Robin's Green Bass vs. Richard's Yamaha Acoustic Guitar

Richard and I have had a running joke that playing the bass is just a subset of playing guitar, and therefore, any decent guitarist is automatically a decent bassist. Well, it's usually Richard's joke, and I'm the butt of it.

It got brought up again in Richard's blog, and so I've been thinking about this again, and an associated question, is the bass itself just a subset of the guitar?

Well, let's compare my 5-string bass with Richard's well-used 6 string acoustic guitar. You might be surprised to learn that his guitar is actually less capable than my bass! As in, it's multi-tonally challenged. Like, it doesn't represent as broad a frequency spectrum as my bass. Proof? Read on.

I've got a full two-octave neck, which means I have 25 notes available per string, for a total of 125 non-unique notes. Richard's guitar neck meets the body at the 14th fret. Maybe you can usefully play another 3 notes or so past there - let's say 5 for the sake of argument. So let's say 20 notes per string, for a total of 120 non-unique notes. Bass in the lead!

What about unique notes? Well, I've done some figuring, and it seems I have 45 unique notes available, thanks to the 5th string and the 24 frets, from the lowest B up to the high G, almost 4 octaves up. Richard's guitar? Well, if he can usefully use up to the 19th fret (and listen, like I have - he can't) he's got a total of 44 unique notes available, from the low E to the high B, not-so-almost 4 octaves up.

My bass has 17 unique notes that I can play that Richard can't get on his Yamaha. These are some pretty sweet, fat, resonate notes too, by the way, starting at the 1st fret on the second highest string (D#) all the way down to low B. The acoustic? 16 plinky notes, starting with G# on the 4th fret of the highest sounding string, and working up as far as Rich's fingers can stretch.

So there you go, Green Bass wins on every count. I trust this will put Richard's bass comments to an end, except perhaps the now obviously self-deprecating ones he'll be obliged to make.

Hey, that's two in a row for the "and other thoughts" category.


My Lame Cartoon Idea

Just because Rich and Shroom have been sharing their kinda joke / cartoon ideas:

While walking back to my truck in the Canada Games Complex parking lot, I was about to walk by a fairly distinguished looking fellow, probably in his 50s, who was heading towards the building. For the last several years I've deliberately tried to make eye contact with strangers I pass by, and at least give a friendly smile or nod or "hello" if given the chance. Well, he went right on by without giving me any notice, and then I was surprised to hear him start talking, presumably to himself. I turned around to look, in case there was someone else in the area I didn't notice, but nope, no one. Then I caught myself almost talking to myself about it :)

So, the cartoon of this event would be one of those 3 frame things - first would be the picture of the two guys approaching each other, making it clear no one was around. The second would be of them having passed each other, and the stranger mumbling something to himself that obviously had nothing to do with their "encounter" (boy, even that word has become corrupt!). And the third would be the character we're familiar with, saying (obviously to himself, not the audience) - "Weird, that guy talks to himself!".

Feel free to rate it compared to other cartoons. "That's about as funny as Marmaduke" or "I'd rather just read the same Garfield strip over and over again every day for the rest of my life than read anything else by you."


Not a DTV bug!

I've heard a bit of complaining about the C64 DTV and bugs it has. Few of them are legitimate - most are unfortunate manufacturing defects that affect some units.

There's the sound problem that one of my four sticks has - go into Hot Dog in Winter Games and if it sounds like the crashing sea, or if you play a game of Uridium and get very annoyed by a piercing noise instead of the really difficult attack waves coming at you too fast, you've got it too.

There is a software bug too, caused by *me* - but it's so obscure (and doesn't affect gameplay at all) that I think no one has found it yet. To narrow it down, it's in a game starting with E. Comment when you've discovered it!

But level 3 of Jumpman Jr. doesn't have a bug. I've heard this a few times: the ladders get seperated, and get stuck to the top or bottom of the screen. Well, the original does that too - I just played a game on my 21 year old Jumpman Jr. cart I bought for $10 at Zellers. My buddy Ron and I hoped on our bikes, and without getting permission from our parents, went and blew some of our paper route earnings. Ron bought Gateway to Apshai, also on cartridge, on that trip. And because of the intense nostalgia associated with both of those games, I did everything I could to get them both on the DTV, and it worked :)

Anyway, look here for the bug on a real C128, 1902A monitor, and Jumpman Jr. cart.


Don't Bogart the Stuffinged Lamb

Way way back in 1997, just a little before I became a father, I got a hand-made envelope in the mail, containing a brief letter, and a 5.25" floppy disk. It was from a ~14 year old Dustin Chambers. He had seen one of the Commodore 64 demos Darren and I had done, it had included my mailing address, so he wrote. The disk included a bit of art and code and stuff he was working on. Pretty neat! He wondered if he could join the group, and I said sure thing. We did one demo together (called 12th Day, released on the 12th day of Christmas, which was exactly 7 years ago yesterday, I think) and have stayed in touch ever since. I've helped him with a few other projects since then too.

We're hoping to have a new demo done in the near future - DTV work has kept me from some of these other things I want to work on (but I'm not complaining!). Dustin's part is looking quite good.

And I finally met Dustin Chambers (aka Fuzz) in person while at the World of Commodore in Toronto in early December. He drove down from the Ottawa area where he's going to university. Things were kind of hectic at the show, so I'm disappointed that I didn't get to spend more time with him. At least we were able to sit together, discussing division routines in assembly language, over the best, but most expensive buffet meal I've ever had. Mmmmm, battered white fish and lamb stew....


I've Had Some Sleep

I was waiting for someone to leave comments like that, Richard and Erinose. Eventually, I would have left a similar comment myself!

I've been spending most of my free time working on the PAL (European TV standard) version of the C64 30-games-in-one joystick. The rest of the time I've been thinking about what I should be doing on it. Not ideal blogging conditions, unfortunately. Things are slowing down on that now, so I can make a post somewhat guilt-free.

I think I was supposed to say a bit more about my trip to the World of Commodore in Toronto in early December. The biggest thrill was meeting Karl Hildon, former editor of the greatest magazine of all time, The Transactor. I've still got several issues I bought down at "Little Richard's" corner store back in 1986 or so.

Transactor was a magazine about Commodore computers, but unlike any other. It was totally into the technical side of things - advanced programming, hardware hacking, all that sort of stuff. Almost all of it went over my head (especially when I was 13 years old), but every time I read from them, I'd learn a little more.

I don't know what Karl thought of me at first - perhaps he had never run into a rabid fanboy before. But after a while he seemed happy to share lots of memories of his time running the magazine, both good and bad, and even several adventures after he left. I even learned some of the story behind the really cool and unique cover art the magazine had, and even more obscure trivia. Cool cool cool.

Karl gave me a copy of his book "The Complete Commodore Inner Space Anthology", and signed it for me. And in a weird twist, he received one of the Commodore joysticks I had worked on. He came back the next day with his electric engraver, and had Jeri and me buzz our signatures into the side of it :) Trading autographs with your childhood hero, how cool is that?!

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