My Thoughts Are Empty

Evenin’, it’s TheAndySan hurr again with a bit of writer’s block.

I guess after putting so much effort into my previous post, I’m hard-pressed to come up with moAr. I’d like to delve deeper into what that post covered, but I dunno what else to say. Don’t worry guys, I’m sure I’ll break the block soon.

I’ve also noticed that not a lot of people visit my site on the weekends in comparison to the weekdays. Huh…

I was talking to Cody and he decided on what his site’s gonna be about; his views on the current religion scene. Although religion isn’t a topic that I’m fond of, I do know that it has a very large online community and that Cody will definitely have a good amount of traffic coming to his site if he plays his cards right.

In other news, Cody also got his new bass amp in the mail a couple days ago. He and Ben were jamming and Cody could actually hear himself without being mic’d and he really likes the tone of his bass now. He also changed the strings and noticed an improvement.

Well, I’m gonna watch some anime in order to bust my writer’s block. Wish me luck! Good-night!

TheAndySan

P.S: It’s been 39 days since www.theandysan.com has been up and 11 days since www.spicymelon.com has been up. If any of you guys use Digg, StumbleUpon,
Reddit, etc., you can submit my stuff via the Share This! expanding button to your site of choice.

Work

Hello guys, it’s TheAndySan here to discuss my views on working.

Earlier tonight, I was discussing the future of my website becoming my main source of income with Eriopolis. He thinks that the site might become successful eventually, but I should wait to quit Wal-Mart until I start generating a large enough source of income to live off of. This is a very rational statement; keep working at Wal-Mart so that I can still pay off my expenses, build up another source of income, and then quit Wal-Mart when the other source of income meets or exceeds my pay at Wal-Mart on a consistent basis. There is pretty much no risk to me doing it this way.

However, I feel like I’m denying myself so much by not doing this blog full-time.

I tried to explain to Eriopolis why I didn’t like any job I’ve ever had. He says that it’s because I don’t wanna work. He’s right, but to a certain extent.

I take great pride in whatever I’m doing. I believe that whatever I do should have a purpose. I loved to be challenged mentally (almost said mentally challenged there, lol!). If I can see that my work is important and it actually affects others in a positive way, then I’ll bust my ass to continue doing it.

However, if I find no purpose or a shallow purpose in what I’m doing, I’ll put little to no effort behind it. Just ask any of my teachers. My mom has had to attent LOTS of parent-teacher conferences and all of them said basically the same thing: Andy is really smart, but he doesn’t apply himself. He does great on the tests, but doesn’t turn in homework that often.

The reason that I didn’t do homework was because I found it to be pointless. I didn’t like the idea of missing quality TV watching and video game playing time to do schoolwork. It also didn’t help that I couldn’t get into the student mindset when I was out of school. My logical explanation for why I didn’t do homework was simple and has stayed with me throughout the years: I go to school to learn and do schoolwork. When I’m at home, I can’t concentrate because I’m not at school. I don’t know exactly what helped me concentrate better at schoolwork at school, but if we had a test or in-class work, I usually did good.

This same attitude followed me when I joined the workforce. Why should I do something that I find to be pointless and irrelevent? I found that all jobs are exactly the same: learn a routine and repeat the routine until you’re done for the day. I found that to be boring. It also didn’t help that I was earning money for somebody else.

Think about this for a bit: on average, I ring up customers that purchase at least $100 worth of merchandise each. I earn $7.80 an hour. For figures’ sake, we’ll assume that Wal-Mart takes 35% profit from each sale before paying my wage. If I get 60 customers in an hour that each buy $100 worth of merchandise, Wal-Mart just profited $2,100. Oh, Andy! Here’s your $7.80! They now have $2,092.20 in profit JUST FROM ME RINGING UP 60 CUSTOMERS IN AN HOUR THAT EACH BOUGHT $100 WORTH OF MERCHANDISE!!! Isn’t that insane?!! I only receive 0.37% of what they profited. That’s not even 1%!!! I feel like I’m getting seriously effed in the a here!!

“But Andy, if you use ads to make money with your blog, aren’t you essencially doing the same thing as Wal-Mart? Aren’t you only receiving a miniscle amount from people clicking on your ads in comparison to what the company gains in sales?” Yes and no. Yes, when you break it down, I’m using my time and energy to promote a company and earn them money. No, the amount isn’t small.

How long does it take someone to click on an ad? One second. Maybe more, maybe less. For calculating purposes, let’s say I earn $0.25 for every ad of mine that’s clicked. If only one-person-at-a-time browsed my site and clicked on one ad every second, I would be making $15 a minute. That’s $900 an hour, $21,600 a day, $151,200 a week, $648,000 in a 30-day business month, and $7,884,000 in a 365-day year. That’s not the insane part. Obviously, there can be more than one person on my site at a time. If they all click one ad, then those figures increase exponentially. Most businesses pay for keywords to show links to their sites. They might pay $5 a click. I receive $0.25 of that click if it was on my website. That’s 5%!!! Of course, this is just an ideal example, but it definitely shows you how much you can make putting ads up on your site.

Now, there have been many things that I work on that I enjoy and continue to do with all of my heart. This blog is an excellent example. Another is playing guitar. If I were simply lazy and didn’t want to do anything, then I wouldn’t be able to play guitar and I sure as hell wouldn’t have this website. Despite most programs and companies simplifying designing a website, it still takes A LOT of work to get it up and running the way you want it to. Of course, you could just slap a packaged template on and call it YOUR site, but it’ll be boring and drive users away because users won’t find your blog to be unique if you use the same damn template as every other blogger on the net. Although I used a template to get this site started, I’ve since then almost completely redid it to make something that’s uniquely me.

In closing, I believe that all work is pointless and should be avoided unless it provides real value to yourself and others.

Well, I’m gonna hit the hay so I’ll see you lovely lollipops later. Good-night!

TheAndySan

P.S: It’s been 38 days since www.theandysan.com has been up and 10 days since www.spicymelon.com has been up. If any of you guys use Digg, StumbleUpon,
Reddit, etc., you can submit my stuff via the Share This! expanding button to your site of choice.

Just In Case – My View On Cell Phones

Hey guys, it’s TheAndySan hurr with a post about my cell phone. This was inspired by a post on TokyoCooney’s blog.

My brother got me a prepay cell phone for my birthday last year. I’m not much of a cell phone user, but I’d like to have one “just in case.” I never text, mostly because I find texting to be pointless and very costly unless I have a plan, which I don’t. In all honesty, I could go without a cell phone. However, I keep one with me “just in case.”

What do I mean when I say, “just in case?” In case my house is on fire? In case I get in an accident? In case my friends wanna do something? It’s because of all of those reasons and moAr.

Although I love gadgets that are versatile, I like to have my cell phone just be a cell phone. You see, when you go out to buy a cell phone these days, you’re not just buying a cell phone. You’re also buying a camera, a PDA, a calculator, a calendar, a clock, an alarm clock, a notebook, a means to get online, an MP3 player, a video recorder, a sound recorder, a video game system, a video player, a map, and much moAr!!

Perhaps my opinions on cell phones would be different if I had one that was better-equipped than my el-cheapo prepay cell phone. So if you have some cash lying around, you could donate that dusty ol’ moolah to me via my PayPal donation button in the sidebar so I may purchase a better cell phone. Just kidding of course! But I would greatly appreciate it if you did donate to me (liEk zOmg, TheAndySan’s become an Internets panhandler!!).

In closing, the reasons I keep my prepay cell phone sufficiently funded with minutes is to call someone “just in case” I trash my car, my house is on fire, or to see if my friends wanna do something.

Well, I’m gonna warm myself up since it’s pretty darn cold down here in the basement. Later days!

TheAndySan

P.S: It’s been 37 days since www.theandysan.com has been up and 9 days since www.spicymelon.com has been up. If any of you guys use Digg, StumbleUpon,
Reddit, etc., you can submit my stuff via the Share This! expanding button to your site of choice.

Finally! Eights and Aces Videos!

Here are some vids from Eights and Aces’ weekly practice sessions. Enjoy!

Eights and Aces – Practice Session 6-09-2008 – Camera Test
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Eights and Aces – Practice Session 6-09-2008 – Low
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Eights and Aces – Practice Session 6-09-2008 – Low & Perfect Situation & Cumbersome & Brain Stew
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Eights and Aces – Practice Session 6-16-2008 – Low & Cumbersome & Perfect Situation & Pork and Beans

Eights and Aces – Practice Session 6-23-2008 – Heart Turned Black
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TheAndySan

Non-Working Class Hero: Is It Something To Be?

Hey guys, it’s TheAndySan here.

When I was working at Wal-Mart the other day, I had to restrain myself from walking out. I have had enough of working for someone else, much less working for Wal-Mart. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with Wal-Mart; I feel that I’m at a stage in life where I need to really make something of myself. I also don’t want to end up like my parents who work and work and work just to keep everything afloat. Whenever I go behind the register, my inner integrity’s screaming, “WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING HERE?!! YOU NEED TO BE YOUR OWN MAN AND WORK FOR YOURSELF!!!” I totally agree with my integrity.

That’s one of the reasons I started TheAndySan.com; I need to generate income by working for myself instead of selling out my time to be someone else’s slave. Starting a blog is one of the smallest investments anyone can make. It costs me a little over $100 a year for TheAndySan.com (space and domain) and hell, I’ve used free blogs since 2004 starting with GeoShitties. The only thing more cost-effective than free is if the blog pays you to blog. Oh wait, it does! The only limit to what you can make on a blog is what you put on yourself, and even then you could still make more by using content-generators like forums.

While working at Wal-Mart, I calculated how much I’d need to make in order to cover my expenses. My expenses in a business month (30 days) add up to $410. That’s $102.50 a week, $14.55 a day, or $0.60 an hour. Roughly guesstimating from my AdSense clicks, that’s about 3-4 clicks an hour on average. In other words, I could have ALL of my monthly expenses paid for by my visitors clicking 3-4 ads an hour on any of my sites. That’s nuckin’ futz!

After the whole Kontera & AdSense fiasco, I took it upon myself to completely reevaluate how I blog. I found out that a lot of people don’t like it when you change topics in a blog. Hell, I change topics in every post! I told myself, “This is how I write. I’ll listen to what other people are telling me, but I’m not gonna bend to their will. If I did, then this blog would be no better than Wal-Mart or any other job for that matter.”

Then, I decided to make another blog, this one being better on topic than TheAndySan.com. My idea for SpicyMelon.com is for it to be a free online cookbook of offbeat, cost-effective, and/or simple recipes that users can submit as well as ones that I submit. I plan on incorporating a forum into it in the future so keep an eye out for that. If I get enough recipes, I might make it a book and sell the book with all the available free recipes as well as a lot of recipes exclusive to the book.

You might have noticed that I switched out the Chikita ads with different ads. I’m using ads from AdBrite, but I’m still using Chikita’s Linx. You can sign up for AdBrite by clicking on the AdBrite button in the sidebar.

Last night, Eriopolis and I hung out with Cody at his apartment. We played some Magic: The Gathering, ordered another killer pepperoni and Jalapeno pepper pizza from Domino’s, and we watched all of an anime called Kiddy Grade. I didn’t sleep at Cody’s and got home around 8 in the morning and tried to sleep, but those damn debt collectors kept calling and waking me up!! NYAHH!!!1

In other news, I’ve decided not to get the Yamaha CG-170SA with a hardshell case for $360 at the music store. I looked up on Musician’s Friend to see if I could do better, and I can. Check this baby out: Luna Muse Series Folk Cutaway Nylon-String Acoustic-Electric Guitar. Luna Guitars is owned by Dean Guitars so I already know that this guitar’s gonna be excellent. Here’s a link of the guitar with moAr pics on the Luna Guitars website: Luna Muse Series Folk Cutaway Nylon-String Acoustic-Electric Guitar.

I’m also once again in the market for a new amp. This time, I’m debating between the Line 6 Spider III 2×12 combo and the Line 6 Spider Valve 2×12 combo. I’m gonna save up around $300 and try to find a deal on eBay and if I can’t, then I’ll save up moAr and get something from either eBay or Musician’s Friend.

Well, I’m gonna take a shower before I get ready for work (grr, work). Take care!

TheAndySan

P.S: It’s been 36 days since www.theandysan.com has been up and 8 days since www.spicymelon.com (Happy Belated First Week Anniversary!) has been up. If any of you guys use Digg, StumbleUpon,
Reddit, etc., you can submit my stuff via the Share This! expanding button to your site of choice.

TheAndySan's Anime Review #2 – Bamboo Blade

Hey guys, it’s TheAndySan hurr with a long-awaited anime review!!

My review is not on Bleach or The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, but on an excellent little number called Bamboo Blade! Here is the slog of it on YouTube:

If you don’t have sufficient Internets or don’t want to hear my gay-ass voice, read on below:

Have you ever wished you could be in a Japanese high school? Yeah, you and me both, although the homework would kill me!! How about in a Japanese high school kendo club? Not sure? Well, it’s time to spin Bamboo Blade in your DVD player!

Bamboo Blade begins as the story of Muroe High School’s kendo club, instructed by Toraji Ishida, a hopelessly poor and unlucky fellow with a short-temper to boot, and his only member and captain of the kendo club, Kirino Chiba, a girl who’s energetic and always positive. When Ishida-sensai is challenged by his sempai who runs two kendo clubs at two different schools, Kenzaburō Ishibashi, he becomes determined to gather a 5-woman kendo team to defeat Ishibashi-sensai and win free Tokyo-style sushi for a year.

Muroe High School’s kendo club consists of:
Toraji Ishida – the down-on-his-luck instructor
The 5-women team
The 2-man team

The 5-woman team consists of:
Tamaki “Tama-chan” Kawazoe – the shy child prodigy
Kirino Chiba – the insanely positive captain
Miyako “Miya-Miya” Miyazaki – the cute girl with a dark side
Sayako “Sayo-chan” Kuwahara – the eccentric random girl
Satori “Satorin” Azuma – the talented but clumsy girl

The 2-man team is:
Yūji Nakata – a sincere and talented guy who looks out for Tama-chan
Danjūrō “Dan” Eiga – a small and slow guy who is Miya-Miya’s boyfriend

Story: 8/10
Although Bamboo Blade uses the ol’ Japanese high school premise, it’s much more than that. The story really captures what it’s like to be in a kendo club, alibiet with some out-of-the-norm occurances. It’s told with loving care and doesn’t go for excessive amounts of fanservice, not that there isn’t fanservice; it’s subtly tucked in without having it in the spotlight. I give it an 8/10 for an excellent take on a cookie-cutter subgenre.

Animation & Music: both 7/10
The animation quality definitely gets the job done, and it especially shines during the critical action scenes. The music is pretty catchy too. I’m totally diggin’ the ending theme’s dance-funk feel. I give both the animation and the music a 7/10 for a good, but not mind-blowing, job.

Characters: 10/10
This is where Bamboo Blade shines its brightest. The character development is top-notch and makes this anime definitely re-watchable. 10/10, no question.

Enjoyment: 10/10
I haven’t thuroughly enjoyed an anime from beginning to end like this since Love Hina! And the ending makes you beg for more when a second season is hinted at. 10/10 for pure enjoyment.

Overall: 8.4/10
Bamboo Blade is a breath of fresh air among the cookie-cutter high-school subgenre of anime. The characters develop nicely, the animation and music is satisfactory, and I would watch this again in a heartbeat.

Well, I’m gonna go chizzill with E & The Gang so I’ll see yooz guyz laterz! Bye!

TheAndySan

P.S: It’s been 34 days since www.theandysan.com has been up and 6 days since www.spicymelon.com has been up. If any of you guys use Digg, StumbleUpon,
Reddit, etc., you can submit my stuff via the Share This! expanding button to your site of choice.

Das Team! Das Team!! Das Team!!!1 Ahoo! Ahoo!! Ahoo!!!1

Hey guys, it’s TheAndySan hurr to tell you about my day.

I went on my daily bike ride a bit earlier than usual (around 10 in the morning) so the music store wasn’t open. It’s cool though since I needed to stop by the bank to withdraw money, so I still had an objective. After all that, Eriopolis and Ben picked me up to go to the Magic: The Gathering tournament.

The main prize of the tournament was a Bazaar of Baghdad that would be given out lottery-style at the end of 5 matches. If you won a match (2 out of 3 games of MTG), then you received 2 entries. If you lost a match, then you only get 1 entry. Although winning increases your chances of getting picked, you could lose all 5 matches and still have a chance of winning the Bazaar of Baghdad. There also were booster pack prizes for the Top 4 players: 10 for 1st place, 5 for 2nd place, and 2 for 3rd & 4th places.

Eriopolis told Ben and I that when groups of players go to tournaments, they usually have a team name. We picked “Das Team”, which is literally “The Team” in German. Whenever a member of our team won, we did the Das Team chant: “Das Team! Das Team!! Das Team!!!1 Ahoo! Ahoo!! Ahoo!!!1” Each member says “Das Team!” and for every member in Das Team that’s present, we then all shout “Ahoo!”

So you’re probably itchin’ to find out how we did, amirite? All of the members of Das Team scored 2 wins & 3 losses. That’s crazy-nuts! Oh, and none of us won any booster packs or the Bazaar of Baghdad. The Bazaar of Baghdad went to Andy…Kill. When they announced the winner, my heart stopped for a beat ‘cuz they said Andy, but it was the other Andy and not me. Sonnuva!! Oh well, Das Team will get ’em next time!! Das Team! Das Team!! Das Team!!!1 Ahoo! Ahoo!! Ahoo!!!1

At work today, I was talking with Cody (who also works at Wal-Mart) about him starting his own website. He doesn’t quite know what he wants to begin with yet, but he’s pretty sure that it’ll be about his view on various hot-button topics like religion and politics. I’ll definitely be helping him set things up when he’s ready so stay tuned for that. Obviously, when his site’s up and running, I’ll put a link to it up here.

Well, I do believe that’ll do it for me tonight. Before I go, I got an email from a guy at OCReMix.org about this really good Mega Man X3 reMix. He linked me up and I downloaded it. It’s definitely a keeper. You too can enjoy Dain ‘Beatdrop’ Olsen’s latest audiogasm (that’s audio orgasm, n00bz) at http://djpretzel.web.aplus.net/songs/Mega_Man_X3_Revolutions_OC_ReMix.mp3.

I’m gonna take a shower and watch me some moAr Bamboo Blade. Later!

TheAndySan

P.S: It’s been 32 days since www.theandysan.com has been up and 4 days since www.spicymelon.com has been up. If any of you guys use Digg, StumbleUpon,
Reddit, etc., you can submit my stuff via the Share This! expanding button to your site of choice.

Happy Happiest Day, Everyone!!!1

Afternoon, it’s TheAndySan here to bring you t3h happyZ!!1

According to an article I read in USA Today a couple days ago, today is the happiest day of the year. So get out there and live a little today! Here’s the article just in case it gets moved or something:

The Final Word: Mark your calendar for tail-wagging happiness
By Craig Wilson, USA TODAY

E-mail cwilson@usatoday.com

You probably don’t know this, but Friday, yes this Friday, June 20, has been declared the happiest day of the year.

Who knew? Not me.

The news came in an e-mail from something called the Stress Institute. It reports that a researcher at the University of Cardiff’s Center for Lifelong Learning devised a scientific equation using a variety of physical, emotional and stress factors and came up with this Friday as the happiest day of all. At least this year.

In short, the stars aligned.

It’s the beginning of summer, we’re at the pool, reliving childhood memories of firefly nights, working in the yard and spending vacation time with loved ones.

I’m not sure I can handle this much fun at one time.

Kathleen Hall, founder of the Stress Institute, says: “Happiness is a physical state of the brain. When we’re happy, our brain produces neurochemicals that result in us wanting to eat, have sex or maybe sing.”

But all in one day?

I understand the barbecue. I understand the sex. But singing, too? It feels a bit like Christmas. Too much pressure.

And what if we’re not in the mood to cash in on the steak-sex-song trifecta Friday? Will we have missed our chance to experience ultimate happiness for another whole year?

An old friend of mine would be very suspicious of all this. He was always a bit perplexed, albeit amused, by Americans’ obsession with happiness.

For years he’d ask me why we think we’re entitled to be happy all the time. It’s not the way the world works, he’d say. People aren’t supposed to be happy all the time.

I never had an answer for him, so he’d sulk for a while, which I suspect brought him a certain amount of pleasure, if not happiness.

Coincidentally, Friday also is the 10th annual Take Your Dog to Work Day. The organizers, Pet Sitters International, hope the day will spark pet adoptions after dogless workers see what a great companion a dog is.

I took our late dog, Murphy, to work on one of these days once. She wasn’t happy at all. I suspect she even looked upon it as dog abuse. She spent most of the day under my desk wondering when we were going home.

She wouldn’t talk to me, but I knew exactly what she was thinking: The best thing about being a dog is you don’t have to go to work, so why did you bring me here?

I knew she’d rather be home attacking the mail that was coming through the front door or at least sleeping on the sofa dreaming about attacking the mail that would be coming through the door.

I had no answer for her, either, so we walked home early, never to return. Murphy, that is. Being the human, I had to go back.

I’ve yet to take our new pup, Maggie, to work, and I doubt if I will on Friday. I’d like to keep at least one member of the family happy on the happiest day of the year.

I have no expectations for the day myself. I’m going to play it all by ear. If happiness wants to wash over me, fine.

Maggie and I have agreed on one thing, though. There will be no singing.

I went to the newly opened Sonic and had a SuperSonic Burger combo. It cost me almost $7 and it took awhile to get to me, but it was all worth it! It’s official, the SuperSonic Burger is the best burger I’ve yet to taste. The Papa Burger from A&W comes in at number 2.

In other news, after I was done with my lunch at Sonic, I went to the music store. I played this classical nylon stringed guitar and boy did it sound good! I told the guy to put it on hold for me until I get paid on Thursday. Then, I’ll slap down $72 as a down payment and make payments on it with every check.

Well, I’d better get ready for work. I’ll see you guys later. Happy Happiest Day, everyone!

TheAndySan

P.S: It’s been 30 days since www.theandysan.com has been up (Yay, one-month anniversary!) and 2 days since www.spicymelon.com has been up. If any of you guys use Digg, StumbleUpon,
Reddit, etc., you can submit my stuff via the Share This! expanding button to your site of choice.

Jason Becker's Been Overlooked By USA Today!!!1

Good evening everyone, it’s TheAndySan hurr with some rather interesting news.

I was reading USA Today while I was on break and ran across an article about a guitarist with ALS using a special system that converts his eye movement into words or to do tasks like surf the web. Hmm, this sounds an awful lot like Jason Becker, the insane guitarist who paired up with Marty Friedman to form Cacophony and later joined David Lee Roth’s solo band before being diagnosed with ALS aka Lou Gehrig’s Disease when he was 20. But the guitarist-in-question is not; it’s Freddie Everett. Jason isn’t even mentioned. I think that, although there is nothing wrong with the article, it should have included Jason in it someway. Hell, even a name drop would have been fine! Here’s a link to the article, but I’m gonna put up the main story just in case it gets moved or something:

Device restores musical talent that Gehrig’s disease took

By Robert Davis, USA TODAY

HOUSTON — Caught in the grip of a neurologic disease, guitarist Freddie Everett no longer can stand on a stage and play the kind of rock ‘n’ roll that brought fans to their feet. But an eye-tracking computer that allows him to mix music is giving him and his fans new hope.

The condition commonly called Lou Gehrig’s disease — amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS — has left Everett unable to walk, talk or breathe normally. But a device known as ERICA, for Eye Response Interface Computer Aid, uses an infrared camera to track the glint in Everett’s eye so that he can manipulate software functions by moving his gaze across a computer screen. ERICA lets him do everything from type messages to mix his previously recorded music.

“All of us have a different definition of what quality of life is. For Freddie, it’s music,” says his doctor, Stanley Appel, founder of the ALS clinic at Methodist Hospital here. “Here is a guy who lived and breathed music 24/7.”

There are several eye tracking systems on the market. There are about 1,000 ERICA systems in use today, according to estimates by the manufacturer, Eye Response Technologies of Charlottesville, Va.

Hope — and maybe a longer life

Appel says the device “is giving Freddie a sense of hope.”

Everett played guitar and sang for 25 years, including opening performances for Ted Nugent, Sammy Hagar and Alice Cooper, before he was diagnosed with ALS in 2006 at the age of 47. Everett was known for his ability to bend the strings on his guitar to create unique sounds.

“He threw down good rock,” says Brian Austin, a guitarist from the local band Outlaw. “There aren’t too many people around this town that can do what he did. He was an artist. This is a bad disease.”

Everett performed for a time after his arms got weak. If others put his guitar strap around his neck, he could still use his fingers and his guitar’s whammy bar to bend the strings to hit memorable notes. But when he was no longer able to control his fingers, he stopped playing.

“After his last performance, he was very, very, very depressed,” says Everett’s wife, Annette. “He would just sit and look at his guitars. It is devastating when you have that music in your head and you can’t get it out.”

The disease attacks motor neurons, leaving otherwise healthy muscles without needed signals to and from the brain to control movements. On average, people with ALS live two to five years after diagnosis, says Linda Richardson of the ALS Association’s Greater Houston Chapter.

But some live much longer, and Appel says one key to survival appears to be hope.

“The more hope you have and the more willing you are to fight this and hang in there, the better you are going to do,” Appel says.

ERICA provides hope, Appel says, because it opens the door to communication for both the person with ALS and others, ranging from friends to the medical team.

“Once he can communicate, you feel like you can communicate with him,” Appel says. “He can hear you. He can think. He can feel. His sensations are intact. His intellect is intact. His musical skills are intact. But he is locked into an inability to express himself to the world.”

ERICA allows people to turn their eyes into commanding tools. The $7,900 device uses an infrared camera to track eye movement across a computer screen. When the user pauses on part of the screen, the computer registers that, similar to the click of a mouse.

Shortcuts allow the user to order the computer to do many tasks with few clicks. It offers common phrases, for instance, when it sees where the user appears to be going in a certain message.

The device is also helping people who are paralyzed from traumatic injuries and other medical disorders, says Teresa Westerbur, an occupational therapist and assistive tech specialist who sells the ERICA devices across Texas.

While the first words some people transmit through the machine have been “There is a God,” she says, others get right to business, saying things like, “When you move me this way it hurts.”

“When you can give a voice to somebody who hasn’t spoken in seven years, it is very rewarding,” Westerbur says.

The will to live and make music

Everett’s family saw his mood lift immediately after he began using the device to do things as simple as send e-mail, surf the Internet and change the TV channel.

“This gave him a reason to want to live,” says his ex-wife, Cathy Everett. Before he got the device, Everett did not want to have a breathing tube permanently inserted into his throat because he saw no reason to extend his life.

Now he does. And he’s shopping for music amplifiers and gathering music from other artists to mix with ERICA.

Says Annette Everett: “That one machine changed his whole life.”

Freddie says in an e-mail, typed into the machine with his eyes, that ERICA “has changed my life and has given me the will to continue with the greatest gift that I have (been) given in this life which is music. … I will continue to make music and spread the love around.”

I’m gonna try to contact Jason about the article to see if he knew about it and what his reaction to it is. I hope I get a reply from him; fingers crossed! Wish me luck!

While I was at the music store today, Shane gave me a CD that was dropped off at the music store some time ago. It’s by a group called Double EZ Melt and the CD is called Extra Medium. I put up the album on MegaUpload so if you wanna have a listen, here it is. Double EZ Melt, if you would like me to take down the link, just leave me an email and I’ll take it down immediately (there’s a link at the top of the page).

Well, I’m gonna watch me some Bamboo Blade so I’ll catch you guys later. Bye now!

TheAndySan

P.S: It’s been 30 days since www.theandysan.com has been up (Yay, one-month anniversary!) and 2 days since www.spicymelon.com has been up. If any of you guys use Digg, StumbleUpon,
Reddit, etc., you can submit my stuff via the Share This! expanding button to your site of choice.

It's Spicy Inside!!1

Hey guys, it’s TheAndySan hurr with most excellent news!

Yesterday, I purchased a new domain name. What, you’re moving again?!! Nope, I now have another site. It’s called SpicyMelon.com and it’s an online recipe blog. I got the idea, innocently enough, when I was eating watermelon. I wondered if watermelon tasted good with cayenne pepper. Unfortunatly, the water in the watermelon made the pepper slide off so I couldn’t taste much spice. It did give me an idea though: what if I put up a site with all my oddball recipes and allowed others to submit their own recipes? And SpicyMelon.com was born! I’ve expanded it from my initial idea of oddball recipes to budget-friendly and very simple recipes as well. So if any of you guys out there have a killer recipe that’s off the beaten path, easy on the wallet, and/or fairly simple, send me an email at xadawg@gmail.com. You can find a link to SpicyMelon.com in my sidebar in addition to the numerous links in this post.

Well, I’m gonna eat some Spicy Melon in celebration of my new domain. Have fun!

TheAndySan

P.S: It’s been 29 days since www.theandysan.com has been up and 1 day since www.spicymelon.com has been up. If any of you guys use Digg, StumbleUpon,
Reddit, etc., you can submit my stuff via the Share This! expanding button to your site of choice.