Functional Entropy

Chaos breeds order, sort of.

Category: Guitar Crap

Things That Happened And Didn’t

It’s been busy time for me lately and my mind has also been focused on things that are really terribly interesting to talk about here since they involve people you don’t know, inside jokes, and other things that are likely more well received on Facebook or something. Unless you’d be interested in hearing about a camping trip where we brought a whole carload of stuff that unfortunately did not include the tent we intended to sleep in. Oscar was understandably furious with all parties involved in the tent debacle.

I flaked on finishing this post for a week so there are some links that need to be dumped here as well so I’ve just added them as list items. Creating a new post would probably work better than just smashing them together. Embrace my word salad. Or don’t.


  1. New amp. Because I am a fool with (a little bit of) money and I’ve been unhappy with my Hovercraft for reasons that are too tedious to explain here but boil down to unreliability, I ordered a new head. For me, research for this sort of purchase which also dictates what amp I’m going to be playing for a bunch of years or go through the incredibly annoying process of selling an amp and then buying another. The process isn’t as much irritating as it is nerve wracking especially since you’ve basically got to depend on YouTube demos and people’s (obviously) subjective opinion to get an idea of what you’re buying actually sounds like. So, I picked the Science Decolonizer after hearing one setup in exactly the same way and reading up on other folks’ experiences with his amps. It roars like the world is coming to an end and also cleans up very nicely which is exactly the kind of versatility I desperately want. The deal sealer is that Alex is insanely quick to respond to questions, really knows his stuff, and actually tried to downsell me on a feature that he thought might not be particularly useful to me. I’m hoping, with a pile of evidence to back this up, that this amp will keep me happy for another decade without blowing up or melting down.
  2. Job blase. I’ve basically been doing the same job with a few differing variables for the last ten years with a few dabbling jaunts into system administration. Desktop support is still in my job title, but I get paid a lot more and am generally less susceptible to drive bys and ‘I don’t understand how this Excel feature works’ harassment. In general, I’m not overloaded and most of the stuff that I’m asked to do, even the larger project work, is pretty easy to figure out. I’m just bored and the boredom is making me lazy which makes the work seem like work again. I can understand how anyone reading this would fail to feel any empathy at all with this situation and the awareness of that and my own stupid entitlement fills me with even more ennui. I’m bored at work just like every other person in the United States. Wah.
  3. Unsurprisingly Debian dropped Sparc support. I’m sad not because I have any hardware that has that architecture involved in it, but because those old Sun workstations were so much more exciting than anything on the market these days. Given the market superiority of thoroughly bland Apple product, I don’t know what people would make of pre-Oracle Sun hardware now.
  4. As much as my income is tied to my efficiency at unfucking outrageously broken Windows laptops and servers, I’m thinking that [the Microsoft supplied tool to hide Windows 10 from Windows Update] is going to get packaged up and rolled out over the next couple of days. I’ve suffered through far too many day one upgrades at user discretion and I can’t say that I’m particularly excited about that happening again. I don’t think Windows 10 is going to be a complete pass at my workplace which I have absolutely no feelings about. I tried to install a beta release in a Virtualbox environment and it would never finish installing. No big deal.

Slow Days Mean Plotting To Spend Every Last Penny

I’ve had kind of slack day at work which means I’ve spent a lot of time looking at other jobs (this is a long story best reserved for another post given that I’ve only been working here for about 6 weeks) and guitar crap. I have an almost seasonal obsession with getting some new gear and investigating differences between different makes and configurations of components. I play loud and distorted music (Glass Hits was my old band, for reference and you can listen to everything we ever recorded there) that usually places premium on some degree of discord and I personally love rhythmic/atonal stuff. What that means is that I can’t/don’t/won’t buy crap off the shelves at Guitar Center and most of the better known boutique amps just aren’t crazy sounding enough for me.

A Little Bit of Boring History (Maybe)

For about 14 years I played various guitars (mainly a single pickup Gibson Challenger and a P90 equipped Les Paul) through a Sovtek MIG 100h which is devastatingly loud and tone-wise bugs the shit out of people who wear t-shirts with guitar company logos on them. After four bands and a lot of years, I decided that I was tired of just being brutally loud and over-gainy (if that term makes absolutely no sense to you then should give this YouTube clip a listen as it’s a fairly good example of the kind of distortion the amp is capable of) and the inevitable ire of sound guys who want quiet amp output to run everything through the PA (sigh).

I’ve since moved on to a different kind of monstrosity: a Hovercraft Falcon. It sounds a lot more like a tube amp and a lot less like a threshing machine running over a tractor. Some days I like that, other days I miss the hissy grinding of the Sovtek. I bought it about a year ago for $800 (which is crazy cheap for something that didn’t come out of a massive operation that can produce things in quantity) and it does some things much better than the Sovtek does and doesn’t sound quite as clinical either. The entire concept of Hovercraft is a genuinely great idea; soup up the leftovers and castoffs and make them into something greater than the sum of all of the parts. The unfortunate part is that there are just too many knobs and switches. When confronted by things to twiddle with I tend to that more than actually using it to amplify my guitar.

The truly terrible part is that I’ve decided that I really need a Science Decolonizer which is roughly twice as much as I’ve ever paid for an amp. They are beautiful looking and what I’ve heard of them live (rather than compressed audio from YouTube or something) sound insanely good. I’d probably opt for the KT88 version which adds additional cost. Urgh. Fridays are completely full of daydreaming ways to spend all of my money present and future.

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