2007 TV Season Premieres

The 2007 TV premieres are just around the corner. I’ve already looked up the dates for all the shows I watch and all the new shows I plan on watching. I think this year sets a record for new shows that I’m interested in.

Returning shows that I watch:

Prison Break FOX Mon, Sep 17 07:00 PM
Simpsons FOX Sun, Sep 23 07:00 PM
Family Guy FOX Sun, Sep 23 08:00 PM
Heroes NBC Mon, Sep 24 08:00 PM
House FOX Tue, Sep 25 08:00 PM
Smallville CW Thu, Sep 27 07:00 PM
My Name is Earl NBC Thu, Sep 27 07:00 PM
The Office NBC Thu, Sep 27 08:00 PM
CSI CBS Thu, Sep 27 08:00 PM

Nip/Tuck will start sometime in October. Lost, 24, and The Riches start early 2008.

New shows that I want to see:

Flash Gordon Sci-Fi Fri, Aug 10 08:00 PM
Chuck NBC Mon, Sep 24 07:00 PM
Journeyman NBC Mon, Sep 24 09:00 PM
New Amsterdam* FOX Tue, Sep 25 07:00 PM
Reaper CW Tue, Sep 25 08:00 PM
Pushing Daisies ABC Wed, Oct 2
07:00 PM
Bionic Woman NBC Wed, Sep 26 08:00 PM
Life NBC Wed, Sep 26 09:00 PM
Moonlight CBS Fri, Sep 28 08:00 PM

Two other shows that start mid-season are The IT Crowd and The Sarah Connor Chronicles .

All times listed are Central. That’s a lot of TV. I’m already predicting that Journeyman, New Amsterdam, Life, and Moonlight will get canceled. The Sarah Connor Chronicles will probably be canceled also just because it’s on FOX. That would be shame. I watched the pilot episode and thought it was pretty good. I’ve also seen the pilots for Chuck, Pushing Daises, and Bionic Woman. The first two are good, but Bionic Woman isn’t that great. But I hear that some changes are being made to the show, so the pilot that airs may be better than the one I’ve seen.

I’ve also put all of these dates and times into an iCalendar for anyone interested.

*Fox is now holding onto New Amsterdam until mid-season.

Long Week

I didn’t realize today was Thursday until around noon. I thought it was Friday. It feels like a Friday. I was already looking forward to the weekend. The week feels even longer now that I know I’ll be going back to work tomorrow.

It puts the lotion on its skin.

A couple months ago I started working on a design for my next guitar controller. I knew I wanted to do something different with this one. Something more than just paint. I brainstormed a few themes and kept coming back to the idea of doing something zombie related. Probably because I had just finished reading World War Z , and zombies were fresh on my mind. A guitar made of rotting flesh and bone might be interesting. I sketched out some designs. The zombie idea gradually progressed into a general horror theme.

The basic design I came up with consisted of a guitar covered in human skin, a pick guard and neck made of distressed metal and wrapped in barbed wire, a whammy bar made of bone, a rusty chain for a strap, and some blood spatter.

At this point I just want to reassure you that I am a perfectly sane individual, and these ideas are not manifestations of a demented psyche.

Read on for pics.

I went to a costume/party store to get most of the materials I needed. I planned on cutting up some Halloween masks and using the latex for human skin. Most of the ones I looked at were either the wrong color or didn’t have enough usable material. I wanted a mask with a realistic looking ear that I could put somewhere on the guitar. I got that idea from the back cover of my Evil Dead Book of the Dead DVD. Some of the masks would have worked but were out of my budget. I was about to lose hope until I saw a Leatherface costume that was perfect. It even had ears on it.

Leatherface Costume

There were lots of bone props to look at for the whammy bar. I found a nice mummified skeletal hand. One of the fingers would work nicely, and there were four more to fall back on if I screwed the first one up.

Prop Skeleton Hand

I had my choice of either silver or rusted fake barbed wire. I chose the rusted. I looked all over for chains but didn’t find anything that would work.

Next stop was Hobby Lobby where I picked up a can of spray adhesive and two bottles of acrylic paint in burgundy and grape to mix for the blood. Then on to Home Depot for spray paint and a plastic chain for the strap.

I decided to go with a wireless controller this time instead of another SG. I got a cheap “unused” one on eBay. That was probably a mistake. When the guitar arrived I didn’t have any AAA batteries to test it out with. I should have gone out and bought some batteries then, but I was too excited about getting started. I began taking the guitar apart so I could get the painting out of the way. At one point I accidentally dropped the guitar and most of the internal components came spilling out. I quickly surveyed the damage. A few of the leads on a ribbon cable had snapped, part of the strum bar assembly and the strum bar itself was broken, and the PCB for the Start and Select buttons had a crack in it. No problem for the most part. Everything could be fixed with solder and/or glue. Everything but the strum bar. One of the ends was broken off. It had to have been that way when I got it. It’s a pretty thick piece of plastic and there is no way it could have broken when I dropped it. And I never found the piece that broke off. It wasn’t a huge deal. The strum bar was still functional. But it made me wonder if I actually damaged anything or if it was all broken before I got it. I couldn’t really send the guitar back now because I had already drilled holes in the pick guard and put some screws in.

Pick Guard

As usual, the paint didn’t turn out the way I had it pictured in my head, but I think it still looks pretty good.

I cut about two and half inches off the whammy bar. Then cut one of the fingers off the hand, drilled a hole in it, and slid it over the whammy.

The skin was pretty simple. Just cut and glue. I had used spray adhesive in the past to glue carpet to fiberglass, but I soon found out that latex and plastic where completely different. The latex just wouldn’t adhere. I ended up using my hot glue gun to stick it on.

Then I mixed up some blood and painted the skin seams. I watered it down some and used a toothbrush to get the spray/splatter effect.

The staples where probably the most tedious part. The plastic was too hard for the staples to penetrate very far. I cut the legs on each staple down to less than 1/8″. Once the staples were in, I painted each one individually to make them look tarnished.

Whammy

The guitar was ready to be put back together. At this point just about every wire in the thing had broken off at the solder joint. Those things are really thin and it doesn’t take much bending in any direction for them to snap. I went ahead and broke off the ones that were still attached and then soldered them all back to the PCBs. To make sure it didn’t happen again, I covered all the connections with hot glue. By now I had picked up some batteries so I popped them in and fired it up. The strum bar and fret buttons all worked. The whammy bar had some problems. It wouldn’t snap all the way back into the home position. That could be caused by the added weight of the finger. I fixed it a little to where it works most of the time now, but I still need to tweak it some more. The Start/Select buttons still failed to work even though I had attempted to fix the traces in the PCB a couple times. I ended up just replacing the PCB with some small pushbutton switches I had lying around.

As soon as I unrolled the fake barbed wire I knew I had made a mistake. The stuff is essentially made from leather boot laces with knots tied every few inches to look like barbs. From a distance it could possibly pass for the real thing, but wrapped around the neck of the guitar it looked like crap. I decided it would be best to use the real thing. I acquired just over six rusty feet of the real stuff and carefully wound it around the neck. Maybe not the best idea for someone with an accident prone past. I made sure the barbs were positioned where they wouldn’t cut my hand while playing.

More Barbed Wire Barbed Wire

I sanded each link on the plastic chain and then painted it to match the rest of the theme. I wrapped the gauze sash from the Leatherface apron around part of the chain to give it a little padding and to keep the paint from rubbing off on my shirt. Of course I had to paint some blood onto it.

Front

In these pictures the blood looks kind of purple. It really has more of a reddish tint. The square area on the back of the guitar is the battery cover, so I couldn’t staple those seams. The on/off switch is covered up but can still be manipulated through the skin. The power LED is also visible through the skin when lit.

Chain

Frelling A!

Farscape is coming back… sort of. It’s just some webisodes. And there’s no word yet on which characters will be returning. But at least it’s new Farscape. Now if Sci-Fi would just do the same with The Invisible Man.

Jumping Ship

I dropped off the console gaming scene when my N64 became obsolete. I was solely a PC gamer until the end of 2004 when I decided to buy a used PS2. GTA: San Andreas had just been released, and I didn’t want to wait months on the PC version. I’m glad I chose Sony. Some of their exclusive titles have become my favorite games of all time.

Because I love my PS2 so much, I had planned on moving up to the PS3 eventually. But I’ve been paying attention to the announcements made at E3 this week, and, with the exception of Infamous, the PS3 lineup doesn’t impress me. Now that Microsoft has access to franchises like GTA and Guitar Hero, I think I’ll be jumping over to the 360.

Maybe I’ll pick up a PS3 in 2009 when God of War III is supposed to be released, and if Blu-ray is still around.

Tongue Geometry

I have a weird tongue. When I was really young I had trouble pronouncing ‘L’ sounds. A doctor once suggested that I have that flap of tissue under my tongue clipped. My parents planned for me to have the surgery, but after a little DIY speech therapy I got to the point where I didn’t need it.

If I had had the surgery, my tongue would probably be able to stick out further than it does today. I’ve never measured, but I doubt it will even extend to an inch beyond my lips. On the other hand, my tongue seems to be too wide for my mouth. There isn’t enough room for it to sit comfortably between my teeth. I’m constantly biting down on it.