Chelsea Manning Blues

One of the musicians that I play music with on Thursdays has written and recorded a song lamenting the imprisonment of Chelsea Manning. Earlier this week, I made a short video of the song. I’d like to think it may have helped with Chelsea’s commuted sentence, but I know many millions of US citizens voiced their desire for the commutation.




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Goldfish Cabinet.


What tha… I want White Cheddar! White. Cheddar!! Like the kind that run the country and Gold-Man Sacks.

Cheezy White Old Carp

100% REAL American Cheese; nothing imported, see.

I love me some Goldfish, but the White Cheddar are the best.

Cheddar sounds Hindi-like, you know, Indian, from India, the sub-Continent…

Hmm. I guess I better get me some Saltines… you know, Crackers.

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Breaking the 4th Wall


I thought I might try my brain at parody; you know, satirical humor.

The image above was created on an iPhone 6 yesterday while walking(hiking?) in Trione-Annandale State Park near Santa Rosa.


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MG Cars: New Engine and Transmission for the MG TF/B Pickup

Last December, after we had purchased our new home here in Santa Rosa, but before we closed escrow, I saw a CL post for a rebuilt MGB engine and 4 speed transmission. $600.

I bought it with the understanding that I would pick it up in February after we had moved in the new house.

My plan was to install the engine and trans. into my MG TF pickup and put the British Automotive built engine and a Ford T9 5 speed into the MG YA to make it a more comfortable freeway car.

Right after my last post here in May, I started the R&R process on the TF. My original engineering on the MGB engine swap with MGB OD transmission needed some modifications anyway, so there would be new motor mounts and a reduced size trans tunnel for more driver leg room.

The process of removing the engine and transmission first required removing the radiator grille, radiator, hood/bonnet, hood sides, front wings/fenders and running board chrome strips. Yeah, a lot of unbolting and re-attaching of body parts just to get at the engine and trans.

During June, I spent a lot of time on the dis-assembly, planning the refit, ordering parts, and designing a new from engine mount that allow for a 2-1/2″ lowering of the motor and then longer bolts and spacer to lower the transmission, too. Of course, there are always interruptions, false starts, distractions, etc. to prolong the process. Ultimately, however, after completing the process, the car does drive better, still starts instantly, and feels more comfortable in the cockpit.

The new motor mount utilized the TD/TF block of rubber with studs and bolt plate moved forward to the Y type mount slots in the crossmember. I still used the front engine plate to bolt the new mount, adding two lower bolts beneath the timing cover for a total of six from the MG TD/F four bolt configuration. The photos below will give you the idea and, hopefully, illustrate the new mounting system.

Old, modified MG T series mount.

New Engine Mount

Cardboard mockup

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Dining Room Video Studio – How to…

I spent the day shooting Susan’s Lincoln Museum Art work, but first needed to “create a studio”.

The video is basic, pretty straight forward and, hopefully, informative or at least amusing.



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Kitchen Re-Model Finished

The kitchen re-model I started on July 11 is now complete. We think it is a wonderful improvement over the original kitchen that was installed in 1975.

The previous owners really didn’t do much in way of upgrades in the house, but they did install some quality kitchen appliances that we kept, because they look good, work well and fit the overall esthetic we wanted. We did buy a new cabinet depth refrigerator and a stainless steel range hood.

The lower corner cabinets have two revolving shelves, there is a drawer under the cooktop for utensils and the cabinet underneath has pull out SS racks for cookware. The cabinet next to the dishwasher has flatware drawers and two large plate and bowl drawers. The pantry has 4 – pullout drawer/shelves.

Under the Silgranite 33″ wide sink is another pullout rack with recycling and compost bins as well as a trash can and filter for the drinking water tap. I added a remote drain control for the sink and a dish soap dispenser.

The kitchen is really pretty basic, but suits us just fine. It’s much more airy than the original and the white cabinets, light travertine patterned click together vinyl floor and light wall color makes the space bright and cheery. The Impala Gold granite counter tops add color and some drama to the space and become the focal point along with the oil rubbed bronze(black) drawer and door pulls.

I hung two of Susan’s painted sticks and one of her bird panels for color accents and the Italian 4 – season plates we hand carried from Sienna.

Removing the fluorescent soffet lighting was a no brainer as the diffuser panels were quite yellow; almost a dull orange. The three single tube fluorescent fixtures probably were equal to a 100W bulb. Now, we have two sets of LED track lights in the recessed space that work well as task light for the counter tops. I added an LED can light over the sink and two LED under counter strips. It is plenty bright for food prep and clean up.

Since we moved in last January 19, I have installed closet organizers in the bedroom and guest room, remodeled both bathrooms, painted all the walls, doors and trim in the house and converted the lighting to 100% LED. We’ve had new carpet installed in the bedrooms and new vinyl flooring in Susan’s studio space along with having the red oak floors in the living room and dining room redone.

With the kitchen finished, I am now working on hanging framed photos and art pieces and looking at ideas for a new front entry door to replace the plain double doors. Something with glass panels to help brighten up that corner of the house is next on the agenda.


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First Resonator – Dobro Style Guitar Build/Repurpose Project

I saw an ad on CraigsList for a guitar that needed repair… for $15.00. How could I pass that up. In the ad picture it looked like it had been painted blue, but I didn’t care; I had a plan. Since the seller was a few minutes away, I called right then and he answered and said I could come right over. He brought the guitar out to the driveway and it was definitely in need of repair, or in my case, just what I needed to build a resonator style, delta blues slide guitar. I wish I had taken photos of this blue Johnson brand dreadnought with the bridge lifted 1/2″ off it’s very humped up front sound board. I asked him if it came apart “spontaneously”, and he said it did.

After I got it home to my garage “workshop” and gave it a further inspection it showed some evidence of probably being subject to never having been in a case and left here and there where various liquids had been spilled or splashed on it and being knocked around most of it’s life with a fair amount of player use. Since it was a Chinese made guitar and cost 15.00 I had no qualms about cutting it up.

I had purchased a Spider Resonator Kit from a Canadian company selling on EBay and only needed a hardwood bridge and new strings to complete the parts list.

I marked out the 10+” hole on center from the 12th fret and proceeded to cut it out with my 1991 Bosch Jigsaw; what a great investment… 25 years of service and still going strong with a new electrical cord! I saved all the cut out material incase I needed it for whatever reinforcement I might need. I used a lot of it filling the original sound hole and beefing up areas inside the guitar. I used 1/2″ plywood strips cut on my 1991 Delta Contractor 1-1/2HP, 10″ table saw… yep, another great investment. Not as portable as some of the newer contractor saws but I don’t need it to be. The cast iron center table is a great feature for keeping the saw solid feeling while ripping long boards or cutting large sheet pieces of plywood.

Then there was a lot of measuring and trimming, re-calculating, shimming, trimming, etc. Hey, it’s my first time cutting up and re-purposing a guitar and I was trying out for, someday, building one from scratch.

After I was happy with what seemed like the right dimensions for the resonator disc and cover plate a trial fitting worked well and after a few more refinements, I decided to fit the bridge. Whoa, the string height at the twelfth fret was about 5/8″. Wow, that was way too high for fretting, plus I had raised the nut about 1/16″

so string height at the first fret was about 1/8th of an inch. Okay, time to refer to the internet and find out about fitting the bridge on this style of guitar.

After cutting the bridge down and making it two pieces to allow a screwdriver down to the cone tensioner holding the spider to the cone, I strung it up so the string tension would push the cone down and, hopefully, lower the string heights. I did manage to get the string height down to about 7/16″, but that’s still way too high for fretting, so right now it’s a slide player only.

In the meantime, I was toying with a new paint job, but decided to tryout some decoupage of photos of me and my family, my wife’s art, my art and copies of money from some of our travels. It came out looking pretty cool, but I was concerned the layers of paper would affect the tone and volume of the guitar… and it did… in what I think is a positive way. It’s very loud and though there is still some warmth from the plywood body, the paper-glue-shellac shell created a harder, more gourd-like or soft metal resonance that I like a lot. The headstock logo is created from a scan of my business card and website logo merged in PhotoShop CC.

Next step is maybe to re-set the neck as I think that is where I can get the string height down to be fret-able.

UPDATE: I removed the strings, cone cover, cone, spider bridge and removed the hardwood   split bridge and cut it down by about 5/32″ and lowered the nut about 1/16″. Now the playing height is good, but it is strung with D’Addario .16-.56 Reso-phonic strings and they are like cables, so fretting is possible but not that comfortable. It does sound like I hoped it would and I plan to work on the slide playing with it as is for while longer before I test out smaller diameter string sets.

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