Sunday, May 17, 2015

The Girls Club

When working in a male-dominated environment, there is something you must be aware of: you will never be one of the boys, and if there are any other females currently employed or hired, it is assumed you will become best friends. After all, the boys have their boys club so, in theory, the girls must have girls clubs, right? Not really. In reality, the idea of bonding with someone simply based off their gender is stupid. Just because I have a vagina and someone else has a vagina does not make me and that person kindred spirits. Women do not play by “bros before hos” rules, but rather bond over actual things that matter.

Sure, you may have some great women who work with you, but strip away gender of all the people you know and pretend they are just a bunch of worms. Worms have no sex. They’re just worms. But imagine those worms do have people traits like personalities and interests. You’ll be friends with the worms who are into the same stuff you’re into, possibly worms who share your sense of humor, political ideologies, code of ethics, and so forth. With that in mind, just because there’s some other women who work with you, that doesn’t mean you’re on the path to becoming BFFs. If you don’t have much in common, chances are you will be office acquaintances and make small talk at the water cooler, but not be going out on the weekend to hang out. And there’s nothing wrong with that. 

Sunday, March 22, 2015

We Get It, You're Awesome...

I don't mind people who love what they do and talk about it all the time. I don't mind people who brag about all the awesome things they do. But I do have an issue with people who criticize their peers or others who do the same things to a lesser ability as if they are a failure because they aren't capable of performing up to the same degree of someone else.

I was at a race yesterday. It was a lot of fun. I had a trail run half marathon PR of 3:38:36. I was pretty happy about that. Especially considering the half marathon trail race I did the weekend before took me an hour longer than it's taken me the past two times I ran that race due to weather (4:40:11). Those conditions were pretty bad, but the conditions for this race were really good. Nice weather, a trail that wasn't covered in mud, a nice river crossing. It was a good run.

Unfortunately, my good run was ruined by one man. The better part of me had the nerve to not have me go up to him and say, "Excuse me, sir, do you know how much of an asshole you sound like right now?"

The guy was a crossfitter. How do I know? Because he was talking crossfit. I know a lot of really nice people who do crossfit. This guy, however, was a tool. In a discussion with another guy about crossfit, the other man admitted to doing crossfit stuff at home to which he replied, "Well, it only counts if you're doing it in a box." (A box is what crossfitters refer to what you or I would call a gym. By all means, never call a crossfitters box a gym.)

As if this wasn't a snotty enough comment to make to his crossfit peers, he then began to criticize the runners of the half marathon. There was still one more person on the course, a gal from Savannah, who was not used to running our hills. She was doing good considering her circumstances and having no idea what to expect on the course. Well, Mr. Something-To-Say-About-Everything starts to talk to the people around him, "Are you kidding me? There's still someone out on the course? That's ridiculous. Can you imagine running a 4 hour half marathon? That's like walking the whole time. Why bother even doing it?"

Really? Really? I mean, here I'm sitting there having finished some 22 minutes shy of a 4 hour mark and this guy is talking about how horrible people who are slower are?

OK, so granted, we don't all do crossfit and run a lot and we're not all built like this guy, but who is he to talk bad about other people. He didn't know the girl behind me wasn't used to running hills. He doesn't know I have flat feet and asthma, or that I spent around 30 minutes between both stops talking to the boy scout troop leaders every time I passed their aid station. He doesn't know that maybe other runners are coming back from an injury, or just having a bad day, or are just slow and out for fun. I wasn't out there to do some crazy fast race. I'm just doing this to train to go at a 16 minute mile pace, which I did.

But really, back to the point here. Why do some people feel like they can talk bad about other people who are doing the same things they do, just not as good. That's not to say that the slower runner isn't putting in any less effort. And honestly, it's not his complaint to make. If the people putting on the race wanted to avoid having situations like this, they can put a time limit on a race. But yeah, this guy killed me yesterday. I have never wanted to give a stranger a piece of my mind, but, I was too happy with my PR to care. Instead, I decided to take my time and go talk to "Savannah" when she finished to hear her race story and share a Coke before going home.

So, "Savannah", if you're out there in the world, I just want to let you know that you don't suck for finishing a few minutes after 4 hours because you didn't have a proper environment (hills) to train in. I'm sure you're a great runner and the fact you were even out there and finished instead of dropping out over the first loop makes you awesome. I hope you're not feeling too sore today. Your friend in running, "Columbus"

Monday, November 17, 2014

In Your Place An Empty Space

This weekend was the end of a tragic love story. Just like all tragedies, it was flawed from the start. This love story is full of terrible clichés like “if you love something set it free” and “it’s not you, it’s me”. It actually goes back to the summer of 2013. I was in a manic spell, adamant about doing Run Across Georgia. Jesse was on board, but when training was taking up too much of my time, he put his foot down on it and said he would let me finish the races I registered for (The North Face 50K at the end of September and the Savannah Marathon over Veteran’s Day weekend), but after that, no Run Across Georgia. Period.

It’s fine. I wound up with a knee injury after Savannah anyway which set me into a bit of a depression and we were trying to find things to do to get me out of this bind. Jesse wanted to do a project car and I was behind this as well. I also had the money to buy one and found the Satellite. I was back into manic mode and made him drive me out almost 3 hours away to buy a car I hadn’t even seen. I bought him, named him, loved him and had such great plans for him.

Sadly, he needed a lot of work. More work than we could do on our own; work that would break our budget to do. He needed a lot of parts that cost a lot. My project was becoming a financial nightmare. I was starting to have to budget work to do on him and when to do it. I tried to take care of his body, but the summer was particularly rainy. We didn’t have a car port or a garage, so anticipating rain was a daily occurrence. So he sat, most of the summer. He started to develop surface rust. The more he sat the more work he needed.

There were some other factors that had gone into what I call the “money pit” that steals from any funds to do the car which included saving up to go out to California in June for a wedding that got canceled as well as my continuing to work on my degree in Graphic Information Technology, changing over to Arizona State University which costs more.

Meanwhile, my knee injury healed and I was back running again so I wasn’t too sad about him not getting worked on. I ran a trail race over the summer in which the alleged 24 miles was looking more like 25 miles. It was only a set of three eight mile loops, but still, with the promise of free BBQ sandwiches, ice cold Coke, and a car show around noon when I still had 8 miles left, I quit. I was too distracted by awesome goodies and didn’t even finish. It was my first DNF in a race ever and when I saw the results and learned I would have got the first place award for females, I felt really bad. Still, the summer allowed for more trail racing and I wound up placing third for my age group in a local trail race, then I knew I injured something in the double pump 5K/10K trail race. I knew I would need some recovery time. I just didn’t know how long.

Again, I was not running. And still, neither was the Satellite. Both of us were sitting, wasting away. He was rusting, I was losing muscle tone, my breathing was going back to becoming difficult, and I was gaining weight.

At some point in the summer, my sister and her boyfriend of forever got engaged, which meant we would need to budget for another trip to California for 2015. I had got to the point after the last wedding out in California I had the mentality of, “I don’t care who you are, I’m not paying to go out to your wedding,” especially since we have spent enough money going back home every time someone gets married since we moved out of California 7 years ago. Still, if there’s one person I’ll break that rule for, it’s my sister because the obvious and because her and her now fiancé have been together long enough they might as well be married. Plus, my sister knows how to run the hell out of an event and I know their wedding is going to be the event of the century. If it’s anything like her 30th birthday, it will not be an event to miss.

In August, my dad passed away. In the late summer/early fall, things at work started to become extremely stressful and there was just a lot of chaos among the city with internal changes and elected officials suing the city and just one bad headline after another. I had reached a point in my life where it felt like nothing was going right.

Now, I write in an actual hard bound journal almost daily. I know it is a dying process. Most people blog or just go to counseling. Still, I have thoughts too private for blogs, but that need to be let out, so I write. I had gone back and reread some of the things and from April to the last page (sometime in September), there was nothing but negativity. Some thoughts were general grumbling, others were downright depressing. I decided that there were some major changes that needed to be done in my life to restore a sense of balance.

First thing on the agenda was work on running again. So I did. I had the support of my husband this time, who ran his first half marathon on Veteran’s Day weekend with me at the Soldier Half Marathon. This was (I want to say) my seventh half marathon and his first. I also played V.I.P. “Very Important Pacer” for not only him, but a coworker. I saw to it they both crossed the finish line. We ran the race in honor of my dad as they give Fallen Hero bibs to add to your race bibs. Jesse said he would have never done a half, but because it was in my dad’s honor, he did it and he said it wasn’t that bad.

The next thing to do was difficult. In a time I was still dealing with premature loss, I had to deal with another. We decided it was best to sell the Satellite. That being said, “It’s not you, Satellite, it’s me…”


I posted the Satellite on Craigslist. I listed a price that would have me breaking even for everything I paid for him all in all. A friend told me I could make more if I parted him out, but it wasn’t about money. It was about finding the right owner.

I got several inquiries within a day of posting him. One person said they’d come out that day and pick it up and I told them to check it out first. They came out and low balled me at an insultingly low number. I was straight up and told them I had seen completely cancerous rusted vehicles selling for more than what they were offering. They were acting like it was a piece of junk and liked the body style, but I could just imagine what they would do to him and I did not want to sell him to them.

The next day I got more inquiries and one email tugged a little at my heart. It read:

“I have $1,500.00 saved. Could you take that for the car? I would love to finish the restoration on him. I have a 30x40 shop to keep him in. Can come with cash Saturday from Tennessee for him if you can!!!”

This was the right person. Someone willing to travel hours for a car they had never seen; someone who was calling my car a “him” because I made my car male and this person would keep him a male. I knew this guy would be a good fit. I contacted him and told him I would send him more pictures so I don’t waste his time in case he didn’t like the quality of the car and so I sent him more photos and he said he would see me on Saturday and would, “send [me] progress pictures after [he gets] started on him.”

Saturday morning, Jesse and I ran a 5K and when we returned, he took Charlie to a Cub Scout outing while I waited for the Satellite’s new owner to come. I took the heads, oil pan, and transmission out of the shed and did some yard work in the meantime. I was almost done trimming a hedge when they showed up.

I guided them up the driveway to line up with the car. It was the guy, a former Marine, and his wife. They struck me as a very sweet couple. I was so worried he would be disappointed with the Satellite when I took the cover off, but he was completely enamored. He was so excited about what great condition it was in and was showing me pictures of his other Satellite on his phone. I was so happy he loved the car.

In a rush to get down, they forgot some important things, like the winch. He had a hand winch and we had to use that to the best of our abilities. He and his wife took turns using hand winched while I pushed. Then the three of us pushed and she ran up to winch. He then ran up to winch and I nearly got crushed by 2,500 lbs of car plus everything inside of it. It was a little terrifying at that point.

Eventually we got him onto the ramp, but he was slightly blocking the left brake light. When Jesse got back home from Charlie’s Cub Scout outing, he helped correct this as well as get the engine, transmission, and other parts into his flatbed.

After all the heavy work was done, it was time to square away formalities with signing of papers, transferring the title, and paying. They loved Jinky, the cats, and the outside neighborhood cats. And of course, the new owner, having been a Marine, was fascinated with Jesse’s military surplus rifle collection, although, in all honesty, most people tend to be.

A good three hours after they arrived, they were back on the road to Tennessee. I look forward to seeing pictures of my car and I know he’s in a better place. So, to end with another cliché, “If you love something, set it free…” You’re free, Satellite. Free from hiding under a cover, free from rusting, free from the elements, free to become the glorious vehicle you’re meant to be.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Satellite Update

It seems like forever since I've been able to work on the Satellite, and really, it has. This has been a particularly rainy summer here in Georgia. With no garage or covered driveway, knowing that it'll start raining around 3:00 PM is kind of a buzz kill. Just about the time I'd get set up, it's time to pack up because rain. Nothing wants to dry fast because of the excessive humidity in the air. It's depressing.

Add to the depressing factor I'm in school again. I transferred into Arizona State University. They've been really good about getting my old CalArts credits to transfer over. So all those years at CalArts weren't a total loss of $40K. Har har ouch.

When I'm not saving up every cent for school, I'm saving up for another trip to California next year. If you remember, I went out last year for a wedding and well, let's just say it turned into a vacation with my sister and her boyfriend, who is now her fiance. So, yes, I'll be going to their wedding next year. Actually, our whole family will be going. Yay!

Back in August my dad died from a stroke. It's still weird to think about and watching him die wasn't the best thing for my perpetual fear of death/dying and I won't lie, for about a good month after, every time I went to bed, I was convinced I was dying because I have a tendency to fall asleep in the wrong order. I've had this problem of the sleep issue rather frequently for I don't know how long. Anyway, whenever my breathing slows down or I become aware of my body slowing down, I'm convinced I'm dying and then I have panic attacks. It's been happening less frequently now, thank God, because honestly, I'm not sure how much longer my body could keep up with that schedule. I just sit around and wonder, "How did I ever manage to go out with my friends in my early 20's and function at work the next day!?"

Anyway, there's a lot of stuff going that's good and hectic and eating up my time and money and putting the Satellite on the back burner for a bit. It is what it is. In the meantime, there may or may not be a really huge zipper spider living in the Satellite right now. If you don't know what a zipper spider is and you don't like spiders, I highly recommend you do NOT google them.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Watching Paint Dry

Yesterday we painted the living room. It only took us a little over a year to commit to a color. It used to be an ugly shade of a neutral baby poop yellow-green. I know, that doesn't sound neutral at all, but somehow, someone in the world has managed to make an ugly color even uglier. I wanted to do a color that would make the room pop, something that was bold and would accentuate everything in the room. Originally, I thought a teal, then a cinnamon. The color I committed to was Behr's Hallowed Hush. It's a hard to describe color. Not purple enough to be a periwinkle, but not green enough to be a teal, but the perfect contrast to our stone facade fireplace and our slug-toned couches.

When we finished the room, we sat around watching the paint dry, noticing all of its imperfections in the color transitions between dry and wet. I thought about how much I'd want my parents and sister to see the new color. We were pretty excited. It's a pretty big thing to paint, especially when we spent so long waiting to do it. My mom saw it yesterday. My sister has probably seen it on facebook. My dad will never get to see it. Yesterday has been 20 days since he died. Somehow, it still is hard to believe he's gone.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Selling Suburbia

Fact: I love ads for cars circa 1955 – 1974 just as much as I love the cars themselves. Something about the idea of selling the American Dream to a blossoming crop of consumers [specifically] in the suburban wonderland that was Southern California… Does it get any better than that? Sell me suburbia… with a side of Freiburger. Har har har.


Thursday, July 24, 2014

Adventures in Digital Piano Electronics Part 2: More Diagnostics and Repair

In the first part, I discovered a blown resistor, so I took what was left of the part to Radioshack in hopes of finding someone who could help with finding the part. Upon getting there, no one seemed to know what was going on, they just wanted to sell a device to read the resistor but we were thinking it probably wouldn't give an accurate reading if it was blown, so we left.

I went back home and looked around the motherboard for some clues to the blown resistor and figured I'd just buy a bunch of parts and see if I could find anything that matched. Nothing. However, upon this second matching game, I discovered another culprit: a blown capacitor. This capacitor was actually the constant to help with finding my unknown resistor variable in the busted piano equation. On the capacitor, it stated the size which was 470uF35v. Right next to it on the motherboard was the same size along with the number that I'm assuming goes with a schematic drawing somewhere in the Williams Symphony assembly archives. Next to the blown resistor was the same information part R54 100. I looked around for that same part number and to my luck found one! A little blue resistor with what looked like a Brown/Black/Black/Black/Gold scheme. Upon reading color coding of resistor bars, it corresponded with 100 and so long story short, I had more information as to what I needed.

I went back to Radioshack a few days later and told the guy I needed to return the part and asked if he knew if they had the specific resistor I was looking for and he said, "I don't really know about that stuff." Awesome. I kind of felt like Parker Posey in Best in Show when she's asking the guy in the pet shop about the Busy Bee toy and keeps getting all these other toys and the salesman is just confused as to what to do.

I wound up buying a resistor multi pack figuring my part was bound to be in there (as it did say it contained not one, but FOUR 100 ohm resistors. As for the capacitor, that was a pretty quick find. I paid and was short something like $6 for everything.

When I got home, I tested the parts out to make sure they worked and they didn't with the speakers on. I plugged in the jack and it worked! I looked back on the motherboard to try and figure out what was wrong and realized we unplugged the speakers to get access under the motherboard. It would work!

Next, I busted out the solder and soldered those parts in place, trimmed the excess and added a little more. They were pretty sloppy solders, but held up.

 Who solders in a dress? ME!

What can I say? This is my first time ever doing anything like this, so I'm happy with the results. Not perfect, but functional. My piano is now a beater!

 What's that sound? That's what winning sounds like! Digital Piano Electronic Repair was a success and my curiosity saved me a lot of money.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

24 Miles of Lemons

Endurance racing is difficult. Really, it’s not one of those things you can just go out on a whim and say, “I think I’m going to race blah,” and go out and do it. Granted, there are people in the world who fit into a small percentage of anomalies who can do that, but they don’t count. I’m talking about the average run of the mill, generic Brand X person. Chances are, when the average person goes out to do an endurance race, they train and will perform at an average to below average ability. It’s like this: we’re not going to be winning any marathons any time soon. 

With that in mind, I’d like to recap my most recent endurance race: the Troop Trot 39K Fastpack. What is that, you ask? It’s a trail race. That means it’s not being ran on a road or paved surface. It means it’s being ran on dirt, unpaved, rocky at parts, rooty at others, and full of hills. Oh, and ticks. Most trail runs come with a side order of ticks, free! There are no bathrooms, no porta pottys, and even though you are in the woods, if you do have to pull over to squat somewhere, chances are you’ll be spotted at some point. There’s wild animals. The plus side is there’s a lot of shade. The down side: if anything happens, it’s usually a long way to a medic station and due to the nature of the environment, something always happens. 

The Fastpack is all that and then some. Instead of getting the luxury of running 24 miles and getting to stop off at the aid stations for water and food, you have to supply everything yourself. Not really a big deal for a seasoned trail runner. Most of the time, on long runs, you bring your deal of water and electrolytes anyway. The kicker on this one: you need to bring the 10 scouting essentials with you. That means you’re also bringing food and water, carrying a sleep system, a change of clothes, pocket knife, compass, map, sunblock, rain gear, first aid kit, and a fire starter. So those pesky little 3.3 lbs (1.5 liters) of water your hydration pack weighs on that awesome little light weight Camelback you’re used to carrying is now more like 4.5 lbs (2 liters) in a day pack with an additional 5 – 6 lbs of weight from the pack and all the crap shoved inside of it. On a good day, you’re looking at just under 10 lbs. (I managed to get mine down to a low 8.6 lbs WITH water on race day!)

Still sound like fun? Perhaps. You see, it’s a miserable feat, but the challenge is where the fun lies. Torture testing one’s abilities in the past on endurance only goes so far. Yes, now it is time to up the game and see just how much the body can truly handle!

So, whenever I run, I tend to think about all sorts of random stuff to keep my mind preoccupied. Honestly, you can only stress yourself out focusing on the road and all obstacles ahead of you for so long. Somewhere along the attempted 24 miles of agony, I had an epiphany: this race parallels Roadkill. I know you may be saying that’s pretty far fetched and it probably is. I’m guessing somewhere in my deprivation of rest, hydration, food, and excess of sweating, sweltering heat, and state of running delusion, I may be going out on a limb here, or not. You decide.

This is pretty similar to 24 Hours of Lemons with the Plymouth Fury. (Please, watch it if you've never seen it! You're welcome.) Why this one? Probably because it is one of the most epic Roadkill fails complete with a lack of thought, preparation, and well, it’s an endurance race torture test.

Somewhere, there is this grand idea: LET’S DO AN ENDURANCE RACE! So what happens? Instead of taking a good performing vehicle, they take one that runs but needs work. It’s low budget. I run. I’m not in the best performance, but with a little tweaking I think I can do this. Operative word: think. 

So you do all kinds of crazy stuff in preparation for a race. They burn crap off the Fury. I set up these great and overly ambitious training plans. Instead of training, I gorge the night before on fried pickles, chicken wings, salad, and watermelon.

Of course, come race day, you show up completely unprepared. They barely pass inspection and have to do modifications, I think I’ve ran one 20 mile run in my entire training back in May. On a road. At night. It was flat. Not to mention I have yet to crap out all the junk that has been sitting inside my gut from the night before. Luckily, thanks to the running gods and Dunkin Donut's coffee, I managed to go 30 minutes before the start. I was so relieved I wouldn't have to pinch a loaf on the trail! Plus, I had the luxury of being able to use a bathroom back at the park... with one-ply toilet paper! WIN!

But you go out anyway. Adrenaline hits. You have this awesome state of euphoria. You’re racing! Even though I made a wrong turn a mile in and had to go back, I was still kicking butt! I was actually running about 2 minutes per mile faster than my expected pace, which was good because there were some difficult areas where I had to slow down severely. It was the second trail pee that was not so great where I thought I wound up getting my own pee on myself. Not cool. Literally, it was warm! It was also getting close to the color of a pale ale, so I just had to up my water intake. Some 8.5 miles later, I finished the first loop. The distance was off and it was longer than what was advertised, but I felt pretty good and kept going.

Yes... yes, we're racing.

Epic running fail moment: getting lost in the first mile and this nice gal pointing me in the right direction... some 3 miles away from where she's at.

What the eff?! This is what trail run nightmares are made of! Behold, Death Rock Mountain! It's hard to tell, but it's steep, covered in moss, and wet. Oh, did I mention there's a ton of FIRE ANTS on there, too!? If you don't fall to your death slipping on wet moss and sliding down the side, you'll fall on your butt and be eaten to death by fire ants! Fortunately, I survived...

Then, that moment comes. The moment shit gets real. You’re nearing the halfway point, thinking you’ve got it and you’re gonna make it. Then, shit hits the fan. You overheat. Performance goes downhill fast. You slow down to reassess and see if that helps. It doesn’t. You’re limited by your ego. Do you do the smart decision and pull over and stop? Or do you continue because you’ve made it this far and you’re damned if you’re going to get your first DNF (did not finish). Along the path, I remembered seeing some blackberries or black raspberries and used that moment to add up some more food that wasn't sweet or salty but just fruit. Really, I needed fruit. Oh, and I saw a deer.

My pack in all of it's glorious 8.6 lbs and my big ol' butt and all it's glorious 8.6 lbs (or more...)

The Lemons episode ends with failure. The car doesn’t finish. Freiburger bogarts the good racing time leaving Finnegan to get stranded on the track and require help getting picked up.

Mine? Well, let's just say there was an equal amount of failure. I was overheating bad and running low on water. My hips hurt, my knee, surprisingly was fine, and my feet felt good thanks to my new Saucony Peregrine 4's, but I was just exhausted. I kept thinking about how much I wanted BBQ and to see the car show and have a Coke or turbocharged unsweet tea if they had any. What I couldn't do was distract myself enough to continue another 8 miles.

I got my first DNF after completing 2/3 of the race. It's kind of heartbreaking to know you're that close to finishing and giving up, but it's probably best that I did so instead of risking repeat injuries and possible heatstroke.  I was hot as hell, tired, and hungry. I also didn't have nearly enough water left to get me through those last 8 miles and my health is worth more to me than the awesome medals up for grabs. I saw Perry as I made it in from the second loop with about 17 miles under my belt some 5 hours later. He was volunteering at the event and served as a voice of reason reminding me I was limited to my supplies, which at this point, were low.

I thanked the troop leader for putting on the race, chatted a bit and headed to the bathroom to take a hobo bath in the sink. I changed into my clean "dry" shorts. They weren't dry, though, thanks to my bootysweat soaking through the base of my pack. Also, at some point I got real poison ivy on my shoes or calf sleeves because when they rubbed against my clean shorts, guess who got exposed to poison ivy on their inner thighs by their bikini area and their upper thighs? That's right. I was extremely lucky to have not chaffed this time around, but I would prefer chaffing to the burning itching of the poison ivy and the fun hive like rash it left.

I didn't get a medal today, but my consolation prize wasn't too bad: BBQ and a car show! I'll call that a win, but the rest of the day was a major fail.

So, will I try to retrain, buck up, and do the Troop Trot 39K Fastpack next year? Probably not. I’ll most likely throw my pack in a corner somewhere to die. Instead, I'll just go back and do the 10K next year and tow out the Satellite. Jesse even said he'd do the 10K with me if I go, so, there you have it!

On that note, here's some car show pictures because, why not?

Monday, July 7, 2014

That's What Friends Are For

When a friend complains about having a dull day, a good friend will send a detailed account of how they rode their bike at Flatrock on Saturday, went up a mini ramp of logs, didn't make it over all the way and crashed in place, landing on their taco, resulting in temporary pain. The real kicker? The account includes an animated gif depicting the incident. Yes, despite this being a fail, the recollection is a total win.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Adventures in Digital Piano Electronics Part 1: Diagnostics

Last week my Williams Symphony digital piano was acting kind of funny. A few days ago, I turned it on and there was no sound. To rule out the speaker didn't get blown out, I plugged in the headphones into the jack and was getting no sound there, either. I figured it must be something fried on the motherboard.

Really, I do have two options here: pay someone a lot of money to diagnose and fix it for me, or just do it myself. I know a lot of people who would go the expensive route, but for me, I would rather do it myself. Not because I'm cheap or anything, although I am sure Biggie's lady friends would be singing to me: Guess that's why they broke, and you're so paid. But really, I'm one of those people that is a little on the overly ambitious side and believes I can do anything if I give it my all. So, being the Fix-It-Felix type of person that I am, I took the top off and started to look around. I found the wires that led from the speakers to the motherboard and started eyeballing around looking for a fried resistor or something.

Seeing as the inside of my piano looks a little like this, I had Jesse come along for a second set (OK, third) eye. He spotted it right away. It was one of those so obvious it got bypassed things.

Anyway, I just need to go down to Radioshack and pick up the part and then I get to have Adventures in Digital Piano Electronics Part 2: Repair which will consist of removing the part and soldering it in place.

The fried resistor is the tiny little black/silver part smack in the middle next to the larger black thing that looks like a battery and the white barrel looking things. 

Look! There's a bunch of zip ties in my piano! It's mint!