Vox VT40+

May 31, 2013

First, I’m sorry today’s post is late. It’s been a crazy week and, along with working late several days, I’ve been somewhat distracted by my new amp. That amp is the subject of my post today. The Vox Valvetronix VT40+ is a combo modeling amp with a what Vox calls their valve reactor technology. This gives the amp the valve/tube amp sound to a great degree. One of the other really cool features is the adjustable power level control that let’s you decide how much wattage output you want/need, within parameters depending on the model you get (the VT40+ let’s you go from 0-60 watts). Overall it’s a pretty rocking amp with 33 different amp models to choose from and of course you can use it as an amp in its own right when you switch it to manual. I’ve enjoyed learning about it even though the learning curve is a little steep, especially if you’ve never used a modeling amp before. A read or two through the instruction manual got me well on my way to really being able to have fun with the amp and do some great stuff with the built in effects. I highly recommend this amp to anyone looking for an upgrade or for something with power but that is still small enough to carry around to a buddies house or for small venues. This is going to be my go-to amp for a while I think.

What’s your go-to amp?

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We live in a world where belief systems and religions are thrown at us from every direction and it’s easy to find whatever sounds good and easy to us and say we believe that. That’s why it is so important for people, Christians especially, to know what they believe and why. It’s common for young people to believe what their parents believe without ever making it their own. Then, once they grow up, we have a generation of people who claim they believe something but don’t know what exactly they believe and/or why. We need to make our faith our own. We need to find out what exactly we believe and why we believe that. If we don’t, our faith will become lip service and complacent. Study the word. Talk to your pastor(s). Seek to know as much about your faith as you can.

Poetry Monday 5/27/13

May 27, 2013

The beginning of one thing
Is in the end of another
The pain in this life
Takes our character further

This is true for some
But to others, it’s false
They won’t learn from mistakes
And pain just brings loss

Loss of faith and of hope
A slide into apathy
The savior is calling to you
But you ignore him flippantly

He offers hope and peace
He offers you rest
Will you listen to him
Or follow the world like the rest?

Summer Encouragement

May 24, 2013

When I was a kid summer was what I looked forward to. I couldn’t wait until I was out of school and able to spend all day, every day on my bike and playing with my friends. Spending the nights with buddies and having them spend the night with me and going to Florida to visit my grandparents, uncle, and cousins was all a grand adventure. I miss the excitement of those summers without any cares. Summer can easily get me down now that I work full time year around. I work outside dealing with plants, so summer means hot, humid days filled with sweat and watering from morning until night all day, every day. So, if you’re like me, I’d like to encourage you to find something exciting, fun, interesting, new, and/or different to plan and do this summer. I have some plans to make my summer better this year that I hope will work out. I’m redoing everything except the shower in the master bath at my house (sink, vanity, wall colors, and flooring). My wife and I are hoping to go on a trip to see my sister’s new house in FL at some point, though that is in the very early stages of planning, I’m setting aside more time to practice and play guitar and write songs, and I’m hoping to do at least one coffee house show. I’m also hoping to spend more down time in my hammock this summer. I’d encourage you to make a list of what would make this an awesome summer for you and try to plan to do at least two or three of those things. If you can’t squeeze them all in, it’s ok, you don’t have to do them, it’s just a wish list, but plan to do some and find some of that childlike enjoyment of summer again.

What are you doing this summer?

Social media is an amazing thing. It’s hard to think that it was pretty much non-existent a decade ago. Now, there have been so many that have come and gone with new ones every other week trying to break in, I can’t help but wonder, “how healthy is social media for a society that has replaced mail with electronic messages and phone conversations with text messages and actual get-togethers with video chats or ‘face time’?” Does social media encourage anti-social tendencies and a new form of stalking my friends and I call “casual stalking.” You know what I’m talking about. You check up on people you never see or talk to in real life (IRL) to see what they’re doing. Maybe you even search for an ex or two. Next thing you know, you’ve spent hours looking through their pictures, posts, and message feeds. In a world that has taken all the normal forms of communication and socializing digital, we’re taking the creepy forms digital too now. Welcome to the age of the digital. Welcome to the future, to where regular people who would never go around stalking someone IRL, can easily become casual stalkers from the comfort of their own house.

What are your thoughts on this?

Poetry Monday 5/20/13

May 20, 2013

This weekend I went to see a good friend of mine installed at a church an hour and a half away. This is a whole lot closer than he had been, and my wife and I are sooooooo glad he and his family are closer to us. It was good to see him and his family and it got me thinking about friendship.

What is friendship?
A shared burden?
A shared laugh?
Both and more I’m certain.

Friendship is being there
Through good times and bad.
Putting in the time, if you will,
Whether times are happy or sad.

Friendship has seasons
And you must see them through.
Sorrow, anger, joy, and contentment;
In them all, you must be true.

I hope all of you have friends like that. I’m blessed to have three guys that really fit that bill in my life and four girls, two my sisters, one that one of those guys married, and one I married. I hope we all aspire to be friends like that to others. Have a wonderful week!

I’ve recently, as in yesterday, started messing around with some alternate tunings on my guitar and I’m curious if anyone out there has any pointers, tips, tricks, recommendations, etc. I’d like a good iPhone/iPad app for tuning to these different tunings and a good website explaining basic chord shapes in the different tunings. If anyone has any recommendations, please leave a comment. Sorry this is so short and kind of selfish of a post. It’s been a crazy, busy week. I hope everyone has a great weekend!

[writer’s note: drug abuse is serious and you need to seek help if it is something you are dealing with. I know this and don’t intend to offend anyone.]

I, along with many others, am an allergy sufferer. It stinks! I’ve had deal with allergies my whole life and with many different allergy medicines, all with their own side effects. This is my top five list of signs you may be suffering from allergies and in coming up with it I realized, somewhat humorously, these things can mark drug abuse too.

Number 5: Red, constantly watery eyes

Number 4: Aching muscles and joints for no apparent reason

Number 3: Restless nights and waking up still exhausted even though you slept plenty of time

Number 2: Inability to stay focused because of a “fluffy” feeling in your brain

And the Number 1 sign you’re suffering from allergies (or drug abuse): Super sensitivity to light and sound

I hope this list helps you figure out if your suffering from allergies and I hope if you’re a sufferer like me that you find the right medication to help you live a somewhat normal life during this allergy season.

Poetry Monday 5/13/13

May 13, 2013

Whew, what a weekend. Between work and moving furniture at my grandmother’s house with my family, the weekend ran away. On the positive though, we have a new, used couch to take the place of our old, used couch.

We hustle and bustle
All day long,
Doing nothing but work,
Not even singing a song.

We don’t just stop
And look around anymore.
We say, “I’m too busy,”
And hold to that stupid lore.

I hope you have a great Monday and a wonderful week.

Today I thought I might share some of what I’ve been listening to this past week.

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To start off, I’ve been listening to Jon Acuff’s book, “Quitter.” This book is really good. I’ve enjoyed the insight and learning from his mistakes. He has a great sense of humor and that is woven into the book. If you’re trying to follow a dream, read or listen to this book. It will give you some helpful tips.

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I’ve also been listening to Jake Shimabukuro’s latest album, “Grand Ukulele.” This man does amazing and unbelievable things with the ukulele. He can make music you never would’ve dreamed of coming from this four stringed instrument. Absolutely amazing. If you haven’t heard him, check out his YouTube channel and download some of his stuff. You can also check out the documentary on him called, ” Life on Four Strings” that is coming on PBS tonight. In the Jackson-Metro area of Mississippi it will be on at 8:00PM. It should be really good.

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Finally, this week I’ve rediscovered how amazing “The Muppets Soundtrack” is. This album is filled with songs you will be joyfully humming for days afterword. I can’t help but smile anytime I listen to this soundtrack. I highly recommend it and the film. They will bring you the “world’s third greatest gift; laughter.”

What have you been listening to recently?

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