Friday, December 4, 2015

Ernest Packaging Solutions Creates A Cardboard Fender Stratocaster

Hello once again, my fellow mod heads... I just spotted this amazing creation via Facebook, and thought I'd share it here for all my readers. It's the iconic Fender Stratocaster, made out of (get this!) cardboard!

Ernest Packaging Solutions' Cardboard Fender Stratocaster

It's really amazing what a little bit of recycling ingenuity can yield these days. But don't take my word, for it... simply watch the video below and find out how Ernest Packaging Solutions was able to develop such a far out instrument. This technology is right up there with 3D Printed guitars, which Fender has also had a hand in developing.

This has been P.S. Elliott (AKA: Dr. Gonzo XXVII) reporting for the disassociated press, that is... The Gnoyze Guitar Mods & More Web Blog.

Another Star Wars: The Force Awakens Trailer?!?

Hello again my fellow rebel scum, I mean, er... my fellow Padawans. It looks like today will be a day long remembered... a day when millions of nerdgasms will be crying out for trailers--- and will then be suddenly silenced; 'til they all turn to one another and go: "Holy shazbot! I can't wait to see that, yo!" I feel the worst has happened when the evil Empire (er... wonderful folks at Disney) has made its latest (AKA: Lucasfilm) its new bitch. If you're reading this, then you probably know by now that there is indeed yet another Star Wars film in the making, and it's due to hit theaters this year of our Lord (Vader), 18th of December, which is just around the corner.

And if you're like me (which I honestly hope you're not!) then you probably can't get enough of anything remotely sci-fi related. And when that specific genre falls into anything to do with a new release of the zillion dollar franchise of a space opera known throughout the world as none other than Star Wars... you can bet your schweet ass that I'm going to get giddy enough to have a nerdgasm at the mere sight of a trailer (or two) released months (that feel like years, no... maybe decades) apart. But then, that all came to an end with the multitude of new TV spots and special inside looks and all. So by now, you've probably gotten pretty saturated in as far as plot details and sneak peeks can go.

Normally, we could've been treated to the May the 4th (as in... May the force be with you) release by now, but unfortunately, the powers that be said this is not the film gross we're looking for and so they took George's baby and made it Disney's latest bitch; in the long run of successive acquisitions (i.e. Muppets, Marvel, etc.) that will one day prove to be a shared topic of debate amongst all the park going enthusiasts once they start demanding an arm and a leg, just to have your arm cut off by Vader at one of their quaint little theme parks. Of course, let me stop my rant dead in its tracks before I keep going and demand the head of Walt Disney... or Mickey Mouse for that matter; for ruining my childhood by buying it off Lucas' cold dead hands for a song and dance. And then, subsequently, repackaging it for the likes of all of us brain dead consumers out there who will stop at nothing to own at least a thousand copies of the same film on every single format (i.e. DVD, Hi Def, Blu Ray, VHS, Betamax, etc.) on every variation/packaged set out there (i.e. Steelbook, Limited Edition, Special Edition, 3D Edition, Fuck You Edition) all for the sake of bragging rights! Just something to remember next time you get your asses audited by the IRS and proclaim that companies like Disney are just too big to fail.

And we, being the eager fans that we are, will always keep our eyes peeled for any and all international trailers being released just to see if we can spot slight variations that will include new scenes, footage, etc. That is... until the freakin' thing gets released, and we'll be complaining about any minute fault that we can find in it. Personally, I've already lost count of just how many trailers there are out there. So I decided to compile together a playlist for my readers, but I still get the feeling that it's not complete and I may be missing one or two... either way, it's something to visually gorge upon. So take a look, and enjoy!

This only goes to prove that you can't really trust marketing when the industry puts out a statement like there will be no more trailers, but still releases a steady drip of TV spots here and there right before opening day. Some people even prefer not to see any of these new marketing clips for fear that it might spoil the entire Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens movie for them. But I digress, I'm not here to blast the business as usual modus operandi of this capitalist society of ours... I just think that at this level, J.J. Abrams has been tasked with the deliverance of something that can only be describe as pure gold. And failure to do so will probably cause a real rebel uprising from the likes of cosplaying geeks and open carrying lightsaber enthusiasts that are going to treat him with the same respect that they've given Jar Jar Binks.

And judging from the marketing ploys (or should I say cultural escapades?) involved with releasing a full length trailer during Monday Night Football... yes, you heard that right folks! I couldn't believe it either. In fact, my head is still reeling from this bit of news. Okay, now that I've fully regained my composure/faculties, I just want to say... What the flyin' fuck, Disney?!? Have you all lost your collective corporate minds?!? If there's one thing you don't do is mix is anything from the nerg genre with jocks and their sports! All this just reeks of typical career executive mentality, if you ask me! Most of us diehard fans are still recovering from the fact that the tradition of a May the 4th release date no longer holds any meaning in the Sithey Mouse culture. But maybe, just maybe... the emperor was right. Maybe I am mistaken about a great many things!

On the one hand, you get a bunch of testosterone, muscle bound, roided out freaks huddled together around a big screen that's situated in the general living room area; mostly populated by their good drinking buddies (or the friends that their wives don't necessarily want around) just a'rootin' for their number one draft picks (be they real, or on the latest unregulated gambling scam to take the televised commercial world by storm) or appearing in the form of some homoerotic display for censors to immediately face palm themselves with. And on the other end of this spectrum, you'll get the nerdy, elvish bookworms with bad complexions brought on by the massive intake of fast food (AKA: processed poison) and five second (not hour; it's a threshold thing, really) energy drinks that they consume just to engage in a burping contest (it's a pseudo intellectual thing); just a' waitin' for their new comic book superhero or latest sci-fi epic installment (i.e. this trailer).

What it all boils down to in the end is how much money you (the corporate conglomerate in question) can squeeze out of any one of these groups, isn't it? Never mind that the country's going to shit in a bucket and that racial and financial inequality exists, just give me some football and a little Leia in her slave girl costume action, and we're all set. Well, here's the thing folks... it may not work as well as it did anymore, before you all went ahead and released the long awaited prequel trilogy and gave us the running CGI gag that is/was Jar Jar. Maybe you might get away with the fact that live sets were being used this time instead of saturating it all with green screen technology, but let's face it... the magic is gone, or is bound to be, and you're only just postponing the inevitable. Stop jerking us off already, will ya please?

But again, I digress, for this post is not to insult most of our collective anticipations for this upcoming (and purported) blockbuster of a film (but I just know something is going to ruin it... be it the rumor that Han dying off in this one is true, or something far more deviously sinister than that). To tell you the truth, I don't even want to see it when it comes out in theaters. Mainly because a) I want to avoid spending money for something that I think would be really awesome to watch only to get disappointed by it (like I did with Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull); b) because it's a Disney (turn my head and spit) production; and c) because change frightens me... And no, I'm not saying that as a racial remark against John Boyega being a stormtrooper like a million other rednecks protested about; I mean that I hope Han Solo doesn't die, and if he does, I don't want to watch it. It's bad enough we had to see Starkiller do just that in a videogame!

Anyways, we'll just have to wait and see...In the meantime, I'd like to share with you this brilliant piece of footage that I just so happened to stumble across on the grand visual self flagellating technicolor dream of a medium hitherto known as YouTube. And that little gem of a spectacle is none other than this hilarious video mash up which is a cross between a Star Wars trailer fan reaction and an actual piece of movie footage (from hands down, the best dystopian sci-fi film of all time; Bladerunner). It's so genius, that I'm not even going to spoil it for you all, you'll just have to click on the video link below and view it for yourself. Kudos to VidGeo for this clip and "May the Farce Be With You!"

Like This Video? If So, Please Click on the Link Below...

This has been P.S. Elliott (Red 27 standing by) or Dr. Gonzo BR27 (I'm filed and monitored...) reporting for the disassociated press, that is... The Gnoyze Guitar Mods & More Web Blog.

Friday, November 27, 2015

The Killers - All These Things That I've Done

Hello again, my fellow mod heads! Just thought I'd share a video from one my personal favorite bands, The Killers on this blog. And I'm giving you, not one... but two (that's right, a double dose!) of their hit song All These Things That I've Done. And why two, you ask? Well--- there are two versions of this song that act as an official music video release floating around out there; one of which is the original UK version (my personal favorite) and the other which I'm assuming must be the slightly remixed US version... that's oddly enough, the only one currently up on their official YouTube/VEVO channel. So anyways, without any further ado, just hit the play button on any of the two embedded videos below, turn up the volume, and let your ears do the rest...

Embed Your Music Video On My Blog Gnoyze Fiverr Gig

This has been P.S. Elliott (or Mr. Brightside himself... Dr. Gonzo XXVII) reporting for the disassociated press, that is... The Gnoyze Guitar Mods & More Web Blog.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The Axe Wives' Club - E'Bee

Hello yet again my fellow mod heads! I thought I'd dedicate today's entry to the first LP black beauty style guitar that I owned several years ago. Back in my heyday, I had purchased a used Epiphone LP that had a very unusual looking finish on it. Its finish looked like a cross between a honey burst and a quilted top; very sunny looking, typically orange for the most part.... but it had some brownish looking spots on it as well. No one at the time could give me a straight answer as to what type of finish it had, for it wasn't exactly a tiger stripe paint job, but rather a tiger spot finish! After researching it online, I came across the exact model, and it turned out that the color was actually a birdseye finish!

My first LP looked like this, except it had opened pickups on it
(without the chrome covers) since this sample image I found online
is actually a modded guitar with some Gibson pickups in it.

It was the first LP I ever owned, and I really regret mistreating her with all the modifications that I had done on it and all; mainly because I really wasn't aware of how the main three way toggle switch functioned with a three humbucker pickup configuration. Did I forget to mention that I had my tech rout out a spot in between the bridge and the neck pickup for a middle pickup? Well... try to imagine a regular two pickup Les Paul with an extra humbucker pickup added to the middle. And furthermore... imagine how hard it is (or was at the time... back in the late nineties/early millenium when eBay was still in its infancy) to find the right sized humbucker rings for not the basic two, but three pickups! So, taking this into account, you can blame my naivety when it came to what one could and could not do when it came to modding an instrument; for I was under the mistaken assumption of how a three way toggle switch would function with this type of setup. I thought it could easily be wired up in much the same way that a three way blade switch could; in that each position would select each individual humbucker pickup. However, that's simply not the case when it comes to three humbucker pickup LP stock wiring; which toggles between the neck and the bridge in each of their respective positions, and makes the bridge pickup go out of phase with the middle pickup in the center position. See the illustrated wiring diagram below, which can be found in StewMac's Guitar Player Repair Guide...

So, after a series of discussions with my tech, I was informed that there was an alternate wiring which could essentially turn the middle pickup on and off by a switch, be it in the form of a mini toggle switch or a push/pull (or a push/push) control pot. And that wiring diagram looks like this...

Click on the image above for a direct link to the GuitarElectronics website.

Of course, I wanted to see if there was a way to get more out of the wiring. And that's pretty much where the whole wiring proposal started getting way too complicated. I wanted a switch for each pickup to be coil tapped, whilst incorporating the aforementioned switch to turn the middle pickup on and off... and I think I even went as far as proposing that each pickup have a concentric pot to control both the volume and tone for each pickup at one point, which seemed pretty crazy and to this day, I don't even know if that kind of set up would actually work out or not. Either way, I can't exactly remember what wiring set up was it that I finally wound up going with, but I believe that it involved four push/pulls... three to coil tap each humbucker and one to turn the middle pickup on and off, which seemed pretty efficient with the real estate that was available at the time, which is a pretty small cavity to begin with! And what I wound up with... on one very fateful day was a needless drilling out of three mini switches (which didn't come out so evenly) instead of what I wanted. I even lost the push/push switches that I supplied him with in the process! And this of course, led to my parting ways with his services for a while.

So after this screw up, I had no other choice but to sell the guitar because the mod just looked awkward. I've only myself to blame, for the most part, for not getting more interested in how to wire up these mods on my own. And who can blame the tech... he was, after all, afflicted with color blindness--- which only begged the question as to how he could possibly even make the distinction between all the different color coded four conductor lead wires coming out of the Seymour Duncan humbuckers in the first place! I can't seem to remember what model pickups they were exactly, but what I do remember is that they are all pretty expensive pickups. Then again, that's what I get for buying brand name pickups! It's not like nowadays, when third party pickup manufacturers can put out clones that not only come close, but at times, even surpass the quality of high end vintage boutique pickups such as these.

Of course, this post is not specifically meant to be about the birdseye LP... but rather about my second attempt at getting a guitar put together that had three humbucker pickups on it. It was actually my third LP style guitar. Prior to this one, I had a very schweet lookin' Eden sunburst guitar body with Gibson 94R and 94T's installed on it, along with a TP-6 tailpiece, Grover tuners, the whole nine yards, really. This was a pretty well put together guitar. Had I known how to actually drill in the posts on my own and know as much as I do now about soldering components and all... I might have very well done it on my own. However, drilling stud posts is not exactly my forte. I'm sure there's a lot of videos out there explaining this process, like this one below for instance...

If you like this video, please subscribe to Brad Angove's
DIY YouTube channel by clicking on the link below...

And as I got a little wiser about modding, I started taking a good look at what my tech had done to this guitar. I found out that he installed the bridge pickup backwards; and by that I mean that the pickup was physically facing backwards... not wired with up with the ground as the lead, which is what is actually required in order to make this specific set of Gibson pickups hum cancelling. The neck pickup is wired normally while the bridge is wired with the ground as the lead so that they don't intentionally sound too thin when played together. Upon further tinkering I found out that there wasn't even a main ground wire hooked up to one of the stud mounting posts for the tailpiece. And so I decided to just part this guitar out and sell it (piece by piece) on eBay, starting with the pickups, of course.

Here's a couple of shots of me rockin' out on my Eden
sunburst guitar.  Photo Credit: John Miller

The problem I had here was that if I spun the bridge pickup around, the wires connecting it to the pots were too short. I hadn't even found out about the wonderful invention of heat shrink tubing and its convenience when it came to extending wires and whatnot until much later. Had I known about how to fix this up properly, I most likely would have kept it. The other problem that I couldn't resolve in time; meaning before I up and sold the two pickups was getting the studs out of the body to keep the tailpiece, which I still have in my possession. The trick there, I found out though a trial, error, and a lot of elbow grease is to use the nail pulling end of a hammer, and use the rounded top as a sort of fulcrum to pluck out the stud from the body. You should place a thick towel or polishing cloth of some sort to protect the body and then just slide the end of the hammer underneath the studs, which should be screwed in all the way down in order for it to facilitate the removal process and not damage the body. But again, I'm just being nostalgic here... and I'm still totally off topic.

You see, this entry is not about either one of these two LP's of mine... but rather about my third, which was a black beauty clone which I named E'Bee, because not only did it sound like a girl's name (i.e. Evie) but because the spelling was meant to imply it's ebony-like color, with a touch of French je ne sais quoi; what with the added apostrophe and all! Again, the body was made by Eden, which meant that it required that the mounting holes be drilled and that the rear plate covers which never seem to readily fit had to be altered somewhat to be nice and snug. So basically what all that meant was that I had to go back with my tail between my legs and make peace with my bumbling tech so that he could put this beast together for me.  And why would I be crazy enough to take on his services again?  Well, let's just say that I couldn't rout out a middle humbucker pickup cavity to save my life... especially on the surface of an archtop!

So my hats off to him for getting that right, at least... however, this guitar also fell victim to having one mod too many. The problem with it started right from the get go, since it arrived with a nut that wasn't properly affixed onto the neck. Since it was loose, I figured why not upgrade it with a brass nut? Pretty good idea, except... that it takes a great amount of work (along with some good tools) in order to file something like that down! So, after informing my tech about how the action was affected due to this, he decided to lower the posts a little bit too much; to the point where it looked like the studs were actually sinking into the body! I figured it must have been some kind of old luthier trick, like some inside trade secret that could be done to lower a guitar's action, but it just didn't look right. And every time I looked at that guitar, I just felt like there was something wrong with it, because of this tiny little oversight. And for the record, it had a wraparound tailpiece with engraved compensated saddles on it, kind of like what certain high end LP Jr. guitars had on them. The guitar was also fitted with three Seymour Duncan Seth Lover pickups; two of which were neck pickups and one which was (obviously) a bridge pickup.

Here's a picture of my E'Bee in all her glory.

Eventually, I had no other choice but to part out this guitar as well... and I did manage to sell it to a very questionable (and maybe even shady) eBayer who insisted on shipping the guitar to a warehouse instead of his residence, which just so happened to be located in Canada.  Now the reason why he seemed shady to me is because it really puzzles me (even to this day) as to how he could have possibly even viewed this listing if its visibility was limited strictly to the US only, since I omitted the other countries on the list of places where I wouldn't ship to (because I wasn't planning on getting screwed over by the shipping rates, like I did with my Ibanez soundgear bass that I had to ship to the UK; but that's another story).  So I figured he must have found a way to get around the system somehow.  The ending result was a guitar with a broken neck, which was not due to my poor boxed packaging as he suggested, but rather because it was delivered and signed for by one of his warehouse workers, who most likely had a thing against him enough to want to damage any box that was addressed to him.  He probably deserved it, a boss!

Oh well... that's all ancient history, and these guitars all have a fond memory and place in my heartless organ that continues to beat in my rib cage. The wiring set up I had for this guitar involved three volumes for each pickup and one tone control, which once again was provided by the very same Guitar Player Repair Guide by StewMac...

Of course, this wasn't the end of my love affair with three humbucker pickup style LP's... more on that, later! But the moral of the story is the age old expression that goes: If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself! I just had to hit my head against the same wall a few times to finally get the message very clearly. It's too bad that I had to put up with long drives out to the middle of nowhere, just to pick up a guitar that I didn't hear an immediate problem with until I took it home, several hours and several miles later. I'll never forget one of the last straws with this tech of mine, which involved a routed three pickup white Eden tele that had all its grounds soldered onto the shielding that I had placed on the walls of the control cavity. Yes, you heard that right, folks! Instead of the grounding being hooked up to the bottom of the volume pot, they were all soldered onto the copper tape lined up against the cavity. Go figure! This of course resulted in a great deal of highly unwanted static pops emanating from my speaker. Anyways, it's hard to think back at all this without cringing a little, so I'm just taking this stroll down memory lane with a grain of salt. And I do think that the aforementioned birdseye LP was modded a little more than what I can recall. I think it may have even had three individual volumes and tones added to it, with the main toggle switch replaced with a master volume switch, but I can't honestly say for sure anymore, since it's been almost a decade or so since I had that axe. Still... there's always the possibility that someone somewhere may have wound up with it somehow, since I did sell it to a guitar shop that went quickly out of business a few months after that.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Strange Coincidences

Greetings once again, my fellow mod heads! Every now and again I stumble across something rather, how do you say? Entirely too coincidental, perhaps? And well... it just leaves me in amazement. This particular coincidence is none other than the similarity that can be noticed when you hear U2's City of Blinding Lights and a portion of the theme music from the main stage(s) of the Sega gaming classic  Space Harrier. Of course, it's a bit of stretch, really... and far be it from me to accuse any artist of musical thievery. For it's one thing to "borrow" a written piece of music from another song and make it your own to the point where the new generation isn't even aware of the original source material because it's just not considered "hip" to know a thing or two about musical history! Just look at all the ill informed people out there that dance to MC Hammer but have never even heard of Rick James or those that are into Vanilla Ice but don't have a clue as to who Freddy Mercury of Queen and/or David Bowie is, for that matter! But either way, just take a listen below and you'll see what I mean...

You'll notice that U2's song up above sounds almost identical to the passage at the 24 to 25 second mark of the Sega counterpart in the video below. This song of course came out in 2004, while the arcade has been around since 1985... it's still a matter of debate whether it's legal or not to do this without getting a lawsuit from the video game industry. Technically speaking, patent laws expire after 20 years... which is when works such as these are public domain, yet they released the song with just a year to go, so your guess is as good as mine on the whole legality of it all. Either way, I just thought it was interesting to point this out... in case you're a musical artist looking to score a Pac-Man hip hop song or something along those lines.

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This has been Dr. Gonzo XXVII or P.S. Elliott (whichever comes first) reporting for the disassociated press, that is... The Gnoyze Guitar Mods & More Web Blog.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Anatomy of a Mini Slide Switch

One of the most essential components involved with much of the mods that I do involve the employment of mini dpdt slide switches, which are predominantly of the two position, (on/on) six pole piece variety. For those of you that are new to this, pole pieces are the lugs that stick out from the back of the switch, which is where the wires are soldered up to make a connection... much like how you would solder up the lead and ground wires to the lugs on a potentiometer (AKA: volume and/or tone controls) on a guitar. Then again, that's probably not a good comparison, but it operates on the same basic principle.

This image up above came from this page in The GuitarWiring Blog
which explains a great deal of how mini throw switches operate.

Anyways, one thing I found out through a lot of trial and error was that most of the wiring diagrams that are widely available could be slightly misleading because what one would automatically assume to be the correct wiring for one type of switch (i.e. a slide switch) doesn't exactly hold true for the other type of switch (AKA: a mini toggle switch).  If you were using slide switches, you would eventually notice that these wiring diagrams are essentially upside down.  So that's where common sense comes into play.  What it really all relies upon is the basic structure of the switch's contacts themselves.

You see, a throw switch (or mini toggle, if you want to get technical here) operates when the base of its shaft makes contact with the ends of the lugs.  And since this contact point is at the end of the shaft, it's only natural that that point is actually on the opposite end of where the tip is pointing, like a see saw, or a fulcrum.  Try to picture if you were holding a bat, for example... the point of contact would naturally be your hand, which would be located at the base of the bat, of course, and not the tip. If you were to point the bat upwards at an angle, your hand would naturally be below it, whereas if you were to point it to the ground, your hand would be above it.  The slide switch, on the other hand, tends to hover right above the contact points, hence the reason why you usually have to swap the wiring from the top and bottom rows of lugs (or poles) in order to make them work logically; with the on function being in the up position and the off function being in the down position.  Here's a diagram which will hopefully clear up all of this technical jargon...

There is one specific instance which I can cite where this argument gets completely thrown out the window.  And that's whenever one decides to wire up a switch (regardless of whether it's a slide or a throw switch, that is) so that it can be a series/parallel toggle.  For some reason, which I honestly fail to understand, the way that the series/parallel switch is wired (see the diagram below) can easily be applied to both types of switches in the exact same way that it is illustrated.  So there's really no need to swap the bottom row of soldered wire contacts with the ones in the upper row of lugs.

Image Provided by Rothstein Guitars

Another type of switch that belongs to this family of switches is a push/pull or push/push pot.  Structurally, they are basically the same 6 pole DPDT type of switch, except that they have the extra added convenience of being attached to a potentiometer, which allows modders to easily wire up some extra controls without sacrificing some precious real estate... in other words, you don't really need to drill holes into your pickguard to accommodate some extra switches!  And when it comes to wiring up controls such as these, the only thing you have to remember is that the lugs closest to the base of the pot are essentially the row that activates the switch... much like the opposite end of the aforementioned baseball bat analogy (or the base of the mini toggle switch, if you want to be more specific) or the row of lugs on which the slide switch hovers over when it's in the on position.

So basically put, anything that's soldered onto here is what gets activated when the push/pull switch is engaged (or basically put... when the knob is pulled up).  On the other hand, if the control was a push/push pot, then you would have to press it in order to engage and disengage the switch.  Pulling up on a push/push control could unintentionally damage it, so be careful that you note the difference beforehand.  Below are two sample custom wiring images, once again from Rothstein Guitars and Seymour Duncan.  Despite the fact that one wiring is meant to turn on the neck pickup while the other is meant to turn on the bridge pickup, you're essentially activating or better put... introducing the pickup into the circuit in either wiring; where it normally wouldn't be sounding by soldering the respective wires onto their indicated places.  However, it is interesting to note that the added jumper wire that eventually gets hooked up to the hot input (or leftmost lug of the potentiometer) is located on the row of lugs nearest to the base of the pot on the push/pull switch in the Seymour Duncan diagram while in the other example, this wire is located in the middle, whilst the respective leads of the neck and/or bridge pickups each share the alternating lug.  Essentially speaking, since these types of effects are basically doing the same exact thing, it is perfectly logical to solder them either way.  Now, if you wanted the effect to work in the exact opposite direction, what you would do is take the wire that's closest to the bottom and swap it out with the lugs at the top.  So that you would have the bridge or neck pickup turn off when the switch is thrown to the up position, or the knob is activated (i.e. pulled up).

Alternatively, if you were to wire up a slide switch using this Rothstein diagram (up above), the switch would only function when it was in the down position... because as I mentioned before, the slide switch "hovers" over the metal contacts, thus turning the effect on and off in the same exact direction, whereas the mini toggle switch would work in the opposite direction, since the base of its shaft is pointing towards the lugs that would essentially activate or deactivate an effect.  Also note that if you leave a row of lugs alone without soldering anything onto them, you're essentially breaking the circuit, because no circuit can be complete without a paired wire to complete it.  So you really can't have a ground or lead wire operating by itself without it's compliment; which clearly explains why the lugs that are not soldered are essentially the off or typically the down position sides of a switch.

Now, all this talk of comparisons is getting me slightly off topic, for I wanted to focus this blog entry on specifically the slide switches that I use for my mods.  I first became acquainted with these styles of switches through GuitarFetish, as they include them in the custom pickguard wiring kits that are designed specifically for their Brighton Rock line of pickups.  Of course, I would like to point out that I don't want to sound like I'm endorsing this company and/or Seymour Duncan for that matter, especially since the lack of quality control on the former has put me off from ever ordering anything from them again... which leads me right to my discovery of an alternative, which I'll gladly share with you all.  But going back to when I first got this kit and couldn't make heads and/tails of their wiring diagram which was incorrect in some areas, I wound up burning some of these switches unintentionally (and who could blame me for trying?) for they are really small and harder to work with than the regular sized Fender style slide switches; which are bigger real estate-wise and are more comfortable to work with.  This type of slide switch, however, really takes some skill to get used to.  In fact, I can say that I really cut my teeth wiring up these types of switches.  Of course, not until I purchased an extra set of switches only to have them delivered to me without any mounting screws... prompting me to get a hold of their lame excuse for customer service and demand that the missing set of screws be sent to me... which explains my whole ongoing love/hate relationship with them all, doesn't it?

Anyways... after looking around eBay, I came across this seller from the far east (i.e. China) whose storefront is only an extension of a main business website called Uxcell.  And this website has a very similar type of switch which is a great alternative to the more expensive ones sold by the aforementioned unmentionables (whose name I will only utter if I follow it up by turning my head and spitting).  In fact, they are so cheap that you can buy them by the bulk, and still get a lot more bang for your buck than anything the US vendors can offer.  Ain't capitalism grand, dad?

There is of course, are one or two small technicalities though.  One of which, is the peak hour at which the main website is operating.  I'm guessing it must have some low bandwidth issue, which is why the pages take an infinitely long time to load.  And the other technical (or should I say physical?) setback is that the switches don't come with mounting screws.  I actually had to try my luck with StewMac to get some suitable screws for that one.  And while the mounting screws for the regular Fender style slide switches did seem to work for the three way slide switches; which are the metric type tele screws (which are short and have a mushroom style head on them rather than the conical tapered ones) sometimes they were slightly a bit too thin for the two way 6 lug slide switches, so I had to purchase the CRL and Oak-Grigsby style tele switches which are slightly thicker and a bit harder to thread into the switches themselves.  So much so in fact, that the majority of the time, the mounting screws are threaded slightly off and go into an angle.

This slight incline tends to make the screws crash into the PCB board area of the switch (i.e. underside of the shaft of the switch) and either damages it completely, or simply leaves a circular melted chunk at the edge of these boards, due to the high velocity impact of the electric drill I'm using at the time (and trust me... it's a lot harder to screw in by hand, especially when you've just made an impromptu hole in the pickguard!).  The latter of these two possible outcomes is easier to live with, though all this can easily be avoided if I just find a good hardware store that carries just the right... however, they usually don't have them, since these are technically specialty type screws, so I'm sure you easily can see my ongoing dilemma here.

Notice how you can just make out the top screw's threading
marring the edges of the small contact board.

And in this shot, you can see how these five way switch mounting
screws' threading can essentially take a small chunk out of
the housing of the contacts on the slide switch due to the angle
being slightly off due to the mounting hole being slightly smaller.

The other thing I've noticed about the difference in between the two; aside from the metal housing on one and the black housing on the other is that the shaft of the switch for the aforementioned turn your head and spit company is slightly longer than these highly suitable and less expensive counterparts from China.  There's a seller that offers both of these variations on eBay. The same is true for the replacement slide switches that they offer for the bigger Fender style Jazzmaster type of switches.  Aside from the usual established company name branding and all,  I always wonder who makes these decisions when it comes to designing something that's just that much slightly off and enough to distinguish it from the original.  I'm sure it has a lot to do with avoiding a potential patent lawsuit, don't you?

Notice the difference in the length of the switch shaft
between these two switches which are exactly
the same but sold by different vendors.
Additionally, the holes for the mounting
screws vary in size as well.

Anyways... below are some links (that'll probably take forever to load) for certain mini slide switches.  I wasn't exactly able to find the 6 lug type that I usually use for my mods from Uxcell, but as I mentioned above, they can be bought from user friendstore1682010 (though I can't really vouch for it, since I'm not quite sure if it's the exact same size as the ones I have).  Another eBay seller you should check out to get these switches is hongkongsuperseller.

3 lug on/off mini slide switch with black chasis

3 lug on/off mini slide switch with metal chasis

6 lug on/off/on mini slide switch with black chasis

The last link above is for a three position slide switch (yes, I was just as surprised to when I found out that there were actually making three way mini slide switches now).  What you'll immediately notice with your naked eye is that there is a grill on the side of these switches which contains a small ball bearing which is needed to essentially lock the switch in the center position to prevent it from easily sliding to the up and down positions only.  So it's basically a divider mechanism to toggle between the selected lugs.  Other than that extra piece of hardware, the components are nearly the same for each type of switch (i.e. on/on vs. on/off/on).  The on/off/on switch has no springs for the metal strip contacts that slide or hover over the lugs' contact points, instead it just has one spring for the aforementioned ball bearing; which makes sense, since this is what is necessary to provide for the right amount of friction for the switch to function in the housing itself.  The on/on switch, on the other hand, has two small springs for each contact strip (which are longer).  Refer to the images below to get the bigger picture (no pun intended, unless you click on the thumbnail links that is!).

Components of an on/off/on mini-switch. Note the one spring for the ball bearing
which is housed in a hole on the side of the switch itself.  The other thing to note is
that the metal strips are smaller and wrap around the lug contacts whereas the
ones on a mini on/on switch (see picture below) appear to be much flatter.

And here are the innards of a mini on/on slide switch.  This one has wider strip
contacts and a pair of smaller springs (one of which I lost when I took this photo!)
that are housed in a pair of trench-like channels directly beneath the tip of the switch.

There is another variety of a three way on/off/on switch that is available in the standard Fender Switchcraft size can be found on StewMac, however it's designed for Mustangs or Duo Sonics and has eight lugs instead of the six found on the aforementioned three way mini switches.  The only difference when it comes to wiring up the two; (say in a coil splitting set up, for example) is that you have to wire the center lug of the three way switch twice for the Switchcraft, so the two rows in the center would essentially be soldered together.  Here's a few images which can illustrate that fact a bit better...

This image above, which can be found on the StewMac product page
for the Switchcraft style slide switches explains how the two variations
(i.e. on/off/on and the on/on slide switches) work when they are wired up.

And here is a side by side comparison so that you can
see the difference in scale between the two switches
which each have the same function, but with
an extra lug on the bigger switch only.

And here is a wiring diagram provided by GuitarElectronics for
wiring up a four conductor humbucker pikup into a coil selecting setup.
What's really odd about this diagram is that even though it specifies that
the wiring is intended an SPDT on/off/on mini toggle switch, the layout is
essentially what a modder would be using for a slide switch, because the lead wire
is at the top and not at the bottom; as it should be on a regular mini toggle switch.
So this is a perfect example of a slightly misleading diagram that I mentioned earlier.

So there you have, my fellow mod heads--- I know there's still a lot more to cover, but we've all got to start somewhere. I keep wondering when parts manufacturers will successfully produce an on/on/on slide switch; but I think that would be a feat in engineering, in and of itself. Definitely a lot to ask for. So in the meantime, stay tuned (no pun intended) for our next installment...

Monday, October 5, 2015

Rexon - Short Change Hero (Cover) Borderlands 2

What's that you say? You've never heard a mellower sounding band than the one fronted by the Tori Amos/Danielle Harris hybrid piece of eye candy (also known as Kelly Jean) with the There's Something About Mary hairdo and the Elfmanesque drummer (AKA: Matthew Webb) to boot? Well then, feast your eyes on this DIY student film turned viral sensation/rocking team combo over here; hitherto known as The Rexon Band...

Like This Video? If So, Please Click on the Link Below...

Embed Your Music Video On My Blog Gnoyze Fiverr Gig

This has been P.S. Elliott (or Dr. Gonzo "The Beserker?" XXVII) reporting for the disassociated press, that is... The Gnoyze Guitar Mods & More Web Blog.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Customer Disservice, Part III

Hello once again, my dear fellow prisoners... first off, I just wanted to say that I didn't really expect to complete this proposed trilogy of my awfully bad experiences with eBay; mainly because I didn't feel as though I had enough literally meat to sink my teeth into. However, yet another recent mishap with a sale has opened up my eyes just a bit more, and thought I'd take a moment or two to share it with you all. Also, I just want to point out that my head's literally still reeling from being called a yuppie. And in case you don't realize what I'm referring to exactly, have a look at my exchange with an unruly patron in my last blog piece (related to this subject) to get a better understanding of what's led to this final installment in this ongoing saga.

So, originally I was planning on writing about an incident that happened to me; not selling on eBay, but rather purchasing an item and then returning it for a refund. So here's what happened there. I had gotten into the whole rechargeable batteries kick after realizing that most of the surplus I had purchased ages ago from eBay; which consisted mostly of AA and AAA batteries, had mostly exploded all on their own from simply being put away in storage.& Imagine that! If and when the zombie apocalypse does occur, make sure you have a reliable set of batteries that haven't been sitting around for more than a year. And so... being the technology inclined geek that I am, I started researching the differences in rechargeable batteries and realized that the greater the mAh value, the longer a charge they are all capable of holding.

So after doing some searches, I deduced that the highest value a AA could hold was around the 3000 mAh value. Although it could very well be 3300mAh, but I'm not willing to go wasting my money like that again, because that's exactly where I went wrong in this instance. See, what happened was that I came across a listing for a set of eight batteries that had a 5000mAh capacity, so I figured those were the ones that I really wanted to be using for all of my electronic needs! And sure enough, when the packaged arrived and I opened up the yellow bubble wrap envelope I immediately realized that these batteries were designed for something else, because they looked way bigger than standard AA sized batteries. So basically put, I ordered the wrong thing all together and needed to send it back.

Normally, the return process shouldn't be that much of a problem. You simply inform the seller that you're going to return the item back for a refund, pay the return shipping cost, and then wait to get the money back in your account and call it a day. Only here, I had purchased the same wrong item (which just so happened to be the same exact item) from two different sellers. One seller was completely courteous and granted me a refund on the spot and even insisted that I just simply keep the item (because frankly, it's just not worth the effort of sending an item back due to shipping costs and whatnot). But, I, of course... being the honest schmuck that I am, decided to send it back just to be karmically on par with this other generous being (yes, we are a rare breed, aren't we?) and not owing any kind of debt to this random vendor; be it in this life or the next. And so, I took care of that, and actually wasted most of the refund money attempting to send back these batteries; because the other vendor wasn't as nice as this other one was.

The first thing that put me off about this seller was that he didn't agree to a refund right away, so I kind of had to bend their arm a bit. Meaning, that they didn't even bother to respond to my messages right away. What I did get out of them was that they would only give me the refund if I sent the item back and they received, inspected, and ensured that the item(s) was (or were) still in perfect working order. So in order to step up the time table here, I sent back both packages via US Postal Priority Service, simply by cramming the original manila envelope bubble wrapped packaging into one of those small and awfully convenient small flat rate boxes, which cost $5.75 to send... so that basically left me with a actual remaining refund (or dare I say profit loss?) of about three dollars or so for each return.

Anyways, about a day goes by after I got confirmation that the batteries were returned and I didn't hear back from this seller in regards to the refund. I even made the mistake of contacting the wrong seller (the one that was nice) and asked him for what was going on with my refund. And that misstep was immediately followed up by an apology on behalf of the whole confusion produced largely on my part. So, I wrote the same message again to the other unruly seller and demanded to know was going on with my refund. I can't remember if I got a follow up or not with yet some more lip service that basically was the same broken record about the item having to be physically in the seller's hands so that they could grant me the refund, so I must have pointed out somewhere to them that the tracking number clearly stated that the packaged was received and signed for, and yada, yada, yada... I wound up filing a complaint with eBay's resolution center; which in and of itself was (and is) another mess all together.

The reason why this instance was such a mess was that there is no specific box or explanation you can mark to explain that you simply made the wrong purchase; without implying that you either received the wrong item, or it was damaged, so I had to choose between those two unlikely reasons for my return. So, I chose the wrong item... because technically it's correct, however, if I had bothered to actually read the specific item details I would have known better and not bought this item at all; for it's simply the kind of batteries that one uses for RC remote control planes or cars, and not the ones you would fit into a regular TV remote control, or a gamepad, etc. So at this point, I had opened up a case which eBay is notorious for (more on that later) which basically delays the time it takes for a buyer to get their money back whenever they find themselves in a predicament such as this one. And that time frame is something that I don't agree with at all; because it takes three days from the item's purchase to file a complaint, and then about four or five more days to give that contacted party enough ample time to respond to the complaint (in this case the vendor that sold me the battery) and then (if I remember correctly) it takes an additional ten days for the geniuses at eBay to reach a decision in regards to the case should you decide to escalate it (which I usually do when fuckers like these don't even bother to respond to lodged complaints), and then yet another three to sometimes five business days after that final decision is reached for the money to be put back into your account after it goes through the hands of PayPal (which is now operating as a separate entity, by the way).

So here is where this story gets interesting... after about ten odd days or so (from the initial waiting period to officially go ahead and file a complaint, that is) had gone by, I now had the ability to escalate the case and ask eBay to take action, because it seemed to me that the seller was simply just running down the clock and expecting the case to go away all on its own on account of the fact that you can't really do anything after 30 days have passed. Clever Catch 22, by the way, isn't it, folks? He even wrote back to me insisting that I drop the case so that I could get my refund back... which in my naive way of thinking assumed that because this vendor didn't know how eBay policy regarding returns actually worked, must have been completely mistaken about. So because of this constant insistence of theirs (they suggested I do that a couple of times, by the way), I figured the best way out of this was to escalate the complaint more... with the only reliable shred of evidence remaining here would have been the message that eBay insist its members partake in when such a problem arises, that way their crack staff can directly probe the details of before reaching their final verdict.

So I escalated the case, and within moments, this asshole vendor decides to have eBay step in and help suss out the details in regards to this refund which could have been easily handled, but no...!

Note: These images have been redacted and substituted with more
accurately put sarcastic details for your reading pleasure. Enjoy!
Simply click on the thumbnail up above for a larger resolution image...

Once again, please click on this thumbnail above for a higher resolution
preview image (that is... if you don't want to strain your eyes, of course!)

Next thing I know, I get the case ruled against my favor. Yes, you heard that right, folks... not IN MY FAVOR, but AGAINST MY FAVOR. So what was left for me to do? I left them some negative feedback detailing that I didn't get my refund back after returning the item and warning others to steer clear of this seller. And wouldn't you know it? Moments after that, I receive yet another email from eBay stating that they removed the negative feedback I had left this seller.

Doesn't it strike you as ironic that eBay insists that customers provide
more accurately detailed feedback ratings for the sake of their whole community,

yet when someone like me states the obvious (i.e. no refund after item was returned)
they rush to take down the truth right away... if only customer service was this
quick! Maybe I could have gotten my money back a hell of a lot quicker!

And if it would please this court... I'd like to refer to the thumnail image
(and/or the higher resolution image link that follows it... if you, the reader clicks on it)
of my email inbox up above as exhibit D. Note the times that it took between
each of these transgressions and then wonder why there's a stupid and
needless ten to thirteen day waiting rule in effect. I rest my case, your honor!

Of course, you can just imagine how angry I was over this. It wasn't really about the money anymore; that's just chump change any way you look at it... what angered me was the principle of the whole thing. So after digging around in the obscurest corners of eBay's help section, I found out that I could appeal this decision and decided to write to them detailing everything that happened, and wouldn't you know it? I wound up getting a complete refund from the seller, within just mere seconds of my sending out that appeal. A few days later, I get an email back from eBay (which I unfortunately lost somewhere along the lines and don't have a screen capture of to show off here for posterity purposes) which basically apologized for their mishandling of this case but that they were aware that the vendor had already gone ahead and issued a full refund already, so basically put... (insert highly indifferent yet trying to be consoling shoulder shrug here) no harm no foul! Right? Yeah--- as if my ulcer wasn't being being unruly enough already! Thank you for that lovely bit of stress induced regurgitation and lapse of common sense there, ya corporate pricks!

So maybe, the experienced seller was right after all... I didn't have to through the motions of getting eBay involved to resolve this matter, and all I really needed to do was drop the case so that I can get my refund issued back to me. My mind, however, still boggles at the fact that this fucker was able to get the case ruled in their favor. I believe they basically argued that there was nothing wrong with the product and that it was accurately described as stated in the listing, which I am in complete agreement with. It was my fault for not paying attention to the details, after all... but they really didn't have to make me go through all this trouble had they just been a little more sympathetic and probably more attentive to the fact that I had spent just as much money trying to send this item back to them as I did in paying for the freaking thing in the first place! This incident, however, wouldn't be the first time this happened.

As a matter of fact, several months after the fact, I decided to buy X-Men: Days of Future Past on Blu Ray, only to find out (the hard way) that it wasn't compatible with my outdated region free Blu Ray player. So once again, I found myself going through the same exact motions of returning the item; (i.e. not hearing back from the seller, opening a resolution case, dealing once again with having to decide whether the item was damaged or not as described) and then having to subject myself to the same exact hold up instituted herein and due forth by the lovely pecker headed community that is eBay and all of its over glorified and infinite corporate wisdom! But all this, of course, occurred after I had unknowingly damaged my Blu Ray player by popping in this copy only to hear a very high pitched disc screeching sound (which it now does every time I put in a Blu Ray or a DVD for that matter). The tray even shuts back now without my even pressing of the close tray button. Sure, it still reads discs and plays them, but it's got this rather disturbing sound to it now that seems like the discs are being placed on a light speed centrifuge. I wouldn't be surprised if I get a positive blood sample now whenever I try to sit back and enjoy a movie. I even made the mistake of trying out this same movie on my computer's Blu Ray tray as well as my laptop. And in both of those instances, the reader made an even stranger sound when I attempted to get the disc out of the tray. The ending resolve for both of those was to shut down the system and reboot it in order to get the disc out.

And to this I wonder... why does the industry even bother with this whole fucking anti-piracy bullshit anyways? Hackers will always find a workaround solution to their level of protection anyways... it's only a matter of time, ya dinks! The thing that pisses me off is that they don't even bother to let consumers know beforehand that this may practically impair their disc player's performance for years to come should they bother to venture putting it in there in the first place! You know... it's not a very idea to refer to something as "industry standard" when in fact it's all just industry in progress! Of course, that's another topic of discussion, and I'm sorry for getting sidetracked. But I'd like to get back to the main topic at hand, and what prompted me to finish this here consumer complaint department of an epic trilogy over here. And that's my most recent sale that just took place approximately two and a half days ago, and... you guessed it! I still have yet to receive payment for this item, and the buyer still hasn't responded. What really defies all logic here is that this customer didn't even agree to pay for the full price of the item I was selling, but rather sent me a best offer value which I considered and agreed to. The least they can do is hurry up and pay it, right?

But then... I started wondering. And I started getting very suspicious. In this past year alone, I've had quite a few instances that were very similar to this. In fact, most of them were best offers that I had agreed to, just so I could cash in on as much as I could and get out of somethings that were just taking up way too much room around the house. But in this specific instance, as I was typing up a message to the buyer, I happened to glance at their email and noticed that it wasn't one of the usual email providers (i.e. Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo, etc.) but rather it was a specific domain address... you know, like the ones that you get when you sign up for a web hosting package (i.e. just the like the one I got to keep bringing you pictures such as these)?

So would anyone care to explain how a parked domain that probably doesn't
even have a working email be allowed to be registered on eBay as a contact email?

And upon checking out the domain itself, I got this GoDaddy page which declared the site as currently being parked, so I'm thinking either this buyer is currently buying up items to sell off on his up and coming website, or he's simply using a false email, which I'm sure that eBay is knowingly aware about, and they're just helping to engage in this suspected fraudulent activity without doing anything about it. Of course, that's just borderline conspiracy theory, right? Well... technically not. Have you ever tried to sign up with any given email provider and provided them with a website email as an alternate contact? There's no way they would accept that... so why in the hell is eBay allowing this?!? And then it occurred to me... maybe with all the holds that they put on the money being refunded and/or the seller fees that are currently being tacked on (well, technically being tacked on in limbo because buyers like these certainly don't plan on paying anything off right away); maybe, just maybe... eBay is engaging in a fraud of epic proportions. Think about this for a second... if you're new to the world of eBay and don't customize your settings, there's a chance that you might leave the seller fees option to automatically be deducted from your account on, so that when you make a sale and the random a hole customer (with or without a bogus email address) decides not to pay you, those seller fees are still being charged to your account, and if you're not careful they can be withdrawn without you even knowing about it. That's what they're banking on usually.

So what happens then is that you have to go through all the red tape, and file a complaint against the buyer to have these fees returned to your account. In one specific case, when I had to get in touch with eBay I was refunded my money back in error, as it was deposited into my seller fees account and not my actual PayPal account. Doesn't anybody see this as troubling? By default, eBay has a ratio of 10 cents being charged for sellers fees for every dollar made on a sale... so if you were to sell something at say... five bucks, the seller fees would come out to 50 cents. That's the standard at least for the time being, until they decide to hike it up some more, which wouldn't surprise me, seeing how greedy they all are and whatnot. And then of course, PayPal also has fees of their own which they take out of your earnings, just for using their services. So it's like a bank fee that's really just the equivalent of a tick bite in the balls, in my opinion. And there's nothing you can do about that, except for requesting that the buyers pay via check or maybe even Western Union; although I'm not completely sure if the new user policy now states that eBay no longer supports these forms of payment (and I apologize for not keeping up to date with that, but it's been a while since I read the eBay user policy agreement that these pinheads seem to be updating every fifteen minutes or so; at just about the same frequency of a new Apple iTunes update).

A friend of mine which I'm constantly playing Words with Friends with pointed out to me that there's this concept called an overnight rate which banks use to place deposits with each other with at the rate of about .0001% for every dollar. But they do this in the span of 12 to 24 hours, so you really don't get to see this money being deducted and actually lining up bankers' pockets with. It's like that scene from the movie Office Space, where the team of disgruntled computer programmers decide to make a virus that will deposit this small and nearly untraceable percentage of an exchange rate of money from all of their corporate accounts, but inevitably screw up a decimal point and wind up with the possibility of being hauled off into federal pound-me-in-the-ass prison. In case, you missed it... "this salami technique" concept was borrowed from Superman III, which the characters cited in the film. So basically put, if it worked for the movies, what's to say that this is not happening in the real world, where eBay is continually making off with all of our money in small denominational fractions but on a more monumental scale. It all adds up doesn't it? And why wouldn't it... with this "too big to fail" monopoly of an institution that doesn't even have any true dot com rival to compete for its business and all?

Well... maybe I'm just being paranoid. But then again, considering the company's checkered history of being investigated and all, I wouldn't be surprised if it was stealing (that is, more than it is already with all these newly imposed seller fees and all) from every end user on a global scale. When you really think about it, that's the only way any "successful business empire" can continue to operate in this crony capitalistic day and age of ours. I really don't think this is what Neitzsche had in mind when he said that: "All great things must first wear terrifying and monstrous masks in order to inscribe themselves on the hearts of humanity." As bad as I thought it was having to deal with a deadbeat payer on eBay was, having to deal with the whole corporate bureaucratic structure of being a buyer can be just as bad, if not all together a lot worse! Anyways, this concludes this nightmarish trilogy... now onto more pressing matters, such as dealing with this deadbeat buyer with the phony baloney email address!

This has been P.S. Elliott (AKA: buyer bewaring Dr. Gonzo XXVII) reporting for the disassociated press, that is... The Gnoyze Guitar Mods & More Web Blog.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Lego My Ergo... Part II

Hello again, my fellow prisoners... So the other day, I was just wasting my time on social media (Facebook, to be exact) as I usually do when I got nothing better to do, when I stumbled across a shared video to one of my favorite literal block content producers, which arrived in the form of a long overdue, but still highly unexpected game release trailer; which was nothing other than the video that I have embedded below for continuity purposes. Let the nerdgasm ensue!

Well, that certainly looks promising, if I do say so myself! It was almost as if someone (well, not just anyone Joe Schmoe, but rather someone of some importance - relative to the gaming industry; probably in charge of packaging a concept and most likely the one in charge of marketing the ever loving shit out of it all) actually read my previous blog post (entitled Lego My Ergo - hence the obvious title for this new post here) written ages ago, during the time of the dinosaurs. And speaking of which... did I mention that characters from Jurassic Park would be making their appearance here, as well? Looks like Chris Pratt will be pulling double duty voicing both Emmett and the Lego version of Owen, which would explain that odd reference (or should I say Pixar style tie-in) of a dinosaur as well as the Jurassic Park Theme Music playing in Lego Batman III.

Of course, this trailer up above only revealed a brief glimpse at the Back to the Future brick built versions of Marty & Doc. It wasn't until I saw this other trailer down below that I was eager to play this game. But still I wasn't that sold on the idea yet... because this whole new gimmick that they developed of incorporating an actual brick build as a controller during gameplay is enough to see just how far the corporate dick is being shoved up the consumers' collective arse... and with the current market value of all these expansion sets (most of which are required to play the game), I think I'll keep from shelling out my money anytime soon. Couldn't they just make a scaled down version that didn't require the use of this special Lego set brick build controller? Maybe it was corporate's way of getting rid of all the left over bricks that they produced prior to announcing that they were going to use environmentally safer (i.e. greener) substances to produce the blocks with. And maybe, just maybe... several years on down the road (when we're up to our necks in ocean water, courtesy of the melted polar ice caps and all) these expansion sets will be fetching an upwards of a thousand bucks or so on eBay, that is if the government hasn't taxed the crap out of that business empire too!

But then... they pulled a good one on me by announcing that Doctor Who, Ghostbusters, The Simpsons, and a slew of other famously known and well beloved franchises would also be appearing in this colossal epic story line crossover! Here's some proof of that, followed by some further proof...

At this point, I just want to say that being the loyal fan that I am and all... I would consider turning to a life of crime just to get my hands on this game! There's no way the market value of a game like this with all its expansion sets could possibly drop on an online auction site any time soon. In fact, quite the opposite will most likely happen... causing the availability (as well as the overall rarity) of the sets to go up in value to the point where people may just have to settle for buying used sets that probably have some pieces missing or worse yet, broken! Let's face it, people... the whole gimmick that the video game industry is using to market their games and gain some profit out of it all before it depreciates in value is just plain stupid, and a little sinister on working parents around the holiday season, to say the least. Can't you just make enough of these things to destroy the planet with all the plastic it comes housed in and leave it at a highly affordable cost so that gaming idiots such as myself aren't aware of the damage that they're doing to environment simply by storing a green (or in some cases a transparent white) gaming box in a closet somewhere already?!? JUST END IT ALL ALREADY!!!

Colonel Kurtz and Lego Expansion Sets

Okay... maybe that didn't go in the direction I hoped it would---for I really can't get enough of video games; especially anything related to LEGO; but what can I say? I'm just a little bit conscious of my surroundings, and to see a polar ice cap melting right before my very lifetime is enough to open my eyes a bit; at least, when they're not busy being distracted for about fifteen seconds or more (depending on the random length of my ever shrinking attention span, that is). Anyways, it was thrilling to see that they even went all out and managed to get not only Christopher Lloyd to reprise his role for the game (as well as the commercial) but they also got Michael J. Fox as well to voice Marty McFly! For a while I was thinking that they may have had to settle for voice actor A.J. Locascio as a pretty darn close substitute to play him... you know, like they did in the Back to the Future - The Game?). And just like any other game of the LEGO franchise, I'm pretty sure it's going to be one of those monumental play each and every level over and again until you get all the bricks achievements and whatnot whilst I keep wondering why I haven't gotten my life together, settled down, got married, and all that jazz...

Until then... future boys and girls, this has been P.S. Elliott (AKA: Doctor "Mario?" Gonzo XXVII) reporting for the disassociated press, that is... The Gnoyze Guitar Mods & More Web Blog.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Doctor Who Meme Part 1

Hello again my fellow Whovians... (you thought I was going to say prisoners again, didn't you?). With the series premiere of season 9 just around the corner, the BBC has released the prologue episode to fill in the gap between the Last Christmas special and the upcoming The Magician's Apprentice. So, here's what it looks like... enjoy!

To tell you the truth, I barely know what any of it means, so I guess I'll have to wait for Emergency Awesome to do a breakdown on it. I'm simply just a'typin' this here blog post up as a means to conclude the proposed trilogy of memes that I hinted at the possibility of in my previous installments. Of course, this conclusion here doesn't set anything in stone and there's always the possibility that I might revisit it sometime in the near future... you know, like how a famous producer keeps stating that he'll never do another sci fi space opera again, and then turns around and sells it to the Empire only to milk it a little more, and then even goes as far as say... make some more stand alone movies to fill the gaps in between each official release while simultaneously making all of the expanded universe entries non canon? I mean, it's bad enough that you have to make a term like nerdgasm a sad reality, but is there no end to all this? You know why the original trilogy was actually better? Because it stems from a time in Hollywood (well, actually the last few fleeting years of it, anyways) where moviegoers went to the theater just to see their favorite actors and/or actresses act in a new film. Whereas now just about anybody can be an actor, and some studio executive made the decision to cast virtual unknowns because they feel that this formula worked for them the first time around... you know, like when they initially cast Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and the like...?

It's sort of like when they replaced the last batch of clone troopers with storm troopers, you know?  However, in this case... the new batch of storm troopers (i.e. actors) actually exhibit more clone-like qualities and really don't come across as anything remarkably near memorable.  But then again, I'm only going by the prequel trilogy which had some good moments, but it was all just riddled in this CGI green screen nonsense, so you can easily see why it's harder for any actor's performance in that franchise to come across anywhere near believable.  It's like storm troopers that can't shoot their way out of a Sarlacc pit, but then again...

No wonder they can't see anything in those helmets!!!
While I'm at it, here's another gem I found whilst surfing on the web...

Special thanks goes out to the Pinterest community for sharing this image.

Ok, enough with the crossover jabs between these two particular franchises... the real reason why I why I typed up this blog piece, (or dare I say--- the reason you're reading this?) is for the meme to complete this here trilogy-in-progress.  And you may notice that everything is chronologically out of order, just the way the Doctor would have wanted it!  But at any rate... this image below was what started it all.  The subject matter is none other than my favorite animated robot Bender Bending Rodriguez from the Futurama cartoon series, made famous (or infamous) by the same people that brought you The Simpsons.  Anybody ever notice the similarities between him and the Cybermen before?

What's even more coincidental is the fact that Turanga Leela was named after the Fourth Doctor's companion.  And also note, that that very same beloved Doctor also made a couple of cameos in that short-lived cult hit tv series.  So I guess this might have been Stephen Moffat's subtle way of returning the favor for the obscure yet blatantly obvious reference?  Who knows, eh?  Who knows...?  But then I stumbled across this video, which led to more coincidences that I thought I'd point out; which is none other than the Daleks making a cameo in Mr. Bean.

And did that crazy connection end there?  Hell no!!!  Rowan Atkinson eventually went on to film a special for Comic Relief in which he portrayed, you guessed it!  The Doctor!

Not only did this one-off special also star Joanna Lumley and Julia Sawalha from Absolutely Fabulous fame, but it also featured Richard E. Grant as the 10th incarnation of the Doctor in this spoof.  And in case you didn't realize it, this is also the same actor to play the Shalka Doctor in the flash animated series developed by the BBC to fill in the void between the series cancellation and the failed revival for an overseas release (more on that later).

And whilst we're on the subject of Daleks... did you ever notice that the set design of the interior of a Dalek in the Into the Dalek episode looks awfully similar to the set of the Death Star?  Yes, I know I promised no more jabs at Star Wars franchise, but then I realized something else...

Holy shazbot, Batman! Yes, it's true...Peter Cushing not only portrayed Grand Moff Wilhuf Tarkin, but he was also the re-imagined version of the role made popular by the very first Doctor William Hartnell prior to Patrick Troughton taking over the role, and with it the whole explanation of the Doctor's regeneration trick being further explained and developed...

And then... I noticed something else, which was incredibly coincidental, which occurs at the art gallery scene in the movie Blind Date when Kim Basinger's character Nadia Gate's crazy ex-boyfriend David Bedford, portrayed John Larroquette shows up and makes trouble for Bruce Willis' character Walter (which also happens to be his real first name, by the way) Davis' night out on the town.  Check out the similarity in the wardrobe...

Doctor John?  No, that's somebody completely different...

And if that wasn't entirely too coincidental enough, I also spotted something else which was pretty noteworthy, but took me quite sometime to spot because I never noticed it before in all the countless number of times I saw this movie.  And that was the fact that the art being exhibited was actually from Necronomicon; the series from which the Alien costume is based on, painted by none other than the late great H. R. Giger.  And what does any of that have to do with Doctor Who?  Well... 

It just so happens that both Paul McGann (AKA: the eighth doctor who starred in the aforementioned tv movie pilot/ill faded attempt to bring the series over to America) and John Hurt (AKA: the ninth or War Doctor) each starred in the Alien franchise.  Paul played Golic in Alien III while John played Kane in the first Alien film and forever changed the history of the whole sci-fi horror movie genre with the immortalized shot of the infamous chest bursting scene, which is not to be confused with the parody from Spaceballs below...

And who could forget the crazy joke that Peter Capaldi dished out in the Last Christmas episode when one of the dream crabs' victims compared the organism to being like a facehugger (at approximately the 20:50-21:02 minute mark of the episode).  I've taken the liberty of meme'ing it, since the DailyMotion video sometimes takes a little too long to buffer... so enjoy!

But wait... there's more!

It just so happens that one of the choices to play the incarnation of the master (before Eric Roberts was ultimately chosen) was none other than Doc Emmett Brown himself; Christopher Lloyd.  His character in the Back to the Future trilogy is not only a fellow time traveler who at one point has to eventually get accustomed to wearing cowboy hats, but he also comes across a female by the name of Clara!  Of course, this companionship is a bit more of the romantic persuasion, than anything else... but still it's a bit too coincidental, isn't it, folks?  Well, that and the fact that these two characters' Lego counterparts are set to be interacting in the same video game playing universe pretty soon.  Now that right there is a true nerdgasm if I ever did see (or have) one!

And last, but certainly not least... let's not forget the incredibly true real life coincidence of actor David Tennant (AKA: The tenth or technically the eleventh and twelfth incarnations of Doctor Who) being married to co-star Georgia Moffett (who played the genetically engineered daughter of the Doctor, Jenny) and just so happens to be the actual daughter of Peter Davison (AKA: the fifth Doctor).  So does anybody here think that she may be having from some kind of science fictional daddy issues?  Before you answer that--- let's check in with Tom Baker to see what he has to say about all these peachy keen observations of mine...

This has been P.S. Elliott (AKA: "The Doctor" Gonzo; XXVII incarnation) reporting for the disassociated press, that is... The Gnoyze Guitar Mods & More Web Blog.

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