Thursday, July 30, 2009

Blog Spam

Hey everyone! Tomorrow's the last day to vote on my "How Do you Linux" video. If you haven't casted your vote, this is the last chance to do it! Voting closes after July 31st. I promise I'll show you the cool prize I get (and the hideous T-shirt I got for participating.)

In case you forgot, the video is entitled "Linux Powered Jukebox" and you can cast your vote here:

Thanks again, and as Smokey the Bear says, "Only YOU can prevent Ben from losing to that guy in the sweater who likes LAMP environments!"

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Chia Pet: How To Successfully Grow One

For quite some time, I've been wanting to grow a Chia Pet. Why? Probably just because everyone else has done it. I tried growing the Christmas Tree one, but all it did was turn into a Christmas Tree covered in crappy dried-out chia seeds. In other words, it didn't work.

This past spring, I decided to try again. I bought myself a cheap Chia pet - the one with the cat head at a thrift store for two bucks. For two bucks, I couldn't go wrong

The official instructions with the Chia Pet are to soak it in water for one hour, or 24 hours, depending on how old the thing is. Since I don't know how old the cat one is and was too lazy to look it up, I soaked it for 48 hours.

Next, instead of using the Chia seeds that didn't grow, I picked a bunch of Dandelion seeds. If there's anything you shouldn't be able to screw up, it's growing Dandelions.

I grabbed some dirt from the garden, added water, and mixed the Dandelion seeds into the mud.

Afterwards, I slopped it onto the cat's body. Some leftover fell off, so it looks like the cat has taken a runny shit all over the place. Remember, if you're going to do this, do it outside!

After two weeks of caring for my Chia Pet the way I should, absolutely NOTHING grew on it. I was quite disappointed, and I left the goddam thing ouside to rot.

Two months later....

Sometimes, patience is everything!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Ken & Barbie

I guess it was inevitable that I would eventually write about the famous doll series from Mattel. Here, I have two completely unrelated items, brought together solely by the fate created by my blog.

The first item is this Barbie cassette which came with the Barbie Cassette Recorder. Mattel has merchandised as much shit as it can with the Barbie name.

I found the cassette inside the tape recorder at a thrift store. Of course I removed the cassette and purchased it for 25 cents, leaving the fugly pink tape recorder behind. I love how the copyright is on the cassette label, so anything you record is automatically owned by Mattel. Click Here to listen to a clip of what's on this tape.

Next is this 45 i bought for ten cents. It's Ken singing his hit song, "A Little Bit of That Sky" (karaoke version on the flipside.) I've never seen Barbie music on any other format besides cassette tapes, so it was a real treat to find this 45 which was released in 1970. It took me a bit of searching on the internet, but I did find the doll that this 45 came with. Click Here to see it. Gotta love those tassles and the psychedelic shirt!

And of course, we're all dying to hear what kind of music Ken was making in 1970. Let's see, who was popular in 1970?

- Led Zeppelin
- The Doors
- Jimi Hendrix
- Three Dog Night
- Creedence Clearwater Revival

Those are great bands! Let's hope Ken lives up to his competition.


Wow, that guitar solo in the middle will give Jimmy Page a run for his money!

Okay, I forgot to mention a few others who were popular in 1970:

- James Taylor
- Bobby Sherman
- B.J. Thomas
- The Carpenters
- Bread
- Donny Osmond

I guess we can add Ken to the 'not so cool' list.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Junq Tour 2009: Neepawa

Welcome To

This is a new piece I've decided to start called the "Junq Tour". Basically, whenever I get sent to a different town or city on business, I make it my goal to find some nifty treasures! I got the "rubbers" sign from the abandoned personal care home I was working in. I could have taken home a bedpan, but I decided that was probably a dumb idea.

Neepawa is a little town. Not tiny, but not huge. It's apparently the Lily capital of the world, although the only Lillies I saw were the cardboard ones stapled to the telephone posts. Neepawa has a few cool places to visit though. I had the privilege of staying there for a week while on business. Here's my crappy 1970s hotel room. The rug was a trip!

I checked out the Thrift store while I was there, but didn't find much. Just the usual Thrift store crap - clothes, toys, etc. No interesting treasures. However, there was one store that I spent quite a bit of time browsing for treasures:

This place is chok full of the kinda crap that heaven is made out of! Well, maybe not heaven. There were too many Eddy Arnold LPs and too many home-recorded video tapes of Little House on the Prarie.

But here's the treasures that I did manage to find:

Anne Kraichy - Musical Gems

Ah! Here's a great album full of Ukrainian polkas. Just for the hell of it, I Googled Anne's name. Lo and behold, the third link that popped up was my blog. It appears that Anne Kraichy played violin on Roy Mykytyshyn's albums. No wonder I'm enjoying this tape so much! It's a shame that I don't have a track listing for it though. Click here to listen to the first song!

Evelyn Broadfoot - Must I Go Empty Handed?

What the..??? Okay, it's obviously a lady and her guitar. Singing in Cree... at least that's what it says on the inlay. She could be singing in Norwegian for all I know. She's not irritating, but I can't understand what the hell she's singing about. This tape also has no track listing.

Larry Novak's Latest and Greatest

Latest and greatest what? Considering this album was released on cassette only (as far as I can tell) I'm guessing 'latest and greatest' isn't referring to technology. The songs on this tape were sung by different people, at least that's what the piece of paper Scotch-taped to the back of the case tells me. The first song "Good Bye, Lady Di" not only sucks ass, it's fucking country music. The sound quality of the tape sounds like someone wiped their ass with the master tape, which is pretty bad since it's a professionally produced hunk of plastic. The Evelyn Broadfoot album (which was probably recorded on a shoebox tape recorder) sounds less shitty than this thing.

I can imagine Larry's art direction for the cover....
**flipping through photo album of a trip to Winnipeg** "Aahhh! There's a nice picture of... scenery! We'll use that."

Good job, Larry.

And finally, here's a great video tape I picked up....

It's a wonderfully entertaining Sex Education video tape! I'd post some content from it, but I've still got that strike against my Youtube account. It should be clearing up sometime soon, and I'm not risking having my account nuked on account of one video. I'll risk it when the strike is cleared up.

Now, just because I can't post video, it doesn't mean I can't post questionable content on the free webspace that I get from my ISP. Here's a screenshot of this dude who seems to not only be unalarmed, but is in fact HAPPY to see a flock of penises flying by:

There's lots of great stuff on this video that I'm just dying to post. But alas, we wait.

If you're in Neepawa, you need to check out the little restaurant across the street from the book & tape shop. It's called Wilson's Place, and you'll get a great meal, fantastic pie, and be surrounded by cool junk on the wall. They also have the best clock in the world:

So, there's my trip to Neepawa in a nutshell. It's a damn good thing I brought my guitar and my laptop, because the whole town pretty much goes to bed at 6:00 PM. I did some songwriting and on my last day in the Personal Care home (when nobody showed up), I did a bit of recording. It sounded great in that big echoey building. Perhaps when I get some time, I'll finish mixing it and upload it. But don't count on it ;)

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Three Video Tapes

I was at an interesting garage sale yesterday. This lady had her double garage absolutely filled up to the roof with crap, and she was grabbing random stuff to put out for selling. She had lots of stuff that qualified for the trash can: piles of beat up CDs with no cases - both burned and pre-recorded, knick knacks, and random miscellaneous stacks of video tapes.

So, I started picking through the videos. There was a few exercise tapes, a bunch of unlabelled tapes, and a few with very indescriptive labels containing only the month and the year the tapes were recorded. My guess was that these tapes were home videos, so I naturally grabbed them. Oh yeah, and I grabbed an old Nintendo game to boot - Snakes' Revenge!

She tried to charge me $3.50 for the whole shot. Christ, you'd think this crap was worth a lot of money! I talked her down to a somewhat satisfactory $2.50 for the whole shot. She asked "You ARE going to record over those, aren't you?" Of course I am!

So, I'm going to present to you pictures of the actual tapes, and show you what was on each one...







Next week on Classical Gas Emissions, the junk I found while I was out of town on business last week. I found some great stuff!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Contents of the 60G Hard Drive

As promised, here's some interesting stuff I pulled off the 60G hard drive I found...

Psycho Baby


And now, here's a comic strip I like to call "Crappy Christmas"

Allright, Let's see what the kids got me this year. Hmmm.... A pair of shorts?

Anything better in here??

Ah, something to hide how utterly disappointed I am.

...and a pair of pants. Yay.

They're XXX Large. Do I LOOK like an XXX Large? Well, maybe I can use them to cover my barbeque in the Winter.

Dear Dad, here's a little something to show just how much we appreciate everything you've done for us. Love, Jason and Kimberly.

A check for $20. Whoopty-do.

Woah, here's the big one! Okay, they were just building me up. I'll
bet it's that new Rigid cordless drill that I've been eyeballing!

Ah FUCK. Allright, I'll pose for the camera with this piece of crap you got me. Why would you get me a barbeque utensil set in the middle of winter when the barbeque is COVERED IN SNOW?

Okay, I'll at least try to look interested in this.

"Made in Hong Kong." Go figure.

Next year I'm going away for Christmas. Las Vegas and a cheap hooker is more fun than getting shitty gifts from the kids.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Fund This Blog! Cast Your Vote!

I don't have a Paypal button on my blog. I don't have Google ads either. All of the money I pour into buying all the crap on here comes out of my own pocket. Sometimes I waste money of pieces of shit such as the Rodney Dean album and the countless answering machine tapes that have old ladies talking on them. In other words, I waste quite a bit of money on duds that REALLY don't make the cut on here. But I think it's worth it for the few treasures that I DO find! Oh yeah, and there's also the cost of gas that I burn to visit my favorite thrift stores. That adds up.

I'm not asking you for money, but I'm asking for your help. I created a video about my Garage Jukebox and submitted it to a Linux contest, and it made it into the finals! First prize is $2000 and a Netbook. Do you know how much Thrift Store and Garage Sale crap you can buy for $2000? LOTS!!!

So, I'm going to make a request of all you. Please go vote for my video "Linux Powered Jukebox" which is located at (Site Dead). In fact, vote twice (close your browser, then re-open it). If you're bored, vote a few times. The more votes, the better my chances are to have a shopping spree at Value Village and the MCC Thrift and Gift shop.

Fun Facts About The Video:

- The song you hear throughout the video was written, recorded and produced by myself. I play every instrument. It's called "Sentimental Chains" and my vocal track was removed for the video.
- The song was recorded in Windows (TRAITOR!) just before I moved over to Linux. This instrumental version was mixed in a piece of Windows software running in WINE, a Linux program that lets you run Windows software.
- The entire video was edited in OpenMovieEditor, a nifty piece of Linux software.
- Here's the blooper reel. It makes more sense if you watch the original...

- That's my two year old at the end of the blooper reel, reciting my entire video dialog.
- Technical details about the Garage Jukebox can be found HERE.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

External Hard Drive Made From Junk

I was bored this morning, so I built myself an external hard drive. Besides being bored, I need one for when I go out of town on business next week. I'm taking my laptop, my guitar, and recording some music instead of sitting around bored in my hotel room. My laptop's hard drive isn't large enough to hold a huge pile of .wav files, but a 60G external drive is!

First of all, you may remember version 2.x of my Garage Jukebox. It had three internal DVD drives and one external DVD drive. Since I upgraded the thing and started using flash drives, I no longer had use for the external DVD drive.

The drive was originally a CD burner I bought for $1.00 at a garage sale, and I hacked it into a DVD drive. So here I am yet again, hacking this thing.

This is the picture of it with the original CD burner sitting on top.

If you'd like to build one of these things for yourself, here's a list of crap you'll need:

1 External USB CD/DVD Drive
1 IDE Hard Drive (any size)
1 5 1/4" to 3 1/2" hard drive adapter
1 5 1/4" cooling fan plate
1 Drill (for modifications!)
Misc Screwdrivers

So, I take the thing apart. Here's a couple piccys of what it looks like when it's apart:

You'll notice that all they do is slap a regular IDE drive into the case with a simple adapter board. This particular version has a 'special' IDE cable (You may need to make note of this)

So, I remove the drive and prepare to install the hard drive. To properly get a hard drive into this thing, I needed an adapter that allows a 3 1/2" drive to fit into a 5 1/4" bay. You can usually find these things in old 386 and 486 desktop PCs, either with hard drives or 3 1/2" floppy drives. I believe this particular version had a floppy drive, so I had to drill a couple extra holes to make the hard drive mount properly.

I had to put in a slightly longer IDE cable because the old one wouldn't reach. The easiest way for me to accomplish this is taking an IDE cable out of an old PC and cut off the end that goes to the mother board. In other words, the connectors should be mounted on the same side of the ribbon cable. (sorry I don't have a piccy, the one I took turned out really blurry)

As you can see, I originally put a 5 1/4" bay plate in the front to seal it up nicely. However, the unit got pretty warm inside, so I took a nice 5 1/4" bay plate dual cooling fan thingy that I scrounged out of an old pc, cut the mounts off, and stuck it in place of the plate. It nicely interconnects with the hard drive which powers the whizzing goodness of the cooling fans.

So there it is, sitting nicely beside my laptop.

This drive happily works in Linux, which recognizes it as a 60G removable hard drive. Windows, however recognizes it as a LaCie external CD Burner AND removable media AND a Western Digital hard drive. How goofy is that? Regardless, it works fine in Windows.

Formatting was a bit of a different story. I tried to format the drive through USB in Windows, which took about 20 minutes and then told me that the format had FAILED. So, of course I tried using Linux.

Ubuntu has a tool built into it called "Gparted" which manages partitions, but it can also be used as a Live CD which can you can boot off. Gparted took about five seconds to successfully format the drive through USB.

So now, I have a nifty external USB hard drive to stuff all my .wav files on.

Incidently, I found the 60G hard drive in a box on hard drives I picked up from behind the computer recycling place. There were also a few 'interesting' things on the drive which I will be posting within the next entry or two.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy your new found knowledge and begin scrounging computer parts to make your own external hard drives! This would have cost me a couple hundred bucks brand new, but of course I prefer to spend $1.00, scrounge some parts, and take a bit of time to build something myself.