It’s Eclipse Day

This was inspired by the photos of Trump squinting to look at the eclipse.

Smart phones credited with saving millions from eclipse-related blindness.
Posted in categories humor

Incognito can save you

Switching your browser to Incognito, also known as Private Browsing mode, before going to a site that you are not familiar with, might save you a lot of trouble.

How you get into trouble

Sure, you always try to be careful when you browse, but now and then you might get a little lazy. You’ll only be looking up one small detail at a site that Google is showing in its search results, one that seems to have exactly what you want. So you click on the link.

After spending some time reading about what you came there for, there is suddenly a pop-up window. Next, an alert that opens another alert when you try to close it. Maybe you’ll hear an audio message about being infected, and its plea to call Microsoft (which isn’t really Microsoft) so they can fix your computer.

Continue reading “Incognito can save you” 2017

Conejo Rocks has been updated for 2017: 85 events!

It’s my collection of (mostly) free music in the Conejo Valley area. What makes this list different? The events are in chronological order, so the ones at the top are always the next event to occur. Items that have already happened aren’t visible so they don’t clutter the listing.


Most items are free musical shows put on by local parks districts and shopping centers, but there also some of major events that charge admission. I don’t cover clubs (unless it’s a band that I really like a lot, or me.)

There are two types of displays. Select the short description version to see only the event titles and times. Click on the event to see more info about it.

Net neutrality, again, still

I know it sounds boring, but if you’re on the net (and I know you are because you’re reading this) you need to care. Many times I’ve written about net neutrality, posted about it on Facebook, replied with links, etc. For a while it seems to be solved, or at least the issues have reached some sort of a compromise.

Then it comes up again, and I find myself looking for that link to the good article that I sent a few day, weeks or years ago. Is it in the links that I saved in a file on my computer (so I could find them easier)? Is it in an email? In OneTab? In a post, a Saved Article, a Reply or any of the other places that Facebook makes things difficult to find?

It’s time to put some of my favorites where everyone can find them, because I’m tired of looking for them (yet again). There is a lot of variety, so pick whatever suits your style of learning. Continue reading “Net neutrality, again, still”

This took guts

I don’t always post cat pictures, but when I do… Never mind, I almost never post cat pictures. But if I do, they’re probably not cute.

I have no idea who owns the original cat photo. I found it in a lot of places.

X-Men in Santa Barbara?

I recently (is six months recent?) wrote about a poster I own. Yesterday I was watching “X-Men: Days of Future Past” and had to hit pause at around 39 minutes into it.

That same poster was on the wall of Quicksilver’s room. I only own 3 concert posters from that era, and that’s why I had to pause. One of the other posters was also on the wall!

Both are by Frank Bettencourt, and I got these images from his site. Both are promoting Santa Barbara’s Earl Warren Showgrounds concerts that happened in 1969.  Continue reading “X-Men in Santa Barbara?”

Posted in categories art

Reflecting on all the rain

We’re still in a drought as streets flow with rainwater and freeways flood. It’s illegal to run the sprinklers. That makes sense, but it makes automatic sprinklers require a lot of manual intervention during the rainy season.

At least it got me to take a few photos. I’m not why I like this one enough to post it.

It’s good for me do these now and then to remind myself of the process. Between working on the photo and working on WordPress (because everything needs updating again) there are over 20 steps to making this post. Okay, I made up that number, but there are a lot of details to take care of.

Salzer’s influence

Salzer’s Records in Ventura was broken into on Christmas day (, and Alastair Greene ( made the comment “Your store is a historic landmark and national treasure.”

His statement reminded me how much Salzer influenced my musical tastes with the concerts he promoted in the late 60s. I’m glad I kept this poster; mine came with the concert tickets.

What a double bill, but… Spell check!


When these former competitors’ weekly ads arrived in the mail they caught my eye. Now I can’t decide where to shop: the place with the brown cake or the yellow cake.

To non-locals: Two of the major supermarket chains recently merged. They said that consumers would be helped, of course. Right. Prices started going up before the deal was fully approved. I’m still waiting for the price drops.

A doodle, can I stop now?

I started this doodle on a camping trip. I usually take pen and paper with me when I travel, but rarely use it.

This time I did another one that I considered complete, but only got started on this one. I’ve been adding to it now and then for a few weeks, and figured maybe if I scan it I can stop doing that and put it away. Like most doodles, it wasn’t planned, which makes it easy to keep adding something.

View larger.

Buy direct — from China

If Home Depot, or any of the other local “hardware” stores, carried this exact thing, it would cost about one dollar for two pieces. They have some very similar items that I would have been willing to use if I could have.

Package from China
Direct from China and 15% of the price.
Because they don’t have anything close enough I had to order direct from China, using eBay. It cost $6.76. For 100 pieces. There were a couple of U.S. source, but I would have needed to buy 5,000 and I really only needed one.

Can somebody please explain why it’s $1 for two at a local store and $6.76 for 100 from China?


The Illusion of Control posting reminded me of another concept. I have watched perfectly rational, intelligent people get upset during a card game because the cards were dealt out of order. Random cards, dealt out of order. Random.

I have seen people that I personally know to be very intelligent believe in all sorts of nonsense, and even seen them defend some of it in an almost religious intensity. Which, of course is the way that nonsense is typically defended. Pick your non-scientific favorite: typically right-wingers denying climate change or left-wingers spreading GMO fear. It can be difficult to comprehend, if it’s not something you already believe in, how others can think some stuff is true.

This phenomena has a name: Dysrationalia. I encountered the term while reading about why puzzles go viral, at the time when the “what is Cheryl’s birthday” meme was spreading. At least I thought I did, up until I looked through the article while writing this one I found that it isn’t mentioned.

So, learning about going viral wasn’t where I learned that dysrationalia existed as a research topic. I already know that we can’t trust our memories because they change over time. That means that I’ll just have to assume that I wanted an excuse to write about dysrationalia and that the illusion of control gave me an excuse to do it. Or that I liked the viral article and wanted an excuse to write about it.

More likely it was the article Why Smart People Do Stupid Things. Yep, that was it.

It makes no difference: this is written, so why not just press the publish button? You now have two more articles to read.

The illusion of control

I was recently reading “Press me! The buttons that lie to you” (

In brief, psychologist Ellen Langer, now a professor at Harvard, dealt one set of cards in a haphazard order during a five card draw game of poker. “Everybody,” she says, “got crazy. The cards somehow belonged to the other person even though you couldn’t see any of them.”

In 1975 she wrote a paper that described the significance of these beliefs and coined a term for the effect that they had on people. Langer called it the “illusion of control”.

When I read that phrase, there was a disjointed part of me that felt like I was reading an article about politics. It sometimes seems like we are just pressing a Placebo Like Button, especially when our only choices are to vote for one of the slightly lesser of two evils.

It turns out that there are quite a few buttons that exist only to make us feel better. Sometimes it’s that “press button to cross street” one, sometimes it’s voting Democratic in a district that has been gerrymandered into Republican control. Or vice versa.

One thing leads to another

One thing leads to another. The story of this post. Start off simple:
1. Clean out emails. Get rid of a bunch of old stuff, but browse unread titles.
2. Find email with a link to “Guitar Player Vault” that has an old J.J. Cale interview.
3. Gotta read that. The article’s time frame: When Cale was asked about some of his favorite guitar players “today”, he refers to “this kid, uh, Peter Frampton”.
4a. There is also an interview with the highly under-appreciated Harvey Mandell.
4b. Learn that Mandell played the guitar solos on the Rolling Stone’s song “Hot Stuff”.
5a. Go to Mandell’s website. It looks like it hasn’t been updated for a while.
5b. Check the touring page in case it was updated. He is touring with Canned Heat, and has been for a while. Continue reading “One thing leads to another”

Hummingbird rocks!

Hummingbird is a hiking trail that begins at the east end of Simi Valley. That’s Simi in the background of the picture.

The trail takes you up and to the east along a route just north of the 118 freeway. It rocks, and it has rocks, or as says, it has “some very interesting rock features including giant boulders, unusual caves, and various huge rock outcroppings.”

It is nearly impossible to convey the size of these rock groups from a single photo. After looking at 50 or so shots that I recently took, I thought it might be possible to give a better idea of it through a series of related pictures.

A short look back


The series starts on our way back to Simi. We’re going to turn around under the split rock and take a look at where we’ve been. Continue reading “Hummingbird rocks!”

Nerd or pack rat?

Does finding this file on my computer make me a nerd or a pack rat? I’ll assume it’s both.

Hint: the file date is 1996. As far as I can tell, the Netscape Navigator version that the text references was released in August of 1996; it was updated to a newer version in November of that same year.

Carvin and the five-way switch

No, it’s not a scam involving a ball and cups.

Quite a few years ago I had a local shop install a DiMarzio ToneZone pickup in my Carvin guitar with the hopes that it would make it sound more like my Ibanez. It did not.

A few years after that I picked up a fairly recent year Gibson SG. By fairly recent I mean that I wouldn’t feel bad about modifying it. The better, older guitars that I had in the past were kept in factory-fresh condition out of the fear that any change would lower their collectibility. You can probably see where this is heading since this was not one of those.

One of my planned project for the last 2 years (hey, I have a lot of projects on my list!) has been to move that DiMarzio pickup into my SG. At the same time, I would add coil-splitting controls, and maybe a phase-reversing switch.

It turned out that SGs are thin. I knew that, but never imagined that putting standard push-pull pots in one is not an option. I didn’t want to start drilling holes to add switches. The plan was downsized.

Continue reading “Carvin and the five-way switch”