Slayer, Suicidal Tendencies, and Exodus at the Tabernacle in Atlanta, 11/22/2014

The main draw for me was Exodus.  In fact, I went for the Exodus meet-and-greet package.  With Souza back on vocals, I didn't want to miss it.  Oh, and Slayer will be playing later?  Attendance was mandatory.

I made it to the Tabernacle about ten minutes before check-in time for the meet and greet.  There were nine of us there, which was nice.  Robin, the woman running the meet and greet and handling their merch, met us a little while later, and gave us the bad news... Gary Holt wouldn't be able to meet with us because of an injury flaring up, so he was saving his spoons for the show, gave us his apologies, a couple of picks, and if we would hand in our item to be signed, he'll sign it, and we could pick it up with our shirts at the merch booth.  Even if he was feeling up to it, I wasn't planning on him being there... playing two sets every night sounds taxing.  We were led inside and stood around the balcony of the basement for a few minutes before the the band arrived.

I have to say that Exodus seems like a warm, friendly bunch.  Sure, everyone there paid for access to the band, but as I said... it's the warmth. It's the sort of thing that can't be faked.  As could be expected of me, I wasn't really trying to make conversation or anything, so I went through the line for the autographs quickly... had the band sign their page for the Blood In Blood Out album insert.  I highly recommend the album, by the way.

After the meet and greet, we head outside to the "VIP" line at the venue, it finally opens up, and we all gather around center stage.  I run off to grab a beer, but before I could make it back, the horde begins to trickle in, so I had to suffer by standing in front of the speaker stack used as a stage extension.  Oh boo hoo, poor me having to suffer with seeing every single non-drummer member of every single band within arm's reach.

Before I talk about the show, I would definitely like to mention the awesome guys working security for Argus.  Friendly, but fierce when intercepting asshole crowd surfers.  Can't say enough nice things about them.

Exodus is supporting their latest release, Blood In Blood Out, and opened with the album's opening track, Black 13.  It really is the perfect opener, with an intro by Dan the Automator that warms the crowd and let's the band enter the stage to a frothing, cheering horde.  I don't recall the specifics of the set list, but it was a great mix of old and new.  They were much more energetic than the last time I saw them, which was at the Tabernacle back in 2010 supporting Megadeth's RIP20 tour.  Back then, it seemed like Gary and Lee basically camped on top of their stacks, ignoring everything but their playing, occasionally switching sides, while Rob failed to whip up the crowd for more than a few moments.  No, not this time... The enthusiasm from the meet and greet continued to the show... everyone is moving around the stage, connecting with the audience, really bringing the energy.  Unfortunately, being the opening act, their set was way too short.  Just as things were on a roll, Steve gave the always disappointing, "We have a couple more songs for you..."

A few minutes later, the crew is swapping out things for the next act.  I would like to point out, that the tour crew seems to be a well-oiled machine, having everything changed over for Suicidal's set in what seemed like under 15 minutes.  Granted, Suicidal has a minimal set... a few mic stands, the drums, and a backdrop, so that certainly helped.

I'm not at all familiar with Suicidal Tendencies... the flavor of the music isn't to my tastes.  Mike Muir's energy is world-renowned, and was definitely there.  Suicidal's fans tended to be younger than those of us that were there for Exodus and Slayer, and were all wearing their caps with upturned bills featuring the Suicidal logo.  I can't really say whether or not I enjoyed the music, as I was distracted by all the kids crowd surfing, one of which crashed into my head, wrenching my neck, before the security guys could grab him.  When I wasn't the one receiving a spinal injury, it was quite amusing to watch.  At one particular point, two assholes were coming in back-to-back.  While security grabbed one, the other guy tumbled under the stage and needed help to become unstuck.  Fortunately, Suicidal's set ended before anyone near the barricade suffered a serious neck injury.  Yes, that's my take on it.  Screw you, I'm old.  Get off my lawn.

Once again, the crew was quick making the change over for Slayer.  They drop a large white curtain across the front as they work on most of the change over.  A few minutes later, someone in the side balcony starts taking photos... Oh yes, it's on.  The press photographers roll in.  Then, a projector lights up the curtain.  They opened with World Painted Blood.  Every aspect of Slayer's show was incredible.  The lighting was perfect, carefully tailored to fit the mood of each song.  My side of the stage was inhabited by none other than Kerry Fuckin' King.  It was an absolute treat to see those songs I've loved for so long emanate from a musician and his guitar that close to my face.  It's one thing to listen to music, it's another to see it performed in front of your face.  The show was a solid hour and a half of music.  They closed out the night with their Jeff Hanneman tribute... playing South of Heaven.  After that, Tom gave a quick, "Thank you, good night."  That was it.  The band tosses out picks and sticks, and set lists, and that's it.

Slayer fans are less pushy than Megadeth fans.  If this were a Megadeth show, as the end of the night comes closer, selfish jerks whose only form of personal validation is catching Dave Mustaine's sweaty wristbands make the show miserable.  At the RIP20 show, I went from standing within an arm's reach of one side aisle, all the way across the floor to the other side of the stage.  At the Slayer show?  I'm not really sure if I moved at all.  I started the night at the hinge of one barricade, ended at the hinge of a barricade.  The forward push wasn't even that bad, mainly when the pit whipped up a bit. Well, a couple of individuals, in particular the rather tiny woman that was there for the Exodus meet and greet, had to make an escape.  Fortunately, the security guys were able to help.  The only problem, if you can call it that, is that the bass drum was a bit too loud, to the point that it was creating a tremolo effect where I was standing.  It was so intense, my hair was flying around, and it interrupted my breathing.  I'm definitely glad I lost an hour returning to the house for the earplugs.

To do for the Simple Z80 project...

For some reason I'm just not able to stop playing Skyrim long enough to do the following:

  1. Figure out what to do with the clock portion of the UART

  2. Finish schematic, mainly adding no-connects to various unused pins that can be left floating, tying to appropriate power rail

  3. Assign package types to all parts

  4. Run netlister and generator .brd file

  5. Layout PCB

  6. Generate artwork and drill files

  7. Inspect all that

  8. Upload it to OSHpark

  9. Order

  10. Wait a few days

  11. Throw components at board

  12. Solder everything to board

  13. Write a post reminding myself what needs to be done on the programming side of this project that looks awfully similar to this post.

  14. Eat a Choco Taco


Time to mount some surfaces or something

2013-12-16 11.07.25I took PADS from start to finish during the trial but never bothered to do the same with OrCAD, even though I actually paid money for OrCAD.  Before I commit to soldering a difficult-to-replace 486 cpu to an expensive to manufacture pcb I figured it would be wise to do a few warm up projects.  I really wanted to dig into my surface mount resistor assortment, so went for the binary weighted resistor network 8 bit dac, to be used as a covox speech thing.  It is conveniently sized to fit in a DB25 shell, for obvious reasons.  It's not like that SMD resistor assortment was going to use itself.

I'm sure someone will ask, "Dude, why did you spend all that money on OrCAD when X is cheaper or Y is open source? Collapse )OrCAD hits every single mark.  It's really no different than buying a nice dSLR for your photography hobby, when the low end point and shoot was available.

In related news, I also have a new oscilloscope.  The Rigol DS1104Z I ordered from Tequipment arrived Friday and I spent the weekend throwing things at my breadboards.  It's simply amazing compared to my analog scopes or the HP 54111D.  Then again, it is about 30 years newer than all of those.  Seriously.  Four channels, 100MHz, 1GS/s, 12M point memory standard, intensity graded display, 30,000 wfms/s, and under $750.

I made a thing

My new oscilloscope arrives tomorrow.  Needed something to throw at it, so I built an oscillator out of the various components I have sitting around.  Based on the old scope that works half the time, I succeeded.  Then I moved it from the breadboard to a piece of proto board, and screwed it up big time.  Unfortunately I didn't test it before I clipped all the leads.  I rewired it to the point that it sort of works, but the critical capacitor isn't really able to stretch where it needs to be and is sort of half-way surface mounted on a single sided board... on the side without copper...

Also, for some reason I thought it was a bright idea to solder in the 74HCT04 to the board rather than a socket.  Granted, there isn't much price difference between the socket and 7404, but still.  Pennies add up.

Everyone should experience Iron Maiden live

Rob and I made it to to COTA, which is the home of the Austin360 amphitheater, a solid hour and a half before the show.  The line seemed long, but it was no more than 250 or so in front of us.  After the gates opened, we made it through rather quickly, and went to the entrance for the GA pit, and then found out we needed to get a wristband at this non-obvious tent.  This worked out for the best, as we ended up on the right side, and a much shorter line.  Except they were not ready to let anyone into the pit or any seating area, so we stood in line for a bit longer.  Eventually, we made it in.  We were about six feet from the stage, towards the right side.  This is exactly where I wanted to be, not for Maiden, but for Megadeth.  Chris Broderick is a joy to watch and that's his primary position.  Also, it's the ideal place for the end of the set when guitar picks, drumsticks and wristbands are tossed out.

Fred and Willie Gee, the guitar techs for Megadeth, made their appearance doing final checks, posting the set lists and such.  Someone in the audience asked Willie for a drink and he actually delivered.  That is one of the many reasons Megadeth's guitar techs have fans.

The show started on time, to the minute.  Megadeth was in top form, better than the Atlanta show in 2010.  David Ellefson is now properly reintegrated into the band.  In 2010, he had returned to Megadeth about five weeks before the show, and it showed.  Chris Broderick's stage presence has lost all hint of timidity.  He sweats confidence and beams with enthusiasm.  Sadly, he was on the opposite side of the stage for the solo during Tornado of Souls.  At least we had Dave Mustaine chugging away on the backing rhythm part in front of us.  Shawn was doing the thing that all metal drummers do... keeping the beat solid and true parked on his riser.  The only negative thing I can say about the performance is that it was too short.  It was right at 45 minutes, with 43 minutes of music.

I hate to admit it, but I don't regularly listen to Iron Maiden.  I know the wrong lyrics to the hooks of a few of their more popular songs, and that's it.  I definitely need to remedy that.

Iron Maiden blasted onto the stage at 9pm.  This is not an exaggeration.  Iron Maiden isn't a show.  Iron Maiden is a Show.  There were pyrotechnics, giant balls of flame, animatronics, distinct backdrops for each song, frequent costume changes for Bruce Dickinson, and more.  Janick Gers tended to stay on our side of the stage, as he prefers to be plugged in, rather than jumping around with a wireless set.  We had a great view when Bruce wrapped him in the Union Jack as he shredded away.

I would have thought that 45 minutes into the set, those old guys in their mid-fifties would tire, slowdown, and sort of loiter on stage.  It turns out the first half of the show is just a warm up.  Apparently they made some sort of demonic pact that allows them to thrive off the energy of the kids in the audience who were a third of their age.

If you were to take a hyperactive six-year-old and inject her with a mix of cocaine, meth, and pure sugar, the child would still have less than one percent of the energy of Bruce Dickinson.  This man that should be thinking about retiring to some beach side town will run from one end of the stage to the other, jumping over monitors, climbing the riser, and returning to stage center in a single song, all without missing a beat.  His microphone could cut out, and he would still be able to destroy your ears with his operatic wail.

To see this show I purchased a round trip flight for Austin and two tickets to the show at $100 a pop.  It was worth every penny.  If I have any regrets, it's that I didn't bring more friends to the show.  Seeing Iron Maiden live is something every single person should experience at least once.  I can't wait until the next tour!

What we talk about when we talk about pockets

Originally posted by kylecassidy at What we talk about when we talk about pockets
This post is about pockets, feminism, design, autonomy and common sense. Please feel free to repost or link to it if you know people who'd benefit from the discussion.

A few weeks ago trillian_stars and I were out somewhere and she asked "Oooh, can I get a cup of coffee?" and I thought "why are you asking me? You don't need permission." But what I discovered was that her clothes had no pockets, so she had no money with her.

Mens clothes have pockets. My swimsuits have pockets. All of them do, and it's not unusual, because, what if you're swimming in the ocean and you find a fist full of pirate booty in the surf? You need somewhere to put it. Men are used to carrying stuff in their pockets, you put money there, you put car keys there. With money and car keys come power and independence. You can buy stuff, you can leave. The idea of some women's clothes not having pockets is baffling, but it's worse than that -- it's patriarchal because it makes the assumption that women will either carry a handbag, or they'll rely on men around them for money and keys and such things. (I noticed this also when Neil & Amanda were figuring out where her stuff had to go because she had no pockets.) Where do women carry tampons? Amanda wondered, In their boyfriend's pockets, Neil concluded.

I then noticed that none of trillian_stars' running clothes had pockets. Any pockets. Which is (as they always say on "Parking Wars") ridikulus. Who leaves the house with nothing? (It's not a rhetorical question, I actually can't think of anybody).

We fixed some of this by getting this runners wrist wallet from Poutfits on Etsy -- it holds money, ID, keys ... the sort of stuff you'd need. Plus you can wipe your nose on it. It solves the running-wear problem, but not the bigger problem.

Clickenzee to Embiggen!

The bigger problem is that people who design women's fashions are still designing pants and jackets that have no pockets. In fact, this jacket we got last December has ... no pockets. It's not a question of lines or shape, it's a question of autonomy.

Clickenzee to Embiggen

So I'm asking my friends who design women's clothes to consider putting pockets in them, they can be small, they can be out of the way, they can be inside the garment, but space enough to put ID, and cash and bus tokens. And maybe a phone. (And if you can design a surreptitious tampon stash, I'm sure Neil & Amanda & a lot of other people would appreciate it as well.)

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(no subject)

Etched my first board tonight. It was a complete failure. Not sure if the Sharpie ratshack includes with their "etch your own circuit board!" kit is special, or if modern Sharpies use a different formula, or I didn't lay down enough ink, but I suspect I'm probably to blame.  That being said, I did get some traces that weren't completely etched away.

And a quick bit of searching gives some things to try.