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**Secret FSR Fender guitars? Yes, they exist, and they're right here

New laptop, selling old one

Recent events have left me feeling a bit blue so I decided to treat myself and buy a laptop. Granted, it's not new but it will run Windows XP and what I got is the most rock-solid laptop avaiable: An IBM Thinkpad (model 390). I won it last night on an eBay auction and bought it for $240.00. Considering what it comes with this is a very good deal. The Targus bag alone is worth 50 bucks(!)

The only thing it didn't come with is a network card. Fortunately I have a spare one. It's old but it'll do the job nicely. The LCD screen is a bit small, but I believe I can upgrade the screen from 12" to a 14.1" - the 390 had 3 models. Mine is the "2nd best" one. The premium one (at time of manufacture) had a 14.1" screen. I've scoped the 'net and have found a dealer of laptop LCD screens so it should be an easy swap. Since I previously worked as a Dell laptop tech, replacing screens is not a big deal. You just have to know what you're doing (obviously).

I will also be selling my old Compaq laptop. I have a Compaq Elite LTE 4/75 CXL, considered to be a premium model in its day. It's running Windows 95 and has a Megahertz modem that still works. The color screen is surprisingly crisp, clean, bright and has no dead pixels or screen lines at all. Because of it's age I will be selling it for around 25 bucks or so. The only thing wrong with it is a stone dead battery, however, I have seen replacement batteries on eBay for this laptop for around 20 bucks (cheap). Anyone who's interested in it can contact me should they want it, else I'll just eBay it.

Just for grins I surfed the web with the old Compaq last night. It actually surfs quite well considering its age. I was surprised and pleased to know that older computers can still "do internet" without a problem. And another thing: Windows 95 may be about as secure as a wet napkin, but man is it super easy to use and SMALL compared to XP (or 2000 or 98 for that matter). '95 didn't have all that integrated IE crap in it and it's so fast compared to later versions of Windows. Ah, the days of old. Windows 95 is a cool OS, I don't care what anyone says. (grin)


**Gibson guitars (Les Paul, SG, Explorer and more) for less are right here


Photo tips for rock bands

Rock bands always shoot group shots, individual shots and so on for press packs, wallpaper on web sites, advertising and so on. Unfortunately, many of these bands take shots which more or less make the band look amateur and stupid.

Here are four classic no-no's I see all the time:

1) Woods
For some strange reason, rock bands love to take pictures in the woods. This is really bad idea because a) it has absolutely nothing to do with rock music, b) it takes concentration away from the band and puts it in the scenery in the background, and finally c) NO ONE does it except amateurs. Don't do it.

2) Cemeteries
For that "evil" lookin' thing, lots of bands do the cemetery shot. Again, this has nothing to do with rock music.. and it looks stupid.

3) Railroad tracks
Again, nothing to do with rock music. Same problems as the woods shots.

4) Abandoned buildings
Good for videos. Bad for photos. All this does it make you look like you took pictures in a dump, which is exactly what you did.

Here are some better ideas:

1) Solid color backdrop
Look in any rock/metal magazine. You will see tons of artist pictures that have nothing but a solid color behind them. This puts 100% focus on the artist (the goal!)

2) Planned performance
Go and set up a show strictly for picture shooting - basically a rehearsal made to look like a live show. Go through your set of songs and have someone taking pictures. Make sure all your gear is spotless clean and everyone is in the mood to play. You'll get lots of great pictures.

3) Live performance
Same as above. May not look as good as the planned performance but it does the job.

I'm sure you can think of a few more. But please.. stay away from cemeteries, railroad tracks, the woods and broken buildings. Rock is not about any of those things. It's about you and your group. Have your photos concentrate on that. You are the subject, not the background. Background is, and always will be, secondary.



Home again

After driving around for what seems like forever over the past 2 days, I am finally back home. Some good things happened, some not-so-good things happened.

* My sister's affairs are finally in order.
My pop and sis both thanked me up and down for being able to show up, help out and do what I could. I have sore bones everywhere from moving furniture to prove it. (grin)

* Massachusetts driving still sucks.
Although I don't mind driving in Massachusetts most of the time, I was unaware that both 290 and 495 are chewed up and under heavy construction in certain places. On 290, both sides have a point where 3 lanes go to 2 (they don't ordinarily) due to construction. And it's always fun to see a flashing large-LED sign that states (literally) "NO BREAKDOWN LANE" followed by "DO NOT STOP". Fun fun fun.

* I got a ticket.
My first traffic ticket in at least 5 or 6 years, for "Failing to Yield". Yeah, failing to yield. Here's what happened: I was merging on to the highway. A "Y" merges into one road at the beginning of the ramp. Some lady in a minivan (of course,) moves to the ramp. I move to the ramp. She has one side, I have the other. I am on the side that is supposed to yield to the other lane. I slow down because I saw her there. The lady in the minivan hesitates and gases, stops, gases, stops. I said "screw this I don't wanna get hit" and gunned it and flew past her to get on the highway. She blares her horn (of course). Next thing I know I see flashing lights in my rear view mirror. Grr.. Yes, I broke the law. Yes, I got a ticket. Yes, I will pay the fine. But I'd rather pay for a ticket that get t-boned by some idiot lady in a minivan which would in turn cost a helluva lot more than a ticket.

* North is not gonna happen
I found out over the course of the past 2 days that nothing is going to happen up North. I was planning on moving there sometime in the future, but it doesn't look like that will occur, so I will be staying in Connecticut for the time being.

* A return to the spiritual
At this point in my life I am going to concentrate more on something I've been neglecting for far too long which is my spiritual roots. Say what you will; maybe it sounds a bit hokey but I like to do the astrological thing. No I don't go around dressing in robes or burning bonfires in the middle of the night. It's just a belief structure. Some people got religion, I got spirituality. One of the happiest times of my life was when I was deep into spirituality. Life made sense and it had purpose. I want to return to that mode of thinking again (I've already started, actually).