Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Song of the Day: Bach's Toccata in Dm...

...on a 1,000-watt tube amp driving a smaller amp as a load:

Same amp, with a 25Hz signal running through it to show how the tubes react:

Update: Here are the specs for the EL6471 amp. The 6 mercury-vapor rectifiers are there to handle some pretty hefty juice flow in the power supply--a 3-phase (220/380V) AC supply that gets kicked up to a 3,200 V anode voltage to feed the two big output tubes up top.

The two smaller tubes in front of and to the right of the big rectifiers are part of the power supply for the amp's third stage tubes.

The amp was intended for stadium sound. The 1kW model is the baby: Philips also listed 2kW, 10kW and 20kW amps.

Here's some glorious electronics porn of the amp in case the videos aren't enough.

And a link to the service manual...and one to the data sheet on the output tubes.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

They just get uglier.

When Fratboy Bush left the White House on January 1, 2009, I really thought I'd seen the worst of the Republicans. Even hoped things would get better, now that that slack-jawed idiot and his pack of wingnuts were out of power.

Sarah Palin and the Teabaggers quickly showed me that there was a new bottom, and that they had brought digging tools and were eagerly exploring new lows in stupidity and evil-mindedness.

The Losing Party quickly coagulated around the new mission of derailing the black man in the White House. They sent out a few whiny celebrities and other talking heads early on to complain about being called "racist" for criticizing Obama. Angie Harmon went on Fox barely 2 months after he took office, seeking emotional support in this vulnerable time of her life. The man hadn't even been in office more than 2 months at that point.

The Teabagger set dug ever deeper, out-screeching and out-dumbing even Palin, which is pretty damn impressive, and offered up Christine "Wouldn't Lie to Nazis" O'Donnell, Sharron "Second Amendment Remedies" Angle, Joe "Armed Guards" Miller, and Rand "America's Dumbest Senator" Paul.

And still they kept digging, those industrious Republicans, always on the lookout for some new ugliness to spew.

When Whitney Houston died, seemingly every racist dirtbag in the country jumped on the opportunity to show their quality.

When Rick "Governor Goodhair" Perry oozed onto the stage to brag about how many executions Texas has performed, he got cheered like a game-winning quarterback.

When Ron Paul was asked about letting an uninsured patient die, an embarrassment of teabagger fans in the debate audience shouted "Let him die!" And yes, that's the proper collective term--an embarrassment of Teabaggers, no matter what anyone else tells you.

Trayvon Martin was shot dead. Republicans, twisting around like mating eels, went out of their way to justify the killing, demonizing a dead high school kid, lionizing the murderer, and blaming Obama.

Sandra Fluke spoke out on behalf of women's reproductive rights. Pigboy Limbaugh lost his shit and lambasted her for three days--and that was only the beginning of the shitstorm as the wingnuts went into full asshole mode and dug themselves deeper with the screeching intensity of a thousand masturbating Viagra-dosed chimpanzees.

They're still digging. The new bottom was reached by some wingnut named James Taranto. In the wake of the Aurora, Colorado theater shootings in which four guys died to protect their girlfriends, Taranto weighed in with "I hope the girls whose boyfriends died to save them were worthy of the sacrifice."

"I hope the girls whose boyfriends died to save them were worthy of the sacrifice."

What a piece of utter psychotic, sociopathic crap. When he was called on it, the fucker doubled down, trying to make his critics out to be the stupid and evil ones.

I'm not a great guy, myself, not even close to perfect. Socially inept in a lot of ways, bad at small talk, don't like authority figures, and don't care to be tactful when it comes to some things, especially my contempt for and dislike of what passes for conservatives these days. They're not doing anything to change my mind and Taranto isn't helping them at all.

"I hope the girls whose boyfriends died to save them were worthy of the sacrifice."

How in the ever-loving fuck can someone seriously ask such a question? Each one of those women has a family whose daughter came home. Look them in the eye and ask them if their daughter is worth it, you raging asshole.

Twelve other people--including a 6 year old girl--never got that chance. Were they unworthy? That little girl was a freeloader, not a job creator, I guess. The Paultards' chorus in the background: "Let 'em die!"

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Pic of the Day: Eat Less Chicken.

Chick-fil-A sucks. The company's always been a proud bastion of fundie ugliness. No surprise that they've taken a stance against gay marriage. When the Jim Henson Company decided that his Creature Shop Muppets (not the Disney-owned Muppets, who aren't involved) were bouncing the chicken chain over its stance, those classy bird-cookers replied with this:
(pic via anibundel at Angry Black Lady Chronicles) It'll be cool if Jim Henson busts 'em up in court for claiming there's a "possible safety issue." Predictably, the wingnuts are up in arms over the poor, defenseless corporation being punished by the evul liberals for holding to its values and taking a stand. The same wingnuts who condemned J.C. Penney for holding to its values and taking a stand in favor of gay rights!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Song of the Day: Afterimage (Rush)

This song plays in my head at times like this, after a death. The song's about the loss of Robbie Whelan, an assistant engineer on some early Rush albums and close friend of the bandmates. It made Song of the Day almost 3 years to the day ago to commemorate the murders of Jim Barrett and Dr. John Britton; now it's dedicated to the victims of the Colorado shootings. No snark tonight.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Pic of the Day: Ben Kenobi, for Obama 2012

Actually, it was Mark "Luke Skywalker" Hamill who endorsed Obama:
“And if you don’t vote for Barack Obama, you’re insane,” he added. ”Cause without him, I think the middle class will completely disappear. And you look at Romney and I’m sure he’s a nice guy, but I think he’s like The Thing – he only imitates human behavior. He’s not actually human himself.”

Beats the hell out of washed-out hack and C-Creepio supporter Scott "making racial comments isn't racist" Baio. (credit for "C-Creepio" goes to "WhatTheHeck" in the comments...wish I'd thought of that :p~~~)

Saturday, July 14, 2012

London Olympics can Bite My Shiny Metal Ass.

Not a fan of the Olympic$ a$ it i$, e$pecially $ince I reali$ed it wa$ all about corporate money and not about excellence in $port$.

I hadn't paid attention to previou$ citie$' behavior in their attempt$ to attract the Olympic$ to their town--tax break$, $pecial new building$ being con$tructed, inconvenient local people being bru$hed out of view, but the $tupid $tuff London ha$ pulled thi$ time around ju$t pi$$e$ me off.

Fir$t there wa$ the announcement of criminal $anction$ to protect the corporate $pon$or$ from competition. Thi$ would allow "brand police" to roam the area and $hake down pub$ adverti$ing the wrong beer (take the $ign down or cover it up, Citizen) or other non-$pon$ored product$ and order YouTube and Facebook to take down video$ and picture$ po$ted by attendee$. You're re$i$tricted in how you may u$e combination$ of certain word$, like London and 2012 and probably LOCOG WANKER$. Then ju$t a few day$ ago, I learned that McDonald'$ ha$ a pretty cu$hy gig at the Olympic$, with a huge-a$$ exclu$ive re$taurant planted like a fat American right in the middle of everything--and a monopoly on french fry $ale$. A$ long a$ you call them "chip$" and $ell them with fi$h, you're okay, but Olympu$ help you if you're $elling burger$.

Then we learned that Team U$A'$ going to be wearing Ralph Lauren'$ reimagining of Mitt Romney'$ family uniform (which they $tole from Thur$ton Howell III)--and al$o borrowing from hi$ bu$ine$$ model of out$ourcing the work to China. Wait, didn't use the word "London" in this paragraph. Took care of that. So anyway, $2,000 per Romney $uit and American labor wa$ $till too expen$ive. $hould have charged $2012 each.

Now, tho$e $niffy corporate a$$-ki$$er$ at the London Organi$ing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Game$ don't want anyone linking to them unle$$ they're $aying nice thing$:

"a. Links to the Site. You may create your own link to the Site, provided that your link is in a text-only format. You may not use any link to the Site as a method of creating an unauthorised association between an organisation, business, goods or services and London 2012, and agree that no such link shall portray us or any other official London 2012 organisations (or our or their activities, products or services) in a false, misleading, derogatory or otherwise objectionable manner."
 (no dollar $ign$ in their copy).

Don't mind me, just $tirring the pot.

Update: Bonu$ Commentary from a Corporate Wea$el: Donald Trump weighed in via Twitter, opining that Team U$A'$ Chine$e-made uniform$ $hould be burned. Hi$ outrage ha$ obviou$ly made him forget that hi$ own clothing line i$...made in China. Becau$e it's cheaper.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Anniversary Time Again...

Made it to another July 12, my second since the big Aorta Meltdown of 2010.

I started out with a 40% chance of making it 10 years with the dissection; wonder what the numbers are for the next 8 years?

I do feel a lot better than I did in the months after it happened. Still have the mobility issues, high blood pressure, swollen feet and lower legs, sensitivity to heat, and fatigue. Still got some memory and cognitive stuff that makes me wonder whether the high BP did some damage.

I'm 14 months past having a carcinogenic kidney removed--the culprit in most of my problems, since it was driving the high blood pressure that popped my artery.

Good thing I'm not dependent on Republican scum like Dave Dreier and his buddies in the house who voted for the 33rd useless time to "repeal" the Affordable Care Act. Dreier the Death-Panel Dirtbag apparently thinks "let them die" is a good approach to health care:
“While I don’t think that someone who is diagnosed with a massive tumor should the next day be able to have millions and millions and millions of dollars of health care provided, I do believe there can be a structure to deal with the issue of pre-existing conditions.”
All my treatments have totaled much less than millions of dollars. Maybe $200,000, maybe a little more. Maybe I should apologize to Dreier for the imposition; it took a lot of nerve for me to grow that tumor in my kidney without thinking of people like him and their desire to save medical expenses at any cost, even that of a life. I fed the damn thing, cultivated it. Should have named it David.

I've made it two years IN SPITE of fucking Republicans and their psychotic desire to kill off any sort of health assistance for people who can't afford it. The hospital was a huge help, with its Compensated Care program that handled most of my bills for the first 7 or 8 months. I made it into Florida's  Medically Needy Medicaid program only to have it jerked out from under me within 3 months (Governor Scumbag doesn't think kidney cancer and a torn aorta make me sick enough; but then, he doesn't think a huge tuberculosis outbreak rates keeping the state's only TB hospital open). For the last year, I've been on MediPass, going to a county clinic as needed.

Not much of a believer in karma, but I sincerely hope that every one of those useless, evil wingnuts has their fortunes reversed and they end up worse off than I am right now. They need to learn some humanity and some humility.

All in all, I'm doing well enough. I won't be running (or walking) marathons or much of anything physical (no lifting more than 30 pounds, no stress, and like that), but I've got busy stuff I can do. I'm surprised that I haven't spent much time being depressed (those few times have been when my knees or feet keep me trapped in bed...very dark thoughts, then). I can still pay my own bills and (most importantly) I can drive the X-11. I'd be in a really bad place, for lack of that one bright spot to focus on when shit gets dark.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Riff of the Day: Tom Sawyer synth "growl" (Rush)

I'd been wondering for a few days how Geddy Lee got what he calls the "growl" in Tom Sawyer--the first thing you hear after the drum hit:

Andy Skuse has a writeup of his attempts to figure out the growl, a set of .WAV files of his results, and a demo of the Digital Men playing "Tom Sawyer" with the resulting growl:

Not too shabby. Singer sounds more like Rik Emmett of Triumph than he does Geddy Lee--but Geddy Lee doesn't even sound like his 1981 self anymore.

As a bonus sound, Keyboard Magazine has the info for programming the "lead synth" sound for the song using a MiniMoog.

Song of the Day: Tom Sawyer (Rush)

It's been SOTD before, but not like this. I stumbled on vids a few days ago of the song with the synth, guitar, bass and drums isolated. Just rips from Rock Band or Guitar Hero's tracks, but still pretty cool to be able to hear the song like this.





There are some other isolated tracks--I've found a guitar-only "2112," guitar and bass for "Limelight" and "YYZ," and a guitar track for "Subdivisions" so far.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012


...so says one Chris Collins, a noted medical expert genius moron running for Congress in New York.

Indeed, he says that because of all the amazing and expensive medical  breakthroughs in the last 10 years, "People now don’t die from prostate cancer, breast cancer and some of the other things."

Because of implantable defibrillators! Stents! Neural stimulators! Tricorders!

So he wants to kill off Obamacare. No one needs it, you see. Like me, 2 years ago this month. I had no idea that there was a bad-type carcinoma growing in my kidney, just waiting to metastasize and infect the rest of me with killer cancers.

If I'd had an implantable defibrillator, I NEVER WOULD HAVE CAUGHT CANCER! It's all my fault for not thinking ahead, you know.

So...why do I hate Republicans?