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Ethan’s mp3 player (a Christmas present from last year) kicked the bucket last night. So we made a quick trip to Target and found something in the same price range with the same features.  It became apparent pretty quickly, though, that they saved a ton of money on the user manual (by paying someone with English as a second language).
First, as a side note I have to mention that it’s ridiculous that so much theft of electronics in retail occurs that they have to package electronics in Kryptonite!

Here are a few excerpts:
“NOTE: Do not throw the product into fire to avoid danger of explosion”   Should I be concerned that this thing may explode?  I could understand if my son decided to put Jonas Brothers on it.   I’m pretty sure if I were an mp3 player, I’d want to spontaneously combust if I had to play something as horrible as that.  (Wait a second!  Is it really that spontaneous if it’s done on purpose?)

“We Want You Listening For a Lifetime”  This is an unrealistic expectation and contradictory to you warning to “not immerse into water or get soaked since the battery charging function will be lost”.  Nevermind the possibility of mild electrocution!  So if I can’t throw it into fire if I suddenly feel like it will explode, and I can’t immerse it it water, what do I do??

From the troubleshooting section:  “My computer goes wrong when I disconnect the Player.”  I promise I’m not making this one up!  I don’t even know what to say about that.  I’ve been in somewhat of a support role for about 8 yrs, and I’ve never heard anyone use that terminology.  I have to say that I’m a little curious.  Maybe I’ll unplug and plug it back in until I see what happens.  Oh wait.  I better not do that.  The mp3 player is apparently prone to explosion as indicated in the notes….


If you haven’t heard of Fiction Family you should definitely check them out.  I was playing around on Youtube and came across them covering Radiohead’s “Idioteque”.   They actually transition to their song “Elements Combined”. It’s pretty sweet!

My project for the year:  to restore my Dad’s Fender Telecaster bass.  This thing was in decent shape when I first started learning to play bass….so long ago I’d rather not mention.  I put some hours on this thing as you can tell by the wear at the edge on the bottom left.

I think it’s a 72, if this site is correct.  The serial number on the neck plate is in the 350000’s.

This is what it’s should look like.

This morning got off to a most awesome start. Totally exhausted last night, I mistakenly set the alarm to the wrong setting. There seem to be 4 settings/notches between OFF and the normal ON setting, for a total of 5 settings overall. I’m not 100% sure what these other settings are used for, but I’m prepared to guess.

  1. Off: This setting works best for those that are currently unemployed, or would like to be.
  2. Set someone else’s alarm to PM instead of AM: Unfortunately with current alarm clock technology you can’t determine the poor individual who will be very late for work because of this calamity. If I could, I honestly don’t know if I could resist the temptation of changing the alarm of the one person that chronically leaves out my extra order of hash browns from my McDonald’s orders. That way someone else would have a chance to get my order right and save me from making a U-turn in the Mickey D’s parking lot and getting dirty looks from the Coffee-Sipping Codger Convention. I’m sorry my U-turn interrupted your newspaper reading, sir. My bad.
  3. Switch Wiring of Snooze and Off Buttons: This is one of my faves, though the dependability is definitely not 100%. Dependability is often determined by Optimum Condition Scale (or OCS as I will now dub it). OCS is determined by several factors: recent history of waking up late, level of importance of the first meeting of the day, whether or not a job interview will take place that morning, etc. In short, the more negative the impact of waking up late, the higher the OCS, and hence an increase in likelihood that the snooze button will activate the Off setting (see #1 above)
  4. Delay Alarm: This setting allows for the alarm to actually go off when it’s not needed. It is another smart setting that takes into consideration OCS. However this setting checks date and time for the lowest OCS possible. The time the user goes to sleep is also taken into consideration. The alarm is delayed until a morning when the user has only achieved 5 or less hours of sleep, and the OCS is low. Because of these factors, the likelihood that the alarm will sound on a Saturday morning is very high.
  5. On: You know what this does. If you aren’t sure, or are in a group mentioned in the description of the first setting, here is the noise. I’m actually convinced that this setting is sometimes faulty and may actually trigger the Off setting.

Last night when I went to bed, I must have hit setting #4, as I woke up at 7:20, no thanks to the alarm. In a wild scramble, my wife and I somehow managed to get the kids dressed, fed and in the school building by 7:45. Take that #4! Teamwork FTW!

I fully expect the alarm to go off this Saturday at 6:20 am. If so, I will take pictures of the alarm after it suffers a slow and painful death. I’m thinking a little gasoline+matches action.

P.S. If you are curious about the Time Bomb Alarm clock, it is an actually product that ticks and makes an exploding noise.  You can get one at amazon here.

I have to admit, I still have an irrational paranoia of electronic instruments killing rock music (developed long before Guitar Hero, even).  At first these instruments seemed pretty cool.  That was until I watched the walk-through videos.

Here are the cons for me:  They are so flexible that they’d probably take as much effort to really learn as any instrument, you have to have software running to use them, and they are expensive!  I’ll take the less evolved Gibson Robot, please. 🙂