Goodbye Granny....

Originally uploaded by Xose.
Well, tonight I got some very sad news. My grandmother, Charlotte, passed away tonight.

My granny was a heck of a lady. She's in most of my best childhood memories: the trips in the back of the car going to Myrtle Beach, cutting out construction-paper bats and pumpkins to tape to the windows at Halloween, roasting marshmallows over the gas burner at her house, even showing me how to build a little house out of rocks and moss for my army men when I was seven or so.

A couple of years ago I interviewed her and made a little documentary video of her memories. It was a big hit in my family and she was so proud of it. She said she was now a "movie star." The story was a compelling one: She grew up pretty poor in the coal mining region of West Virginia, but she made it through even the toughest of times after my grandpa, a miner, died when my mom was a baby. She re-married a Hungarian man, and she told me great stories about having to slaughter 10 chickens in a night to feed all her company on weekends because "my cooking was so good!" :-)

I'm so happy that she got to meet Jenny (and loved her a lot), and that she knew that we are going to have a baby.

I'll miss you granny. I love you very much.


It's Snaining!

Yesterday it was almost 70 degrees.
Today it's 33 degrees and snaining: snowing + raining simultaneously.


Time travel

Originally uploaded by MariGerard.
A few thoughts on time today.

First, is is me or do you also feel like 1993 could've been yesterday? Despite all evidence to the contrary (see hilarious photos at right, provided by the fantastic Mariangela), I really don't feel any different now than I did then.

I have changed...obviously. But on an everyday level, I still feel the same. I have this theory that everyone has a life-changing year or so, that once you've hit it, your personality and tastes are forever locked in that era. For a lot of us, including me, that year or so happens around your junior year of college.

I studied abroad that year and it completely upended my worldview and turned me into a vagabond for years, unable to settle down in one place or attach myself emotionally to one person (until I met Jenny, that is). In 1993 I found The Person Who Would Be Joe. Even now, my style, politics (see photo) and tastes (ignore photo) now are essentially "locked" in that era, which explains why every band out now both sucks AND blows.

What was your life-changing year?

On another time related front, check out the waffle theory. About fricking right.


Amp summit a success!

Joe V. strikes a Jimmy Page pose.
Originally uploaded by Xose.
Yesterday I met up with a couple other homebrew guitar amp builders yesterday in Ellicott City, MD to compare amp builds and try out each other's speakers.

One of the other guys, also named Joe, donated his basement and provided some chips and Guinness. A good time was had by all, and it was fantastic to be in a room with not one, but two people who knew what the hell I was talking about.

That said, it was a complete nerd fest:
Joe V: Is that a Mullard 12ax7?
Joe Z: Yeah, I got it out of an amp I was fixing for a guy, the phase inverter was shot and the cathode bias was all wrong.
Alan: That's a nice tube.
Joe V: Yeah, really nice.
All in unison [in Homer Simpson donut voice]: Mmmmm.....Mullard.