Monday, February 18, 2019

New Snowblower - Now Stop Snowing!

Assembling the new snowblower, old one is on the left.
I can't seem to get away from mentioning winter weather lately, but that's what's been happening around here.  Last week Monday night into Tuesday we had another snow event and got almost 10 inches of snow.  Tuesday morning when I was clearing the driveway my snowblower started jumping around making a loud thunking noise.  I stopped the engine immediately and one look underneath told me there would be no easy fix.  The auger underneath that pulls the snow in rusted through in the middle so it was no longer attached.  Out came the shovels and out went my aching back.  I needed to get this resolved as soon as possible as we still have plenty of winter left.

Works like a champ!
I briefly considered trying to get this one repaired.  I bought it originally when we first got the house, so it made it almost 10 winters.  If I remember right, it may have been a clearance item then - I know it wasn't terribly expensive.  Several years ago a friend was trying to fix something on it and we found out the company no longer made gas machines, only electric.  There were no spare parts for it to be found.  So that's that, then.

The next day I looked online, pondered several, and ordered a new one, only to have them email me the next day and refund my money because they no longer had it to sell.  A day later I went to the big box hardware store and there wasn't a single snowblower to be found, so I went online again.  This time I found and ordered one from a different seller.  The only catch was it could take up to 10 days to get here.  Luckily it shipped pretty quick, but yesterday we got another 5 inches that my wife had to shovel by herself last night,  and then it kept snowing another couple inches overnight.  Thankfully the new snowblower was to be delivered today.

I got off work early this afternoon and rushed home to find the new snowblower had been dropped off by the back steps, and fairly recently, it appeared.  I changed clothes and set to work getting it put together and immediately trying it out by clearing the walks and driveway.  I purposely got one with an electric start, but I didn't need it as it started immediately on the first pull.  Very nice.  I was able to get everything cleared in short order - with a little break to talk to neighbor Dave and tell him the story.

I had always been thinking that when this one goes I was going to get a two-stage snowblower.  They're generally more powerful as they have two augers, one to pull the snow in and one to throw the snow out.  A single-stage only has the one auger to scoop the snow and funnel it up the chute and out.  A few things factored into my decision.  One was price, as 500 bucks would get you a higher end single-stage but only a lower end two-stage snowblower.  Secondly, a single-stage gets right down to the pavement and has a partly rubber auger while the two-stage must be adjusted just above the pavement as it has a metal auger.  It's not often I have to clear more than 10 inches at a time and I like it getting down to the pavement so I chose a higher end single-stage snowblower and I'm comfortable with that decision.

But now, really, it just has to stop.  The roads are getting narrower and we're running out of places to put the snow!

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Latest LIVE Listening Pleasure 33 - Marty Friedman

It snowed most of the day on Sunday, but had slowed by the evening with only an inch or two having fallen.  No. this is not another weather update post, I actually have something else to write about for a change.  The fact that we are presently getting another 8-plus inches and having to stay home for another snow day is totally beside the point except that it gives me the time to write this post sooner rather than later.

Now, back to Sunday, Sunday evening actually, when Marty Friedman came to town to play for a few hundred people at the High Noon Saloon here in Madison.  A friend and I arrived a bit late hoping to miss the first band, a local act, only to find they pushed the start time back some because Marty and his opening band had not yet arrived - probably due to the snow.  As if on cue, as that set ended crew started bringing in gear as the bus and trailer had arrived.

The opening band, Immortal Guardian, was pretty good, but something was bugging me about them.  They play with a prerecorded tape and, as far as I could tell, the only reason was because the guitarist liked to play keyboards with his right hand as he finger-tapped on his guitar with the left.  Yes, it can look impressive, but he is the only guitar player in the band and there was obviously chords being strummed.  Check out my video of them here and make up your own mind.

Marty Friedman became well known as a guitarist in the band Megadeth from 1990 until 2000.  He then left America and has been living in Japan for over 15 years, still putting out solo albums and touring all over.  This month he is touring to support his latest release, One Bad M.F. Live.  He said during the show that this was his first time in Madison, but in 10 years of Megadeth he may have been here with them, or maybe he just meant as a solo artist.  I saw Megadeth on the Peace Sells tour in the late eighties here in Madison, but that was before he joined them.

He has a good backing band and put on an enjoyable, instrumental show.  There was one microphone that was only brought out only for him to speak in between songs and the bassist (Kyoshi) and other guitarist (Jordan Ziff) did minimal singing on two songs.  The 600-person capacity High Noon Saloon was probably half or more full, just about my perfect size and density.  I'd like to see all bands in the same atmosphere, but I don't get to call those shots.  My friend got a good spot leaning on the end of the bar near the stage and that's where we camped for the show.  I took a lot of pictures that hardly any turned out unfortunately, and I got a lot of good video that I've been re-watching the last couple days.  You can see all my videos on my YouTube channel here, also listed in the right column.

Marty Friedman - Ashes / Forbidden / Tornado

I took more videos than usual this show - 6, plus one of the opening band - for a few reasons.  First of all, I like to watch them.  Simple as that.  Also, there was no one behind me but bartenders and the camera was dimly lit and in front of my face - I watched the show over the camera but still able to control the camera (except for the shaking - I was still rocking out, after all!).  But mostly, I'm just not terribly familiar with all of his music and an accurate, recent setlist was not found online for me to know when to look out for the parts I wanted to get on video.  Still, even with 6 songs recorded I spent much more time with the phone in my pocket enjoying the show.

Here's one that I'm sure was added to the set due to the popularity of Queen recently:
Marty Friedman (w/Jordan Ziff) - Bohemian Rhapsody

That's my latest live music fix, now to look for the next.  I've not seen any upcoming shows that are to my taste yet, but I'll always keep looking!

Previous LLP Posts...
LLP 1 - Pain
LLP 2 - Nightwish
LLP 3 - Die Antwoord
LLP 4 - Pain part 2
LLP 5 - Andrew Bird LIVE
LLP 6 - Nightwish part 2
LLP 7 - Paramore
LLP 8 - Newsted
LLP 10 - Nightwish Imaginaerum Movie
LLP 11 - Kiss
LLP 12 - Rick Springfield
LLP 13 - Hyrax
LLP 14 - In This Moment
LLP 15 - Faster Pussycat LIVE
LLP 16 - Sebastian Bach
LLP 17 - Cradle Of Thorns
LLP 18 - Amaranthe
LLP 19 - Lindemann
LLP 20 - Halestorm
LLP 21 - Garbage LIVE
LLP 22 - Arcade
LLP 23 - Nightwish LIVE
LLP 24 - Ace Frehley
LLP 25 - Darkc3ll
LLP 26 - Dementia
LLP 27 - Rammstein
LLP 28 - Marilyn Manson LIVE
LLP 29 - The Harp Twins LIVE
LLP 30 - Diamante
LLP 31 - Steel Panther LIVE
LLP 32 - Scum Of The Earth
LLP 33 - Marty Friedman LIVE

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Ice Ice Baby

As noted in the last post, this past weekend was warmer with highs around 40ºF/5ºC.  What it doesn't show is just how foggy it got that Saturday, Sunday and Monday.  Even the houses across the street were very hazy due to the melting of a lot of snow releasing water into the air.  The last couple days were regular winter days with highs still below zero.  That brings us to today, and why I'm writing this instead of working.

Freezing rain.  Ice.

We've had misting overnight that's left a layer of ice on already slippery surfaces, which will be followed by another winter storm.  Madison happens to be on the freezing line with snow north and west and rain south and east with freezing rain and ice in the middle before the snow moves our way later today.

I hemmed and hawed this morning as to whether I was going to go into work or not.  I'm ahead on hours for the week so I was in no rush.  After watching the weatherman for some time I decided to go in to work, even if just for a few hours before we got the next wave of weather.  As I stepped carefully down the back steps out to the garage I noticed the ice already covering everything.  I'm sure the main roads were still fine, but would be very messy very soon.  I stood in the driveway, indecisive for a few minutes before giving in and going back inside.  I hate to use up my banked time for weather but I just don't like to take those chances driving in winter weather like I did when I was younger.

And to top it all off, tomorrow's high temperature is 6ºF/-14ºC.  After that looks like another mixed bag of temperatures and precipitation for the next week.

Year after year, similar winter story lines.  I've heard it described as when a mother forgets the pain of childbirth and wants another baby.  The summers are so nice we forget what the winters bring.  It happens every year, and here we are again...