Technical difficulties

Friday night I got home and noticed some slow down of the interweb tubing. It wasn’t terrible, but definitely wasn’t what I was paying for. Often this is just network congestion so I gave it some time. Went to dinner & came back.

Suddenly, the tubing was clogged completely.

I couldn’t pull up any websites. It wasn’t 100% down, more like 99.43% and here and there something would trickle across. I had to tether my iPad to my cell phone so I could hop on chat with a tech. Weirdest things – pings had 0% loss. ICMP worked just peachy. Regular TCP or anything else didn’t.

The switch part of the router was working fine. Every computer / printer / device inside could see the others with no issue, even HTTP.

By the way, when you talk to internet support and tell them you’re running Wireshark & seeing TCP packets get dropped after multiple Keep Alive requests, they automatically send you to someone who knows what they’re doing.

The tech couldn’t figure anything out. Said he’d send someone out on Monday.

Dammit.

I was 90% sure the router was going bad. I was having a hard time connecting to it to change the settings, so on Saturday morning, I went to the WalMart of computer stores – Best Buy – and picked up a new router.

Got home, plugged in the new router, and using my iPad I went online to see how the setup was supposed to work since it didn’t have a manual. 5 minutes of reading I suddenly realized I hadn’t turned on tethering. iPad was using the house wireless to browse the web.

Everything was working.

*sigh*

No idea what happened or why. I took the other router back, got a full refund, and now everything is fine. I don’t like not knowing what happened because now I don’t know if my router is wonky or if it was just something on Fios’ end.

I hate computers sometime.

posted by Robb Allen @ 11/21/2016 7:59:08 AM | Feedback (8)
Well, this sucks

I’m #NeverTrump. I didn’t vote for him and I don’t think he’s the savior we’re all looking for. There are many people I respect who looked at Trump as a pragmatic decision, and I can respect that. Those who saw him as the Second Coming, scare me. And I’m truly afraid someone is going to see a Trump win as an excuse for a little Kristallnacht action.

Don’t get me wrong, Hillary Clinton is a corrupt, evil woman who could have weaponized the government even more than it already has been and we would have been in a bad position. Gun rights would have been under a constant attack (although we’ve done well against Obama & the Democrats), taxes would have increased, and Obamacare would just be repackaged into Hillarycare but with stiffer penalties.

Trump, on the other hand, scares me in different ways. His love of Putin, his lack of any sort of foundation to base decisions on, etc. I readily admit, with Trump, there’s a chance of things not collapsing, but I find it slim.

The worst part of all this is the focus on the King Elect. Everyone seems to think a single person can solve all their problems and when things continue to suck (because most of your problems actually are your fault) they’ll push harder & harder for someone to make things great again.

It’s how we got here.

Not gonna lie, I’m keeping an Epi Pen nearby in case I have an allergic reaction to all the schadenfreude that I’ll be consuming from leftists, who after years & years of granting their god-king all this power suddenly realize the benefit of limited government. However, it’ll be short lived because I doubt they will learn from this. Instead, they’ll grant more power to the right people rather than just pull the plug on all the power they’ve given over the years.

Still, our country is great not because of a spray tanned con man in a trucker hat, but because of you & me. We have our differences, and if we can work them out without slashing each other’s throats, then we’re succeeding. Unfortunately, I don’t see this rift healing any time soon, I only see it getting worse, and having yet another buffoon parading around like he owns the place isn’t going to help.

Oh well. At least for now I’m not as worried about my taxes going up a billion percent and my guns are probably safe-ish from the federal level for a while. Still have lots of work to do locally, in our own communities, building the world we want our kids to inherit. America isn’t her president, senators, or congressmen, she’s us.

posted by Robb Allen @ 11/9/2016 9:04:08 AM | Feedback (39)
Crying at work is embarrassing.

What prompted my father to get his back checked out was some intense pain. That’s how they found the tumor in his kidney.

Today he had tests done to determine the scale of the problem.

It would appear they caught it as early as possible. It hasn’t spread, not even to the local area. In fact, the tumor is so small that they’re going to be able to freeze it & kill it off.

Survivability is “yes”.

Still no idea why his back hurt.

posted by Robb Allen @ 10/25/2016 3:44:04 PM | Feedback (12)
My dad just called.

It’s cancer. In both kidneys.

Fuck cancer.

Especially fuck this part where all you know it “It’s Cancer” and nothing else. No stage, no prognosis, just “It’s Cancer”.

Again, with emphasis – Fuck cancer.

posted by Robb Allen @ 10/21/2016 9:22:16 AM | Feedback (14)
Is a custom built guitar on your bucket list?

Because Virgil Guitars is about to have a sale!

image

If you’re not the Bookface type, here’s the pitch

As some of you know, I spent the better part of last week, going through my private reserve stock (As well as ordering some new sets) and bookmatched a hefty amount of tops, some drop tops and some carved tops. My idea was to get them bookmatched, take some great photos of the tops and work them into some sort of "Virtual Guitars" for the upcoming September Sales Blitz, which is scheduled for tomorrow. This has taken a lot of thought and planning and I've decided to show you the circle of virtual guitars today and here is how the sale will run tomorrow: Starting at 9:00 am, I'll be posting the first guitar, with the pricing, details, etc. And then I will be posting a new guitar build (Virtual guitar with pricing) every hour, on the hour after that, so these will be "First person with a down payment gets it" Down payments will be the same amount as the "Monthly Payment", which may be as low as $187.50. The sale will run through this Saturday and after that, they will go to their regular prices/ 50/50 payment plan (as opposed to 12 months) What are you actually buying here? Well, you are buying a custom build from me that should be starting in January 2017 and will be running into the summer of next year. Guitars need to be paid off in full before I ship them, so we're just getting a head start on things. I'll be able to get everything ordered, inlays designed, etc. before the next set of builds. We can also talk about any add-on items you may want for your guitars, like inlays, customized goods, etc. We'll have all the details put together before any payment is required. This will be your chance to get a custom Virgil Guitar that you have wanted and I'm excited to help put together your build! One last note: FACEBOOK doesn't like when I do frequent posts and they may not put every one of these guitars in your news feed, so you may want to go to my Facebook page here to check out the guitars I'm posting every hour. Thanks everyone for your support!

I love mine. It’s beyond anything I ever dreamed of. Many professional players have commented that the neck is one of the best they have ever felt. Even my mediocre playing sounds good on this thing.

If you have ever wanted a fully custom guitar, this is a great time to get in on it.

posted by Robb Allen @ 8/31/2016 5:29:11 PM | Feedback (0)
It begins in earnest

This weekend I started actual work on The AV, my first attempt at building a guitar. I figured highly detailed designs of guitars would be all over the interweb tubing, but it turns out very few people want to share them. I did manage to find a few measurements from various places & started cobbling together a more accurate body.

It also doubles as landing instructions for aliens

The plans I found were a mishmash between the original ‘58 body style and the ‘85 reissue. In Robb’s world, this is known as “close enough”. Eventually, I got it all down to the final look, including my headstock design.

 

If thrown correctly, it should make a large arc & return back to you

I need to measure the neck a bit as I’m running for a scale length of 25.5”. I’m basing the neck of off La Pistola since it’s the best neck I’ve ever played and it’s mine, so I can measure until the cows come home. In the Illustrator file, the neck is not 100% perfectly placed, so I have to do a bit more tweaking (it’s probably off by 1/100th of an inch, but that’s enough to screw things up).

But drawings alone don’t make guitars, making guitars makes guitars, so I started working on some MDF prototypes so I can practice building & get the “bugs” out of the system before I start carving into expensive wood.

Not in a band, but I do have a band saw Rough cut. Like me Drill baby, drill Don't hate me because I'm beautiful

The first thing I started working on was the headstock. I wanted to make sure I had the skills necessary to make a very accurate template.

First I printed out the headstock to scale & glued it down to a piece of MDF. Then I took it to the bandsaw to make a very rough cut, followed by a lot of sanding to get the curves nice & smooth. Then I drilled out the tuning peg holes to an exact size of whatever Forstner bit happened to be in the drill press. This was a test, I just wanted holes.

It looks like I may have accidentally succeeded. I was even able to make a copy from a scrap of hard maple I had sitting around!

Soon, the entire planet will be covered with self replicating headstocks

After that success, I started on the body. Same thing except I couldn’t fit the entire body on 1 sheet of paper, so I printed a bunch with grid lines and glued them onto a board of MDF, carefully aligning each piece (when it comes time to do the real template, I’ll have an architectural print done at Staples).

 

The guitar is relatively cheap. It's the ink costs that will kill me Almost, but not quite, entirely unlike a Flying V I'm not saying Jimi Hendrix wouldn't be impressed. Mostly because he's dead

it’s not bad. It’s also not perfect. The neck curves are uneven and the tips, while very nicely rounded, are not the same size. Hard to tell from a distance, but it’s those little things that can really set a guitar apart. But this is why I practice.

I’ve already learned a ton. One, the carpet tape I use to hold things down sucks. It’s too thick & squishy for accuracy. It holds 2 pieces of wood together just fine, but they move ever so slightly when under any pressure. They make thinner tape that I can get at Wal-Mart that’s better suited for this type of work.

Two, I need shaped sanding blocks like a fish needs water. The inner portion of the V is so perfect that I’m shocked it came out of my hands. I did it by wrapping 150 grit around a can of spray adhesive & going to town. I’m in the process of getting an oscillating sander that should help a bit with these kinds of things, but still, I can make sanding blocks of all kinds of shapes and will need to if I want any sort of accuracy. Grabbing a sheet of paper by hand doesn’t do the trick.

Three, the prototyping thing is a great idea. In fact, I’m going to grab a bunch of poplar which is a hardwood in name only, and build the entire guitar, neck & body, a few times to get the hang of it. Poplar is $4 a board foot, so screwing that up is cheap. Plus, like anything in life, practice helps immensely.

Still a long way to go, but it should be a fun journey. Feel free, if you’re a Book Face kind of person, to join the group I set up to document the build. I’ll try to put it on the blog as well!

posted by Robb Allen @ 8/23/2016 8:23:57 AM | Feedback (5)