Cozy Tales: 48. Home Theater

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In December of 2005 I was making excellent money designing and installing networks for large companies, so I decided to take some of that money and make a home theater for the family. As much as I would have loved to be able to make something as wonderful as the magnificent rooms I’d seen in magazines, our house was pretty small, so I added home theater functionality to our existing family room.

Being an obsessive nerd, I spent weeks researching every aspect of the new project, from large screen HDTVs to receivers to speakers to the wire that connects it all. I was in my element, and since Lauren had agreed to a complete makeover for the room, I had all sorts of leeway with the design. (more…)

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Battle of the Guild S-100 Reissues

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Up for comparison is a 1997 Guild S-100 reissue made in Westerly, Rhoad Island and a 2015 Guild Newark Street S-100 made in Korea. Since the Guild from the 1990s is a reissue of the Guild S-100 from the 1970s and the Newark Street model is a reissue of the Westerly reissue more than it is a reissue of the 1970s models, this perhaps makes the Newark Street Guild a re-reissue, at least partially.

The Guild S-100 is one of their most popular Guild electric guitars, so I thought I would take the time to put two of the most common models available today side by side. Let’s see how they compare.  (more…)

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Cozy Tales: 47. Pollen

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Horror, thy name is pollen.

Ragweed is very common in NJ, as are Goldenrod and Hemlock. Since I don’t need to kill any philosophers, and the goldenrod doesn’t offend me, I’ll focus on the ragweed.  All three plants line our highways and in the rural areas where we lived, a drive down the back roads would reveal miles of farms and fields filled with goldenrod. Next to the pretty goldenrod, filthy ragweed grows.

From the moment the ugly little plants would bloom, the horror would begin. Suddenly my airway would constrict, my nose would run, my throat, ears, and eyes would swell and itch, and the sneezing would continue unabated until early October when the pollen was finally consumed by magic tree frogs or whatever actually happened to all the vile stuff in the air. Unfortunately, after the pollen was gone, my body would still suffer. Since my overwhelmed sinuses had been pouring noxious snot into my lungs 24 hours a day for two weeks, my lungs would invariably resort to some sort of respiratory infection that would torment me for another couple of weeks. I love pollen.  (more…)

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1997 Guild S-100 Guitar

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Guild’s S100 guitar, which appears on the surface to be a copy of Gibson’s SG, is one of Guild’s most popular electric guitars. I’ve resisted owning one for years because they were so popular and I’m not one to spend energy trying to fit in with the crowd, but circumstances would conspire in such a way as to ensure that I suddenly had two of them – a Newark Street version, and a 1997 reissue. This article concentrates on the 1997 reissue. My article on the Newark Street S100 can help you if you’re looking for information about that model. (more…)

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Driving to Shillelagh to buy a Shillelagh

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Having an Irish heritage, I remember seeing odd knobby-ended walking sticks in the corners of many houses as a kid. These sticks were commonly called Shillelaghs in my experience, though I’ve since learned that Shillelagh is a town and the walking sticks are properly called Shillelagh Sticks.

If you asked the homeowner about the stick, they would usually just reply with either, “Oh that? That’s just my old walking stick.”, or simply, “That’s my Shillelagh.” Both statements belie the simple truth, however, and that truth is that these sticks are first and foremost weapons. To be accurate, the original Shillelagh Sticks were shorter and more like clubs or cudgels, but when England outlawed them, the Irish lengthened them so that they could also be used as walking sticks, thus subverting the oppressive English law while allowing the weapons to be retained. Knowing this, I had to have one. Getting a real one, though, would prove a little more complicated than I’d anticipated.  (more…)

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