shoulder and points up at the window near the ceiling. My Lizard brain gave me a start as I caught the distinctive shape and color of Big Mike and his nicotine encrusted jean jacket. He was sitting outside against the window with a girl, making out with her. I noticed that his hand had made considerable mileage up the front of her shirt. I grinned at Peter. It was the thing to do when you're 12. They didn't seem to know we were there (school had been over for almost 45 minutes). Peter was  a lot of things back then. I wouldn't call him my friend because we fought so much (fisticuffs), nemesis was a better word, but he was extremely intelligent and a hell of a funny guy, and I respected that. So it didn't surprise me when Peter made an animated shushing motion, picked up a nearby chair and carried it over to the lockers on tiptoe, directly below where Big Mike and the object of his affections were seated outside on the other side of the window. .

He climbed up on the chair quietly and leaned over so his face was almost touching the window. He looked back at me and stuck his tongue out and pretended to lick the window right behind the young (13 year old?) girl. Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! I almost killed myself trying to keep quiet and not break out in gales of laughter. Then he started to make make-out faces on the girl's side, pretending to grab her butt through the glass while giving Big Mike the middle finger with his other hand behind Big Mike's back. I was ready to pee myself! Big Mike and his "date" were so busy doing what they were doing they had no idea they had an audience.

At this point I picked up a chair and quietly set it down beside Peter's and stretched up to the glass to watch this freak show. Man, they have no idea we're here! Crap Mike looks like he's in his 20's. What's this girl see in him? How can she suck on his face like that when he has that frickin Zombie case of acne (yes I was that close). All of a sudden I heard a super-loud "WHAP!" and time slowed down like it does in the movies sometimes.

I turned around and the thing I noticed in the first millisecond was that Peter was no longer perched on his chair beside me. In fact I saw him disappearing around the corner back into the classrooms in a blur of motion. Near the edge of my field of vision I saw something spinning around on the ground like a top. It was a tiny bottle of liquid paper. My Lizard brain roared! Peter had snuck off his chair while my head was turned towards the action and whipped a bottle of liquid paper at the window so it would make a loud noise and he took off so that.... My head snapped back..

Face to face with "Big Mike" and the girl on the other side of the glass. He did not look happy with me at all. In fact, he looked quite cross. I can still recall to this day his purple-faced rage and the slow motion movements of his lips as he formed the words "You're &$%&* DEAD". At this point, the absolute worst time actually, my STUPID sense of humor caught up to the lighting fast situation and I actually cracked a smile at that point and thought
"You know, that was really funny! Peter got me goooooooood!".
I guess that didn't look so good on the other side of the glass because Big Mike appeared to take this badly and shot up in a Beserker rage and ran around to the locker room entrance to make good on his declaration to KILL ME!

I jumped/fell off the chair and ran back to my locker (whose contents where strewn across the floor, Peter wanted to make my escape more interesting by increasing the level of difficulty! (the fucker!). I was all set to leave all that crap on the floor and just disappear - maybe into the ladies room (he's never look there would he?) when I heard Big Mike outside raining fists on the outside doors which lock after the school day is over THANK GOD! I looked at my books and notebooks on the ground and realized that MY NAME was in most of them. Can't have that sitting there for him to find!

It was the fasted locker clean up in ECMS history. Big Mike stopped trying to punch the doors off their hinges and it was quiet all of a sudden. I once saw Big Mike put a roll of pennies in his fist, wrap his fist up with black electrical tape , and punch out a bunch of portable windows one lunch hour. I honestly wondered if he carried stuff like this with him and was gearing up. I grabbed my gym shirt, closed my locker and ran into the inner classrooms to leave by the front of the school where there may be teachers or police or national guardsmen or something. I pulled my glasses off, put the white gym shirt on, tried to frig my hair up and left by the front of the school as nonchalantly as I could. I made for cover and took a round about way home (you never go straight home after a death threat).

Turns out Big Mike didn't recognize me as the idiot behind the glass that day (not that I gave him the chance) and I managed to keep out of his way for the rest of the school year.

What? You don''t remember my staples?

Tonight was "Meet the Teacher" night at school for my kids. This always turns into a High School reunion of sorts because the majority of my old high school classmates live 5 minutes away from where they grew up in Blackburn Hamlet(myself included). I ran into Carrie-Anne whom I sat beside in Law class in the 12 grade and was immediately reminded of the time I got staples in my leg.

It was AGES ago, I was 17 or 18 years old and I was playing Rugby for the first time on a Saturday. I still have no idea how to play but they have a position called "Hooker" in Rugby which is funny ( I told them I'd play as long as I got to be the hooker). There was this guy there wearing cleats. He was wearing these cleats because they were new and he found out that he could not wear them in his Rugby league because they were metal and spiky and illegal, so of course he chose to wear them on the weekends around people like me who don't even know how to spell Rugbee. The object in Rugby seems to be about running and smashing into people and pushing each other a lot, and when you have the ball, and someone gets you down, you have to drop it (that part never made sense to me).

In one of these scrum things I felt something slice across my shin and the next thing I knew I was bleeding like a stuck pig. I had a long, clean slice down the front of my leg and the skin was pulling away from it. I had never been cut open to that extent and up until that point I had never had stitches in my life (that huge bear dog hadn't tried to kill me yet) and frankly, I was a bit chicken. I remember shoving the two sides of the cut together and asking everyone.

"Is that going to need stitches?"

DUH! I was wearing a hospital shirt someone had stolen for me once (I loved hospital shirts, blue or green, no fuss, no muss, no such thing as inside out, they wash great!) and i took it off and wrapped it around the leg and proceeded to bleed all over it. Someone drove me home and I hobbled in the front door to find no one home. ACK! Eventually my friend's Mom drove me to the hospital where they froze it and basically took a cheese grater to it to clean it up, then a med student tried to stitch it closed. For some reason, they kept having trouble. I dunno what was going wrong but after about 10 minutes he left and came back with a medical staple gun. "Kachunk Katchunk" and he closed it right up. I looked like Frankenstein!


On Monday I went to school and in Law class Carrie asked me what was up with my leg so I unwrapped it to show her and she got all grossed out. Everybody did. Something about bits of metal stuck in your skin holding your leg together. It must have been bad because she obviously blocked it out of her memory. I went to work at the Cineplex that night and had the Candy Bar girls convinced that I had ripped my leg open minutes before and one of the guys had stapled it shut in the office. ;-)

Two weeks later i went to my GP to get them taken out and the nurse was grossed out! She made me cover it back up. They didn't know how to get them out so they sent me to emergency and someone went over to the baby ward and got the tool to open them up and take them out. It was this stainless steel medical staple remover and it had been made in Germany. That's also when I learned that they threw stuff like that out to stay clean and avoid germs. I was a bit shocked the thing was made of high quality metal and probably cost $20! They gave it to me as a Souvenir.

While I was in the hospital I ended up in a triage room with a senior citizen who had tried to beat up a cop...  I got to listen as he explained his story to two different doctors. They gave him a new one after they heard what he had done because they appear to have one or two doctors who make themselves available to go to court to testify if needed, but that's another story!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Kitten rescue.

Re-posted from . Hilarious. Thanks Gwilliker for this gem of a site. The guy emails unsuspecting people on Kijijji or Craig's List type sites and screws with them (or he makes it all up, in any case, he's funny as hell!). I find this extra funny because I own one of those..
Kitten Rescue
Posted at: 2010-08-12 14:37:56
Warning: The following post contains graphic images. If you are offended by the sight of food-dye, corn syrup, and ground beef, you may not want to read this. 
Original ad:
Humane "hav a heart" traps for kittens needed
There are some kittens in my neighborhood that need to find good homes. I need a trap 4 the cats to help bring them in. Please email me if you have a trap (and a heart)!
From Me to *********@********.org:


Are you still looking for a trap for cats?


From Deb ******* to Me:

Yes I am can you help me?

From Me to Deb *******:

I most certainly can! I believe this trap is for those who want to "have a heart." I used it to catch a stray cat that kept coming into my garage. It is called the KittyHugger. All you have to do is put some cat food on the trigger, and when the cat comes to eat it, the trap gently contracts into a hugging position and comfortably hugs the cat until you come back to deal with the little guy. Please let me know if this will work.


From Deb ******* to Me:

Mike- I have never heard of a trap like that. I was referring to the "Havahart" know like the cages for animals?? Do you have any pictures of the trap? I'd like to see how it works before I get it. Thanks.

From Me to Deb *******:

Absolutely. I've attached a picture of it. Sorry if it is a little messy; I haven't cleaned the trap in a while.


From Deb ******* to Me:


From Me to Deb *******:

Excuse me?

From Deb ******* to Me:

You killed that poor cat OMG

From Me to Deb *******:

I didn't kill the cat. I told you it was a little messy. The last cat I caught knocked over the bowl of juice I gave him so he wouldn't get thirsty. As you can see, it made quite the mess. I assure you this trap is 100% safe and humane.

From Deb ******* to Me:


From Me to Deb *******:

You've clearly never seen a juice spill before. You have a twisted imagination if you think that is blood. I guess you don't want the trap.

Before you give up on me, I have one more trap you may be interested in. I actually think it is one of those Have a Heart traps you were talking about, though I've never heard it called that.

Please see the attachments. As you can see from the pictures, the kitty will have plenty of room to be safe and comfortable. It comes with a black tube at the end that is used to pump warm air into the cage to keep him warm while he waits to be released.

I'm sorry I didn't have time to clean the trap. It is still a little messy because the last cat I had in there spilled his bowl of juice and his cat food. It went everywhere!



From Deb ******* to Me:

Wow can't you read the ad you sick jerk? I DON'T WANT TO KILL THEM

How you managed to turn that trap into a bloody mess is a mystery to me but keep the hell away from me!!!

Monday, September 06, 2010

Testing the Go Pro cam by Hero underwater

My friend Cim bought this cool camera. I'm always looking for things like this so he lent it to me to try out and I'm SOLD! This thing is FREAKIN' FANTASTIC! It has a waterproof housing as well as a water resistant one (better sound in that casing), it's shock-proof, records to a mini-SD card, tons of recording length. It has some 60 frames per second slowmo settings (I haven't played with them yet, but the examples on the website look great!). It comes with all kinds of mounts and harnesses. This thing is perfect for just about anything! The frame is real wide so you can pretty  much capture what you need too (I'm not sure what fixed mm the lens is, but it's wide enough and gives you a great all-around view.

Here are some underwater shots I did with it on the weekend.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Interesting car decal

I should really get one of these..

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Magadheera - One of the best action scenes ever?

This is just about the most action packed scene I've seen in a long time. Check it out, from the 2009 film Magadheera. Thanks to Donnie Ross for that link.I'm not sure if a big group dance number starts up right after the clip ends, ( "I will kill you, BUT FIRST WE DANCE!") but I suspect so..Hollywood could learn a thing or two from these guys!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Scot Pilgrim VS the World.

This is my favorite movie of the summer so far. It has everything. Guitars, groupies, Battle of the bands, video games, kung fu, romance, teen angst (it's just missing zombies). The editing style in the action scenes uses comic book panels and Anime style cuts which I love. They use a lot of captions, titles and onscreen labels which are way comical (think Fight Club, Zombieland,, Watchmen). I espeially loved the the one that explains the partitioning of his aprtment and what he shares and does not share with his gay room-mate ( Scott's gay room-mate, Mcauly Culkin's brother if I'm not mistaken, steals lots of scenes in the film).
The numerous video game references scattered throughout the film are also hilarious, from the totally recognizable Windows OS and Nintendo sound effects to the Sims style "Pee meter" hud displays when Scott goes to the can. His collection of stupid t-shirts is as impressive as my own. They make fun of a lot of stuff that bugs me personally, like pretentious Vegans (so hey, that must bug other people too!).

All of the battle of the bands scenes harkened back to my high school years. Being a guitar player, I was actually in a few of those, and never won! It's no wonder I liked this film. It's filmed in Toronto where the comic book on which it is based is from and it's great to see familiar locations in a cool film such as this. I'm constantly amazed at how the lead actor Michael Cera manages to play the same character in different films, ( SuperbadYouth in Revolt , etc ). It's not for everyone though! Give it a shot!